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The power of storytelling in a video-first world

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According to Mark Zuckerberg, we’re entering a golden age of video, and in five years most of what people consume online will be exactly that — video.

By 2019, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video. Cisco Study, 2015

Over the last few years we’ve seen brands start to experiment with new media platforms, including Facebook Live and Snapchat stories, to connect people and inspire brand engagement. But in order to keep up with the rising demand for more content, brands have to scale up their video production capabilities, not just in speed and volume, but in quality.

So how do brands create content that stands out from the crowd whilst adding value?

Here are seven things we need to do to create quality video content:

  • Identify the purpose of the video

Before spending any time, energy or money, it’s essential to identify the purpose of the video. Is it to educate? Inspire? Instruct? Define the overall objective you need to achieve.

  • Understand your audience

Do the research and use consumer insights, media behaviours and trends to understand your audience on a deeper level. Learn how and when they watch online content and figure out the best time, place and way to engage with them.

  • Tell a story

It’s important to take people on a journey. To do that you must know your brand’s character, determine the plot and identify a theme. It’s the story that consumers engage with and the emotion you evoke connects them with your brand.

“Video is the format, not the message. It’s all about the story that’s being told and what that means for brands.” Yannick Connan, Creative Director at Hugo & Cat

  • Create multi-platform content

When creating a video, cover a wide range of platforms with the same piece of content. Re-purpose your assets into different formats and use them across a variety of media to reach a bigger audience.

Note: Be sure to use different creative techniques for different platforms. E.g. If you’re creating a video for Facebook make sure it works with both sound on and off. If you’re creating a TrueView ad for Youtube make sure you get your message across in the first five seconds before viewers can opt to skip out.

  • Show, don’t tell

Connect with your audience by showing, not telling. Paint a picture and allow the audience to draw their own conclusions. Royal Mail don’t say, “you can trust us” — they show how trust is built with every parcel that’s delivered to the right address, safely and on time.

  • Have fun with it

If you enjoy creating it, the audience are more likely to enjoy watching it.

  • Include a strong call to action

Tell people what you want them to do next and show them why it’s worth it. Take your audience on a deeper journey and guide them with clickable links through to other relevant content.

As we enter this golden age of video, the challenge will be to produce fast, effective content at scale, whilst embracing new platforms and formats. And if Cisco’s predictions come true, customer centred design will be vital in making sure brands fulfil their potential with online content. To harness the power of storytelling for future brand engagement, it’s time to realise the power of quality over quantity in a video-first world.

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