Video Stories: (Online) Marketing’s Next Big Thing

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There’s a fast-emerging trend we are seeing as a producer of videos for both major brands and agencies: the emergence of “stories” as the next big vehicle for brand communication.  At least a dozen of national companies have undertaken projects to start producing human-interest stories via video to promote their brands, so it bears a closer look for anyone in the video and broader marketing industries:

In a world that proclaims “Content is king,” it is these stories that are showing up as the next big thing.  Whether it’s an auto company asking folks to look back into their past with their very first (insert brand here) car, or a mom reflecting on the first cake she baked from a box and how it made her feel, brands are encouraging consumers to be a  part of the  story by recalling their own experiences.

The resulting human interest stories, with a specific brand as a centerpiece, are being utilized in a number of creative ways. For example, the videos are showing up on a brand’s Web site as personal brand commentary to humanize and personalize their corporate website.  Equally or even more common, the video stories are used as a part of content on Facebook and other social-sharing sites. These videos are perfect complements to commercials that are uploaded on brand pages on YouTube, too.

There are a few unique benefits from these video stories for brands:

1.  The videos come across as authentic (if shot correctly).  They are not stylized, or stuffy, or corporate.  They are real people sharing real memories that reflect positively on a brand.

2.  Then, there’s the endorsement by a satisfied customer expressed in warm, friendly, non-salesy manner.  These testimonials, even when referring to the brand in memories from 10-15 years ago, open the door for future product trial and adoption by consumers.

3.  And finally, these stories personalize the brand.  They bring the brand down to the consumer level, which is appreciated by the consumer, and proves to be very motivational. It is this personalization of the brand that results in shareability.

Practically no one is going to share a video that’s nothing more than a typical commercial featuring a new Mustang or other new car, but they might share a touching story of how someone felt about their first Mustang 10, 20 or even 30 years ago, and how they felt that first day cruising down the highway with the top down.

Stories, especially those in video form, will live on with the Internet as long as we all make an effort to ensure that they are “findable”.  As we all know, video already indexes well with search engines. Proper tagging and placing in various media will only help in sharing a brand’s stories.

This trend will be worth watching in the coming months, as video stories have the promise to personalize brands in an authentic way.

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