Hope. Desire. Ambition. Three words which are often associated with an individual or group of people aspiring to succeed.
But when it comes to associating your brand with these inspiring individuals or teams as a way to promote your value proposition it can often be tricky to connect in an authentic way that shows your brand adding value to that individual or group.
Being able to add value in an authentic manner is still an alien concept to many marketers who are shamelessly intent on selling rather than connecting. (You only need to read this article by Rachel Sprung from Hubspot to see what I mean!)
But when you connect your value proposition to an inspiring story in an authentic and meaningful way, you become more human.
Humanity is still a hugely undervalued asset in a marketer’s arsenal, at best it allows consumers to feel they connect to your company through your values and mission, at worst it appears fake and disingenuous and at times simply a company trying to look good, greenwashing being a perfect example.
So let me just firstly highlight one excellent example of a brand who associated themselves with individuals who have triumphed.
Excellent Example Of Authentic Brand Association With Success Stories
Holiday Inn: Scott Rigsby
Source: Holiday Inn/Youtube;
H/T Steve Hall from Marketing Land
What I LOVE about this advert: It only takes hearing “My life radically changed in nine seconds” in the first four seconds of video to effectively tune your mind to the tone of this advert.
Sidenote: The one thing charities often get wrong with TV advertising and online video is that they don’t capture the viewer’s imagination in the first few seconds – gone are the days when you can just use dramatic imagery with no narration and some emotional background music. You have to engage from the very first second of the video.
An empathic and resilient Scott appears on screen. The opening title appears after we have heard Scott speak in the first four seconds (Suddenly the words ‘extraordinary’ and ‘journey’ now have a deeper meaning for the viewer – We want to know more about Scott’s journey because his story has already engaged us!)
Again as the video progresses in the first ten to fifteen seconds we start to hear Scott tell his story.
Naturally most advertisers would assume that the audience needs a traditional one on one interview shot with Scott in his home or at a studio during the entire advert.
Personally I think the choice on whether your brand uses action shots or in person studio interviews really depends on the product. (Smoothie makers tend to sell better when someone is standing in the studio demonstrating the product – unless your smoothie maker is an action friendly device!)
Notice how Scott is almost telling us his story in the same way that advertising copy is written. Short, to the point and without the fluff that would get in the way of his story.
But of course the audience does need some context to the opening remarks “My life radically changed in nine seconds”.
For brands executing the development of a success story it is important to consider using storyboarding to help get the mix right. (I won’t outline the nature of storyboarding in this blog post but please do take a moment to learn more about it and also understand the value of trigger words in each frame of the video!)
So far sixteen seconds into the advert we have already seen the use of:
- Curiosity in the first four seconds of the advert: “My life radically changed in nine seconds”
- Emphatic imagery of Scott running and riding a bicycle
- Meaningful and descriptive words: The frame with the words ‘The Journey to the extraordinary’ wouldn’t have the same value if we didn’t understand that something had happened in Scott’s life. (again, showcasing the effective use of trigger words to make us want to learn more!)
Sixteen seconds is all it took to build the background for the story in a way we actually care about.
Most brands spend ninety seconds to two minutes building up the emotion through bland, uninspiring cut scenes patched together to make us feel “connected” to the cause.
The immediate takeaway you should have for your next video marketing campaign is simple.
Make every second of your video count.
It takes a total of fifty six seconds before we even hear Holiday Inn’s name being mentioned.
The video has already helped build the story to a point where we are now empathising with Scott’s pain and frustration about losing his leg and it is now time for the classic problem/solution phase of a traditional advertisement to kick in.
Notice how Holiday Inn didn’t start the video by showcasing Scott checking into a Holiday Inn and a proud Holiday Inn rep telling the viewer how Holiday Inn helped Scott through his ordeal.
If you as the brand don’t allow the person you are profiling to tell their story first before your brand is mentioned, people won’t connect to the individual’s story and will just view them (fairly or not) as the paid representative of your brand.
People connect to people. People will not willingly choose to hear you as the brand tell them how amazing you are for helping someone in need.
Furthermore notice how Scott describes the Holiday Inn staff as his family. Again this wasn’t a Holiday Inn rep proudly saying “We welcomed Scott in like he was family!”
And the brilliant subtlety of Holiday Inn’s affiliation to Scott’s success story continues as we meet Julie, a Holiday Inn staff member at the hotel Scott stayed out who really speaks from the heart about her empathy and compassion for Scott’s story.
Scott then tells us that despite being thousands of dollars of debt to the Holiday Inn Julie never put pressure on him and “without Julie… [he would have] been homeless”.
Julie is the human side of Holiday Inn, Scott doesn’t say that the Holiday Inn didn’t put pressure on him (lest the company be accused of being a corporate bemoth who is just interested in profits – Julie was the one who helped ease the pressure!)
I think this infographic by Playnetwork outlines the quantitative impact of brand storytelling perfectly. Adverts are ignored, stories are embraced.
Key Takeaways For Your Next Video Marketing Campaign
- Let the individual tell the story in the way they want to tell it.
- Engage your audience from the very first second of the video.
- Don’t start the video with how your brand helped the individual succeed. Build the connection to their success in a natural and genuine way.
- Don’t focus any unnecessary attention on your brand – the video should be all about the individual and their story.