The lesson about creating videos that work for your company or brand was really a lesson about the stories you tell. In this transparent, easily researched world, it's all about your story, regardless what media you're working in.
When it comes to video, specifically, it lets you to be really open and really vulnerable in a way that allows you to connect with your audience and lets them really understand and share your story. It is a medium that is lets you be authentic and allows your audience to see you, get to know you and get to like you. After all, getting people to like you is the key to business success these days.
That was the message from Matt Dibble, speaking at the Social Media Association of Michigan's Lunch and Learn Wednesday. You need to get people to know and like you in order to have them do business with you today. And the best way to do that is through good storytelling. During his talk, Matt showed us that storytelling isn't just an art, but there's also a science to it.
Figuring out what your company's story is starts with what is your identity. It needs to be simple and easy to understand. Preferably, it's only one or two sentences. It also needs to have some intrigue to it, so it invites people to ask questions and leaves them wanting to know more.
For instance, he asked me what Yaffe's identity is. Now I have recently written up Yaffe's identity, as we're in the process of redoing our website and reshaping our own story. It is a line about being customer centric and helping our clients to be the same. I couldn't remember exactly what the line is, so I just said, "We help companies connect with their customers in a more one-to-one way." It is essentially right, just not the carefully crafted words I'd worked up.
However, Matt said that was perfect because you shouldn't just spout your company's well-crafted line. He said he likes to hear directly from a client's mouth what they believe they are, because it comes out in the way that people speak and therefore connects on a more emotional level. How we actually talk is the best way to connect and start your story. He pointed out that "helping connect with customers" let him know that we're probably in marketing, social media, other ways to connect with customers. Then the "one-to-one" part of the line created some intrigue, made him want to know more about what that was all about.
The next step in figuring out your stories is to list three or four objectives your company has relating to your identity. The objectives are usually either answering the question of how you do what you do or why you do it. It's the main things you do. You want to keep the number down to three or four, because people will have a hard time remembering any more than that.
Once you have your objectives, you figure out what stories are attached to each of them. What stories do you have to tell that illustrates each objective? What are the stories your audience wants to hear? You want stories that will connect with them in the back of their brain, on an emotional level. People make decisions on an emotional level first and then will do research to find the logic and facts that fit the feelings they already have.
It's important that you start with the stories down at this level not with your identity or objectives.You tell a story your audience can relate to from their world perspective and through it they learn what your objective and identity is. That story is something that will stick with them better.
Also, don't make your company or yourself the hero of the story. Instead, make the customer the hero of the story. Not only will this be a more interesting story, it is one that will connect with your audience a lot stronger. In fact, you should interview someone who represents your core customer and find out what their likes and interests are. Build the story around a character like them or even about them specifically. This way you can attract the attention of potential new clients who are like him or her.
Finally, Matt talked about using the three C's of storytelling: context, choice and consequences. Context sets the stage for the story, choice is the turning point in the story where the hero must choose what path will solve the conflict of the story. Consequences is what happens as a result of the choice made. Matt said they often start the story at the consequence point to draw the audience in and then fills in the context and choice.
Once you've figured out the stories you need to tell and the structure of each story and can begin to craft them. As you feed them out to the world, they will start a narrative that feeds more stories and the stories will move the narrative forward.
Storytelling has become a very important aspect of how we communicate. Well, actually it always has been, back to ancient days telling stories around the campfire. Only now, with video and the Internet, the whole world can gather around the fire to listen to your story.
Matt Dibble is the founder and chief storyteller of Final 5, where he and his team are helping companies find their identity and tell their stories through video. You can check them out here. As a long time video practitioner and storyteller, I felt his presentation helped me frame both processes in a different way. It was both interesting and informative. Next month (May 2016), the SMAMi Lunch and Learn will feature a panel of local bloggers, moderated by yours truly. If you missed last month's talk on proving the ROI of social, you can find a recap here.