What do all the greatest books, movies, and music have in common? They’re great at capturing interest, instilling emotion, and inspiring action. And they all succeed at this by implementing good ol’ fashioned storytelling.
Telling stories has been a part of human culture for centuries. And in some areas, storytelling is a way of keeping history alive. This is how tales traveled from one generation to the next before pen and paper (and printers) came along.
Imagine trying to remember an algorithm or complicated math problem. Not likely to happen. But surely, you can repeat almost word-for-word “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and other stories you heard as a child.
And there’s a scientific reason for this:
Stories are 22x more memorable than facts alone.
This is why you’ll have a harder time convincing people to buy your product or service based on stats and numbers alone. Telling stories about the how (i.e., How we helped X do X) sells a lot better than explaining the what (i.e., What features we offer). And this is true whether you’re selling a product or trying to build an audience.
Research shows people love brand stories. So much so that 55% are more likely to buy products in the future from brands with a great story. Another 44% will even share your story, and 15% will buy from you right away.
This is why VanillaSoft used storytelling to build its brand. Let’s take a look at what they did.
1. Showing Your Brand’s Passion Using Video
You’ve likely heard all the great things about using video. Like it captures the attention of audiences better than text. And it better displays messaging since you can tie sound and visuals together.
So imagine the power video holds when you incorporate storytelling.
“As I mentioned before, many times, video does not just transmit audio and video, it transmits emotion, it transmits feeling and transmitting your heart,” said Daniel Allard, Senior Video Producer at VanillaSoft.
In other words, brands will have an easier time connecting with audiences. But how do you make this happen? Here’s advice from VanillaSoft.
“I would tell them to be engaged. I would tell them to really have a vested interest, have a passion for whatever they’re going to be talking about because if you don’t, it’s going to come across. People will know. I would also say, whatever your worry is, I would downplay that, because, at the end of the day, you’re just talking to the camera about stuff you know about, especially in that case where they were the expert something, they are the experts on things, so people are going to them.
“They are the ones who know. So just tell people what you know, tell them what you’re passionate about. And that puts people at ease when they feel more in control, right? There’s a lot of feeling out of control when you have a camera in your face, and a mic held up to your mouth, so just dictate what you know, talk about your passions,” Daniel shared.
Using video to tell your brand’s story makes sense, especially with 40% of consumers saying they’d rather watch a brand video vs. reading the same information.
2. Creating Content That’s Reusable and Shareworthy
The stories your brand tells should be meaningful, heartfelt, and relatable. But how good is that when they’re not being heard? This is why it’s critical to plan to repurpose the content you build and make it shareable.
The more visibility it has and easier it is to consume, the higher the odds of it reaching your audience. Here’s how VanillaSoft approaches its storytelling.
“We have a very robust and aggressive schedule to reuse material, right, so as something becomes relevant again, we will reissue links and takeaways, what have you, and re-promote it on as many channels as we can, so Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, mostly, YouTube as well. So it’s everywhere we can, and we will repurpose and reshuffle, so if you ever appear on a VanillaSoft podcast, you will get tagged and tagged and tagged and tagged.
“That content is fantastic, and you can just keep sending it out there. I mean, truth is truth, and as long as you keep staying relevant, there’s no reason why you can’t keep issuing that and sharing it with people who might not have seen it and bringing them back to your brand,” Daniel shared.
The truth is, the better the story, the more likely people will share it. This is true among B2B and B2C groups. Folks in the B2B world love sharing inspirational stories. Just look at your LinkedIn feed on any given day, and you’ll see this.
Some experts state that sharing stories or information is partly driven by arousal. So if your storytelling can ignite emotion, then you’ll succeed in getting more people to tune in and share.
3. Using Music to Tell Stories
Have you ever watched a tearjerker movie? Think of the scene that made your eyes well up and the music that played in the background. Now switch out that music for heavy metal or an upbeat pop song.
This completely shifts the tone and ruins the mood. The role of music in storytelling isn’t new — there’s evidence musical theatre existed as far back as ancient Greece (4th century BCE).
The key is finding the right notes and melodies that match the emotion you’re trying to portray in the video — or evoke from your audience. There’s an entire strategy behind it, and when done right, it can amplify your stories.
So if you’re not already using background music, then you’re hurting the potential of your videos. But keep in mind that using the wrong tunes could also misrepresent the story.
“Don’t discount the power of background music. Background music can change the mood entirely. It really adds to it. I remember seeing on YouTube — you can look it up — I think someone re-edited The Shining trailer with “Solsbury Hill” and made it into this family-friendly, happy time movie of this family going on a vacation. It was great. Conversely, someone did a Mary Poppins trailer with a whole bunch of scary-sounding stuff and heads turning all over the place, and it looked horrific,” Daniel explained.
When it comes time to create a story for your brand or content, keep these three things in mind:
1. Use video whenever possible (repurpose content if you have to)
2. Add music to the background
3. Make it shareable (aka fun, bite-sized, and in multiple formats)
And don’t forget to watch your metrics to see what works for your particular audience.