Stories are an innate part of being human. We’ve told them ever since we could communicate. And as the millennia have passed, we’ve found new ways to tell stories. Language, cave paintings, tapestries, plays, books, newspapers, television – each one a unique way of communicating information.
Stories are something we all tell, and we all connect with.
No one recognises the importance of storytelling more than my guest on The Rankings Podcast, Michael Mogill, founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group. Michael and his company specialize in exquisitely produced, story-driven video ads for lawyers all around the country. And if you were to ask Michael what the number one thing to consider is when making an ad for your law firm, he would tell you one thing – storytelling.
Creating engaging, story-driven ads to implement in your content strategy or post on your Instagramcan be difficult though. And it’s tricky rationalizing why we even need to invest so much energy in storytelling. Thankfully, we’ve put together this basic guide explaining why storytelling is important so you can create your own ad or bring some ideas to the tables of the professionals – like Crisp Video Group.
Striking images aren’t enough
You’d be forgiven for assuming that snappy photography and cinematic visuals are all you need to sell a product. Surely if the product looks good then it’ll speak for (and sell) itself, right? But, for the vast majority of product advertisements, the pretty pictures are actually parcelled up within some sort of story.
The way to think of it is that the story is the vehicle that delivers your product or message. The reason we need this vehicle is because it gives us the message in a more palatable way. The story can grab our interest and hold our attention. It can make us feel emotionally invested. It can stay in our heads long after we’ve seen it.
The same is true when it comes to selling a service – such as those of a law firm. It might be tempting to plan a video that focuses on your logo every other frame. However, without a story to communicate to us why we might need your service, your 30 seconds of logo and phone number are quickly thrown in the forgotten pile.
Why is storytelling important?
Note: Storytelling is not only important for advertising your service, but it can also be useful for promoting your brand. Brand promotion, especially for lawyers, is essential when competing in saturated markets. Once you’ve defined your brand it can help you to target specific audiences instead of general ones.
We’ve looked a little at why good imagery isn’t enough, so now it’s time to talk about why exactly telling a story is better. And that comes down to two things – emotion and relatability.
The importance of emotion
Stories resonate with us because they engage us on an emotional level. We feel wonder for fantasy worlds and we root for characters we like. And because we get so emotionally invested in these characters and fictional events, we remember them.
Humans are emotional beings. It’s something that we can’t escape. And (for advertising at least) this is a great thing. Using an emotional trigger is a great way to “hook” peoples’ attention. If we find an ad funny, we’re likely to stick around for more laughs. And if we find an ad sad, we want to see if there’s a happy resolution. The point is that once we’re gripped by the emotional element, we are committed. And that’s when we’re most receptive to what is being advertised.
The importance of being relatable
As well as engaging us emotionally, ads can appeal to our individual needs too. And by this, I mean that advertisements can present relatable situations that the target audience can identify with. I’m not talking about infomercials with the overdramatic black and white shots of adults struggling to slice a cucumber though.
A good example would be Fitbit’s campaign for the release of the Fitbit Alta. In this video we’re presented with a parent’s journey (from the perspective of a child) to get fitter. And it’s the story of striving to get fitter that Fitbit’s target audience relates to.
The ad is so reliant on the story and being relatable that we don’t even find out the name of the product until the end. This is because the advertisers know that the people this product is for will be invested and see the ad through to the end.
Stories make you memorable
As well as ensuring your audience sees the entirety of the ad, having a strong story makes your video memorable.
For law firms this is crucial.
This is because clients don’t see your ads as soon as they have an accident. They might see your video weeks before they need your help, or they might not see in until months after. That’s why you need to ensure you remain top-of-mind.
A text-filled screen, detailing your firm’s name and number might communicate a lot of information in an economical way. But, it’s not exactly catchy. However, the story of someone trying to support their family before suffering a workplace accident – that’s relatable, emotive and memorable.
The moral of the story
Storytelling ensures that your audience pays attention to and remembers your message. It appeals to a primal side of humans and it’s something that advertisers have been capitalizing on for years. Although it’s tempting to create videos that just look sharp, it’s essential your ads have some narrative substance too.
So, if you’re thinking of making your own video, remember that crafting an emotional and relatable connection should be your priority.
Or, you could get in touch with the professionals over at Crisp Video Group.