Telling Stories with Video

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2-28-2013 | By: Ben Cecil

Ever watch a summer blockbuster and imagine yourself as the lead character?  There you are:  slicing zombies, strategizing your next political move during the Civil War or falling in love with a counterintelligence seductress.  Sure, you do.  Why not revel in the fun!  It's just a movie after all.

Psychologists have long known we think in narratives.  You know it too.  Think back to your high school prom, your wedding night or other life-altering event.  It plays out like a movie in your mind.  We are the stars of our own recollections.

So if recalling your own experiences seem so effortless, then why is it so hard to tell your company's story?  How do you even begin to create a video strategy that captures what seems at times -- for lack of better terms -- so boring or robotic?

In business we're really good at focusing on the trees and ignoring the forest.  The truth is there are stories that unfold inside your company everyday.  Maybe it's a bold new idea.  Perhaps a distant friend surprises you with a big introduction and connection.  Or maybe the guy in the next office wows co-workers with his new Tron-inspired neon artwork.

These may seem like everyday moments, but they are actually opportunities.  These are the stories that drive your company's success.  It's been said before.  Great brands are the ones that tell the best stories.  Product cycles and service do matter, but stories are what connect us.  It's also what connects us to businesses.

Video is the best tool to make that happen.  You can highlight a company's culture and personality.  Have fun.  Even the odd quirks that define your own workspace or workflow should be considered.  That's what helps create a genuine, authentic impression.

When you launch a video campaign, don't just regurgitate the talking points off a company pamphlet or website.  Inject your own personality into the presentation.  As you do so, just keep your company's overall brand narrative in mind.  Does your story help build this narrative?  (for more, see our article on Video Strategy 101 and Why Tech Needs Great Video Storytelling)

This whole endeavor may seem risky on the surface.  Doing video with the lights, microphones, cameras, etc. can be intimidating.  But there's naturally greater risk in refusing to take any chances. "There's naturally greater risk in refusing to take any chances." Author Christopher Hitchens wrote in his memoirs that his mother only had one cardinal sin in the household growing up:  don't be boring.

Your company should heed those words.  And it's not because there's no story to tell.  Those narratives exist.  It may not be as dramatic as the movies, but you and your company have a lot more in common -- perhaps in more measured moments -- with those star protagonists than you think.



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Ben Cecil

Ben is UPG's Strategy Director and has been crafting video campaigns for more than 10 years. Before UPG, Ben spent 7 years in local television, helping cultivate, deploy and measure branding efforts on broadcast and new media platforms. Ben hates boring video and loves chasing around his 2 year old son.

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