The Power of Emotional Storytelling in Engaging Audiences Through Video

By Torrey Tayenaka, Co-Founder and CEO at Sparkhouse

Consumers are bombarded with information and stimuli online. Capturing their attention – and making a long-lasting impact – is more difficult than ever, which is why video marketing has gained such traction in recent years.

However, now that more and more businesses are using video marketing, it’s still a challenge to capture the attention of the viewer. It’s not enough to just create videos – you have to tell a strong story with a message that resonates with the audience.

Why Is Storytelling Important?

Storytelling is a crucial part of any content marketing strategy in any medium. While some logic factors into decision making, consumers can be hooked by a great story.

Stories Make an Emotional Connection

People remember stories that tug at their heartstrings. That’s why we remember the details of our favorite movie, show, or book more easily than bland information we’ve studied over and over.

Stories Are Shared

Long before videos existed, people shared the stories they heard. They are passed down from generation to generation, altered, embellished, and adapted, no matter how much time passes. Audiences want to retell stories, and that’s still true today with our habits of sharing videos on social media.

Stories Inspire

No matter the theme, stories have a solid message and purpose that inspires the audience. When the story is crafted well with an authentic message and a compelling call-to-action, the audience is moved to take the desired action.

How to Elevate Your Storytelling in Your Video Marketing Strategy

Stories can be heartwarming, funny, thrilling, or adventurous, but the structure of all stories is the same. They have a beginning, middle, and end with themes and emotional hooks.

For a brand, a story can communicate complex information and distill information into a sharp, resonant message that sticks with the audience and persuades them to take the next step.

Focus on the Key Message

Not all products or services are eye-catching and glamorous. However, there’s always an opportunity to embrace storytelling and show the real-world value of what your business has to offer.

For example, an athletic brand isn’t selling sports apparel but the dream of being a professional athlete and reaching personal goals. A pet food company isn’t selling nutrition, they’re selling a long, healthy life for a beloved dog or cat.

The key to the emotional hook is demonstrating what you can do for your customers, not just what you sell.

Bring in the Emotion

Emotion is a necessary part of storytelling, but it doesn’t always have to be touching and sentimental. If that’s not your brand, you can find other ways to bring emotion into your video marketing strategy.

Depending on the personality of your brand, you can harness emotions like anger, nostalgia, sadness, or even fear to get your message across. Many marketing campaigns leverage fear to inspire action, but even low-stakes tactics like Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) are technically motivating using fear.

Rely on Humor for Engagement

Humor has been a staple in marketing for decades. Even if your brand is a little more formal, you’re still interacting with people with a sense of humor. And getting them to laugh makes your brand more memorable and positive.

There are many ways to approach humor as well. It doesn’t have to be edgy, raunchy, or offensive (which is fine if it fits your brand!). Funny videos can be family friendly, cheesy, lighthearted, or silly to create positive emotional connections.

Keep It Creative

Emotional storytelling in videos is easier said than done. Otherwise, every brand would have viral videos, but many are hit or miss for viewers. If they don’t offer something new, people will just scroll by.

You still need to be creative in your video messaging and production, regardless of the emotion you’re trying to evoke or the story you’re telling. Look for ways to shake it up, such as adding animations or graphics, including a complementary music element, or building up to a little “twist” at the end for a fresh take.

Create Some Mystery

Whether it’s a video commercial ad or a feature film, few things keep an audience glued to a screen like an element of mystery. They become invested in the story and how it will unfold, which you can use to your advantage.

Don’t give everything away in the first frame. Tease the story a little bit, hinting at your product with angles, color changes, or audio effects that build anticipation and get the audience waiting for the “big reveal.”

Elevate Your Video Marketing with Emotional Storytelling

Storytelling transcends time and culture. While stories have moved from campfire tales to short videos on a social media feed, leveraging the emotional aspects of storytelling with video can inspire action in your audience and build brand loyalty.

About the Author

Torrey Tayenaka is the co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse, an Orange County based commercial video production company. He is often asked to contribute expertise in publications like Entrepreneur, Single Grain and Forbes. Sparkhouse is known for transforming video marketing and advertising into real conversations. Rather than hitting the consumer over the head with blatant ads, Sparkhouse creates interesting, entertaining and useful videos that enrich the lives of his clients’ customers. In addition to Sparkhouse, Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse & Forge54.