The Web has spawned many great opportunities for people in general and businesses in particular. One of the byproducts of ubiquitous access and use is the ability of anyone with a Web-ready device and Internet connection to participate. Pardon me for being cynical, but maybe not everyone is capable of participating in a meaningful manner. What I’m saying is the Web has created a whole new venue for amateurism that has both positive and negative consequences.The High Cost of AmateurismOn the positive side many creative and intelligent people are now able to present their talents and knowledge to a global audience whereas ‘Before The Web Era’ they had to settle for friends and family or at best a local audience. On the downside, just because everyone can do something doesn’t mean they should. I am not even talking about the silly, uninformed comments that appear everywhere, or even the dumb-and-dumber user-generated videos that highlight adolescent stunts and salacious exhibitionism. What I am talking about is how so many legitimate businesses opt for amateur video presentations without the slightest understanding of the damage they are doing to their businesses.To my mind, your image and message are far too important to leave up to amateurs who don’t understand how to develop and present a marketing message using the Web video medium, a medium that differs from television advertising and corporate presentations as much as it differs from print. For those who think that professional Web video is too expensive, I would advise the real cost of DIY and amateurism is lost sales and reputation.It’s About Concept and PerformanceThe truth is you can get away with a lot of technical stuff on the Web but you can never get away with inferior messaging both in concept and performance. The true essence of Web video professionalism is how your business message is turned into a compelling brand story, a mission that should not be taken lightly. I have said it many times but Web Video is an exercise in psychological persuasion not a display of technical wizardry. If you don’t understand how to convert your message into a meaningful brand story, it is best you find someone who does.8 Brand Video Story Development Concepts1. Story FormBusiness people trained in number-centric management practices often reject, or at least bridle at the notion of storytelling as a legitimate business function, but unless you have a good story to tell no one is going to listen to what you have to say.Within the movie business it is often said that there are only seven movies: these are the prototypical plots that can be presented in some compelling fashion over two hours. The difference between an award winning movie and a flop is how that story is told, a function of script and performance. Your marketing video must contain the same kind of conceptual reference in order to deliver the message quickly and effectively.2. TransformationThere are many ways to present your story but every story needs a hero or heroine. He or she is your brand representative who is transformed from one condition or state-of-mind to another. This is the symbolic transformation that your audience vicariously goes through as they watch, a transformation that changes their attitudes, perceptions, and prejudices. It is the process of psychologically moving your viewer from prospect to client. It is the process of conversion.3. ObstaclesNo transformation is complete without overcoming some obstacle in the same way no sale is closed without overcoming some objection. The bigger the obstacle, the more powerful the message becomes.Everyone instinctively understands their product or service must solve a problem but the problem-solving nature of your solution may not be as apparent as first thought, and a poorly constructed video can actually negate what your trying to accomplish.4. The SetupWithout a setup your message will fail to make an impact. This is one of the hardest things to get people to recognize. Like any memorable anecdote or magic trick, you cannot skip the setup; without a setup a punch line (your tag line) will have no meaning.5. Consistent Signature PatternsHuman beings learn through pattern recognition. If the audience can’t recognize the pattern you don’t have a brand. Successful brand development uses consistent language, attitude, and point-of-view, supported by consistent image, color, and style, presented within a consistent contextual framework.6. CampaignsOne-off presentations don’t result in long-term clients any more than a one-night stand results in a long-term relationship. You must continually support and enhance your identity and image with supportive content and material.7. Emotional Value PropositionThere are only a handful of hardwired psychological needs that drive human motivation and therefore consumption. The universality of these desires is what makes us tick, it’s what makes us make the decisions we make, and to ultimately buy what we buy. It’s the Emotional Value Proposition you offer your audience that makes them a client. A reliance on fads and features might lead to short-term sales but they’ll rarely lead to long-term customers.8. PerformanceEveryone has a friend who loves to tell jokes but can never quite get it right; either they screw-up the punch line or they butcher the timing, and the story falls flat. Your brand story videos are no different. Unless they are delivered with skill and professionalism they will fail and maybe even do more harm than good. It’s not just a question of hiring someone who can actually spit the words out without getting tongue-tied; it’s about knowing how to use performance techniques within the Web video medium to deliver a memorable marketing message. It’s about performance.Final ThoughtsEveryone likes to save money, especially when the economy is not the best, but saving money at the cost of your company’s reputation and identity can be a costly mistake. Technology has provided the business executive and company owner with all kinds of benefits, but it would be a mistake to think technology solves psychological concerns; and sales and marketing are most definitely psychological issues.
February 13, 2016
8 Brand Video Story Development Concepts