Why Creative Execution Counts: Just Because You Can Do it Yourself, Doesn’t Always Mean You Should

06.28.2017 David Ferraro

Video Advertising for Local Businesses

Solving Business Challenges with Video (Part 2 of 3)

“Marketing is EVERYTHING the customer sees and hears.”  -Andy Ebon

In the last post, we made a case that even if you run a business that doesn’t have a media strategy, from time to time you will have a need to tell your own story.

Every business has a story to tell, whether they face consumers daily or not. We know that people have an endless appetite for stories. We’re wired that way. We learned that the brain reacts differently from hearing facts to so that we will envision ourselves as part of it.

Stories also create visual images that bring details to life. An example:

The “Sandwich” was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat devoted to card-playing, who didn’t like play being interrupted to take meals. Lord Sandwich came up with the idea to eat beef between slices of toast, allowing him to eat and play cards at the same time without getting his cards greasy. Others began to order “the same as Sandwich!” And a meal was born.

It’s a good bet that the image of Lord Sandwich playing cards will help you remember the origin of the sandwich far better than if the same information had been presented in bullet points or PowerPoint.

Evolution has wired our brains for storytelling. But why is that? Why does a story, where events unfold to a conclusion, have such a profound impact on learning?

One reason is that the story is a connection of cause and effect. It’s how we think. We invent a series of narratives all day long to make sense of the world around us, connecting the dots as we go. And when we hear a new story, we immediately mentally work to relate it to one of our existing metaphors.

After we relate the story to our own experience, stories work because we assume mental ownership as our idea. Writing in Lifehacker, Leo Widrich quotes Princeton researcher Uri Hasson:

A story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.

Telling a good story is the only way to firmly plant ideas into other people’s minds.

A third reason that stories work is that brain researchers have learned that words stimulate regions of the brain distinct from language-processing areas. Words like “soap,” “coffee” or “perfume” activate regions of the brain cortex that respond to smells. Other terms relating to texture activated the part that perceives touch.

As Andy Smith says writing in the blog Ceros,

“Our appetite for stories is a reflection of the basic human need to understand patterns of life — not merely as an intellectual exercise but as a personal, emotional experience. Stories are the way to reach out to people and emotionally connect.”

Perhaps you’re convinced. But how do you get started?

Professionals begin by asking you to answer two basic questions. The first: Who are you talking to? Who is your audience? Many times, people will skip this step, saying, “I want to reach everybody.” This just in: you won’t. It is essential to know, as specifically as possible, who you want to reach and talk in terms of their interests.

For example, if want to create a recruitment video, and you know your recruitment pool are young adults 25-40, you will want to use people, language, appeals and situations very different from those you would use to appeal to baby boomers.

Secondly, determine your objective in telling your story. As many have said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” What do you wish to achieve? What will success look like?

And – you may be thinking – since we now live in a world where we do everything on our smart phones, which now have high quality cameras capable of excellent images, why not just do this myself?

There are several reasons to consult with professionals. As anyone who has ever undertaken a home plumbing project knows, just because you CAN do it yourself (at least in theory) doesn’t mean that you should.

1. Because technology is not storytelling. Telling an effective story via media starts and ends with concept. There is a good reason mountaineers and explorers hire guides.

2. For all of their charms, phone cameras have severe limitations in image framing and sound recording. Making a professional video project requires equipment and skills in camera, audio, lighting and editing equipment vastly different from consumer gear.

3. Most importantly, professional companies will work with you from the beginning of your idea through the creation and execution of your video to insure that the coverage is right, and to create all the elements necessary to reach your objective.

Writers know how important a good editor is. Having someone help you shape your story is usually indispensable. 

Check back in next week for our third and final installment in the video storytelling series. Click here to read Part 1 of this series.


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David Ferraro

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