Chapter 5 – The Power of Storytelling

Video Marketing & Storytelling

In the post dotcom bubble, the term “Marketing 2.0” gained traction within marketing circles. Unlike its predecessor where strategies were focused on the product, this trend shifted its focus to developing strategies around the consumer’s needs and wants, including their emotions.

It’s the emotional hook that brands really need to perfect, not only to capture and hold consumer’s attention but to gain their loyalty and eventually build a following. This is where storytelling shines.

The Power of Storytelling through Video

Today, the in-demand medium may have evolved from text to videos, but the underlying principle from more than a decade ago still rings true; that is that we are all drawn to stories. Despite the powerful desire to shout about your product or service from the rooftops, people don’t like being told how to think and in today’s switched on online environment this can actually have a negative effect on your brand if it’s the only type of messaging you have.

To effectively tap into consumer’s emotions, you need to become very good at storytelling. This comes with several benefits:

1. Overcome Ad Fatigue

Every day, we are inundated by ads. Three out of four social media users say they see too many ads on the platforms they use. Another research showed that a person is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day online and offline.

Ad fatigue is not to be ignored. People are constantly finding ways to turn ads off or filter them. Although video already has a definite advantage over text, using it to tell engaging stories will make your content more memorable and impactful for your market. 

2. Engage Your Audience

Storytelling is a better marketing strategy as it triggers emotions. It captures the attention and engages the imagination. 

It also appeals to the subconscious part of the brain, as it connects external stimuli (your videos) with the viewer’s impressions, feelings, and emotions. A neuroscience study into 1400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns from the IPA dataBANK, revealed that emotional ads perform twice as well with rational content. 

This is as true for B2B engagement as consumer:

3. Build Relationships

Whether you’re a startup or a corporation, always remember that people do business with people not businesses. As a result, you should always remember that you’re trying to engage with actual human beings. You want your products or services to ease their pain and solve their problems. However, you need to first earn their trust. 

Storytelling creates that missing human connection that brands of old seem to have skipped over. This technique will let you create content that tells people you are more than just a faceless entity, that you actually care about them. This will result in greater feelings of trust for your brand that will allow you to build stronger relationships with them.

4. Be Unforgettable

It’s hard to think of a product or service these days that doesn’t have stiff competition. To differentiate themselves, businesses often go the route of strengthening their USPs like adding more products, improving customer service, or offering discounts.

One effective way for you to communicate how you differ from your competitors is creating videos with a strong narrative. With this, you’ll go beyond the typical corporate video format. You can tell your customers how and why you’re better than the others in a way that words alone couldn’t accomplish.

5. Increase Brand Reach

Storytelling is a tradition passed down from our ancestors. This is why plenty of brand videos that went viral in recent years all revolved around a traditional narrative arc that introduces characters, creates conflict and results in some kind of resolution. This storytelling approach to brand film makes the difference between a promotional video that simply describes what a product does and a video that goes beyond by creating powerful emotional connections.

How To Incorporate Storytelling In Brand Videos

Think back to the last brand film that you remember. Chances are, this was a video that came with a solid narrative and evoked strong emotions from you, enough to compel you to share it with your network. This isn’t a phenomenon that’s exclusive to the big brands. There is a formula involved:

1. Look At The Big Picture

Instead of focusing on your products, focus on creating an overarching theme among your videos. Don’t just advertise what your product can do for your customers. Focus on why people should trust your brand. What can you do for them?


Take, for instance, Airbnb. They created videos that highlighted the experiences of both their hosts and their guests, effectively telling stories of diversity and hospitality while also lending the spotlight to Airbnb’s growing community.

2. Focus on Emotions

According to advertising research, a consumer’s emotional response has a bigger influence on their purchasing decision than the ad itself. From happiness to nostalgia to overcoming life’s obstacles, brands are now jumping on this trend.


