Is it just me, or is there a storytelling renaissance going on today?
We see it more and more in the corporate world – a concerted attempt to fortify/strengthen/communicate a company’s culture by telling stories that reinforce what the company is all about.
Now, obviously, storytelling is nothing new. Since the days when we made hand shadows in front of the fire in our caves, mankind has always depended on the power of a story to move people to tears, action, or self-reflection.
Storytelling is still a big part of our lives; the methods may have changed a bit, but the basic concept is still intact. What is YouTube but a story around a fire … however, in this case, the fire is the Internet and the audience is in the millions.
Yes, it feels like we’re returning to stories en masse … and that return is reflected most powerfully in our popular culture. We’re seeking out stories that are longer and more complex. Why are millions tuning into Lost or Heroes or Desperate Housewives? Why do they turn out in droves for multi-part movies, like The Lord of the Rings? What is it about Harry Potter that has turned millions of kids into reading junkies?
The answer is: Compelling stories.
The better the story (more involving, more interesting, more memorable), the more likely your audience is to take action. To learn. To remember.
It’s an idea we all understand but often forget when it comes time to make our next training video or product intro video or CEO message video: What story are we telling and what can we do to make it more compelling? How can we emulate the best stories, by involving our audience, surprising them, and providing them with a satisfying conclusion to the story we’re telling?
The best corporate videos do that and that’s what makes them the best corporate videos.
So when you think about your next video, check to make sure that you’ve included a healthy heaping of the elements of a great story (humor, empathy, surprise, suspense, resolution) and remember that as sophisticated as we may think we are, we’re still basically sitting around a fire, waiting to be enthralled. Be sure your video has a story that will grab your audience and hold them tight until the words “The End” appear on the screen.