Who Tells The Better Story?

There are endless hours of story-centric content circulating the social space. You’ve spent your creative resources storyboarding, filming, editing, and pushing them out to the world. But for some reason, you’re asking yourself, “why aren’t people engaging with our stories?”

The answer is complex, yet simple — people want to connect.

When people connect with the stories you tell, they feel heard. Something you went out of your way to share, helps validate someone’s vantage point – it beckons the viewer to want more.

We’ve seen the numbers. By 2021 Cisco predicts 80%+ of all online internet traffic will be video. How do they know this? Well, you can thank your router at your office or home for sharing these small details.

You and many other brands are pushing to get ahead of this video dominated curve, by creating unique experiences for individuals; and experience-based tourism is the hotbed. Gone are the days of pre-packaged itinerary planning.

Brands that had nothing to do with tourism are now flooding the market with independent publications based on mass production of video content. Take AOL for example. They’ve diversified their portfolio by creating off-chutes of story first content to follow the models of Great Big Story, Buzzfeed, Unilad and others. You’ve probably seen one of these off-chutes by the name of “In The Know.”

This publication grew by telling stories on how to experience travel through being a discoverer; as well as scientific approach on “what you thought you knew” about a certain topic. Iterations of In The Know, have since been expanded upon from audience insights — seeing what content people are clinging to the most. You can now find In The Know: Life, and other branches.

Earlier I mentioned, the best story wins. Consumers can see right through your lens flares, moody and spirit lifted soundtracks, and smiling faces. You can thank us Millennials for wanting more from brands.

So how do you tell the best story? Well, to be honest there’s no top 10 list. But from my experience making independent publications, and writing and producing story-centric marketing collateral for economic development — I can tell you, that you need to get to the heart of people.

It’s not just about the colossal Eggs Benedict served at a restaurant for mass engagement. That content is great for one-off content, but if you want people who care about your brand and the stories you tell, you need to tell the truth of what matters.

Recently, I’d had the opportunity to work on an economic development project for a city. They were facing a problem with how to tell the thousands of people who’d come and gone from their city over the years, the city truly had changed. We couldn’t just plaster that message out there.

The economic development team had been in the process of crafting a campaign around the message, but wanted to take it a step further. We came into the project to share stories of pioneers of the city (super on trend, I know.) The people who are building the city from the ground up, without the help from big-box companies coming in and taking control away from the locals. This specific message was key to telling what mattered most.

Many of the people we interviewed for the project, without a doubt, loved the city they lived in. Some had even moved away to “bigger and better” cities –you know the ones like “concrete jungle where dreams are made of.” These individuals came back to the city we were tasked to help market for a reason; they cared, and wanted other people to not only see why they did, but in hopes they could impart a new perspective on how much truly had changed.

However, the stories didn’t stop at the “change” and “passion-oriented” narratives that were developed. We coupled that with the right video clips to tie the entire thing together.

One thing that I can’t stress enough — yes you can grab an iPhone and go film, but one thing you need to understand is how integral your A and B shots are in helping propel your narrative. It’s a shame to waste such good sound bites from your interviewed subject on less-than-perfect b-roll.

All of these touch points tie into telling the best story: narrative, person, film style, the music you select, and the platforms they live on.

But one thing you can’t fake, is the intent behind the story.

If you have a take on the matter, leave a comment. For those who want more information on the subject, and how to see a story-centric campaign become successful for non-“big brands,” I’d love to have a conversation on how to foster that with you.