People are not just buying athletic gear from Under Armour; they are doing so because the brand associated itself with the relentless pursuit of one’s goals. Consumers aren’t just purchasing shoes from Nike; they are also supporting the fight against police brutality. 

3. Use The Right Storytelling Structure

At Aspect, we create videos that include these three core elements:

  • Interest (The Hook) — Usually coming in at the start of the film, The Hook establishes your story. At this stage, use imagery or dialogue that will capture their interest enough to keep watching your video until the end. Keep in mind how short attention spans these days are, so make this part impactful.
  • Evaluation (The Pitch) — At this second stage, subtly introduce your brand. Make sure that The Hook tells a captivating story, so that when viewers get to The Pitch, they will be more open to seeing your brand or product weaved into the story.
  • Empathy (The Personalisation) — As the story comes to its end, the viewer must see themselves within the narrative. This isn’t confined to the usual CTA that brand videos have. The Personalisation approach is more nuanced; you need to be able to turn their emotional investment into positive associations with your brand. If done right, this blurs the line between brand and consumer; this is where the ‘we’ becomes the ‘you.’

4. Show, Don’t Tell

“Show, don’t tell” is a tried-and-tested narrative formula used in literary works. This technique focuses on making the reader experience the story itself without the author dictating their emotions through summarisation, exposition, or description.

In terms of video, use visuals and sounds to tell your story. Consider the music, camera angles, and colour schemes when evoking emotion in your viewers.


GoPro is a prime example of this technique. In one of their brand videos, a fireman saves a kitten in distress, capturing the entire journey without showing the product itself nor without using any voice overs.

5. Invest Enough time

You cannot rush the creative process. You have to give it sufficient time for ideas to come out and prosper. 

Hold brainstorming sessions with your team and make sure you create an inviting environment where everyone can feel safe throwing in their ideas. Don’t worry about each idea’s validity. Assess each pitch later on and pick the one that will best fit your brand and your message.

6. Know Your Audience 

When creating content, forget being a marketer. It doesn’t matter what resonates with you, because you’re not the target consumer. 

Whether it’s for voice-overs, choosing animation over live action, or picking colour schemes, pick the style and story that will appeal to your target market. We dedicated the entire Chapter 2 of this guide to creating a more in-depth understanding of your audience.

7. Above all things – be creative

It may be a bit disheartening to read but many research studies indicate that many adverts are not recalled or correct attributed to the right brand, suggesting that large proportions of ad and content spend is going to waste.

We’re bombarded every time we open a browser or pick up a tablet, so content which can cut through this constant onslaught are essential for success.

Millward Brown a British market research company identified the ten biggest reasons why ads are widely shared, and the number one reason is that they are creative and engaging.

The best way to be noticed amidst the noise is to be compelling, and the most compelling content is creative, which grab and maintain audience attention, the rest just get lost…

When creating content, forget being a marketer. It doesn’t matter what resonates with you, because you’re not the target consumer. 

Whether it’s for voice-overs, choosing animation over live action, or picking colour schemes, pick the style and story that will appeal to your target market and be creative with your approach. We dedicated the entire Chapter 2 of this guide to creating a more in-depth understanding of your audience.

Quick Chapter Summary

  • Nowadays, consumers do not respond to ads that are focused on products; they prefer to see ads that trigger their emotions
  • To evoke emotions through your videos, invest in creating a good story 
  • When using storytelling in video creation, brands can overcome ad fatigue, engage their audience, build relationships with customers, become more memorable than competitors, and increase their reach
  • To incorporate storytelling in your films, look at the big picture and present what you can do for your customers instead of focusing on your product features; you should also evoke the right emotion that aligns with your brand values
  • Use the right storytelling structure which includes The Hook, The Pitch, and The Personalisation
  • When telling stories, rely on the age-old literary technique “show, don’t tell”
  • Invest the right amount of time when brainstorming ideas, then pick the style and story that will resonate with your audience
  • Be brave and bold – be creative!