Breaking Down Storytelling Structure in Brand Video. Quest Every compelling story has a central goal and, typically determined by the protagonist, it must be relatable, believable or intriguing (or all three). Quests for tangible end goals in brand film need to be compelling and prompt an emotional connection through an empathetic response to the protagonist. Is your goal clear and compelling enough that your audience will become emotionally involved? Itís why the first half of the film establishes the emotional importance that scarf has to the protagonist. The Climax As your protagonist moves closer towards their goal, your narrative should escalate, play on tensions introduced by your antagonist, and create action as the conflict is overcome. In brand marketing, emotional resolution is as much about subtext and careful inclusion of the brand and itís values as it is about narrative arc. You must not only establish empathy with your protagonist and their quest, but you must also associate this in some way with your brand. Three things to consider: What is your emotional resolution? Your Role As well as telling the story, you must consider how your brand fits in with the message you are conveying.
What do you think about this?
According to a survey conducted by Headstream, almost 79% of adults think that brands telling stories is a positive thing, but only 64% believe that brands are doing it well. The survey also found that a great story will influence 15% of an audience to make a purchase immediately and 55% to make a purchase eventually.
As well as capturing attention and driving social shares, there is now a huge body of evidence that suggests that when brands tell stories it can have a huge impact in influencing the way people come to regard them. Research from Brainjuicer has also suggested that brand films that connect emotionally can also influence the purchasing decisions of your customer base.
Telling stories that promote your company, service offering or product is a subtle art thought. Itís all too easy to burst the bubble and bring the viewer crashing back to reality if they think theyíre being sold something. Whatís needed is to approach your brand film as you would approach any traditional story and that means understanding how narrative is structured.
In this short guide for Serious Startups I want to break down this narrative structure and look at how businesses can learn from the ancient art of telling stories.
Every compelling story has a central goal and, typically determined by the protagonist, it must be relatable, believable or intriguing (or all three). A quest is preceded by a status quo and is therefore a driving force to return to the status quo or create a new status quo.
Quests for tangible end goals in brand film need to be compelling and prompt an emotional connection through an empathetic response to the protagonist. Your quest could be something as tangible as blowing up the Death Star in Star Wars or killing the shark in Jaws.
In this typically honest piece of content marketing from Dove (see above), even though the story is told through interview clips with the women and experimenters, it is made clear from the outset that the quest is to make the women involved feel more confident with their appearance. As with so much of Doveís marketing, the brand plays second fiddle to the wider social message.
Four things to consider:
- What does your protagonist want to achieve and why?
- Is your goal clear and compelling enough that your audience will become emotionally involved?
- Is your protagonist being proactive in their quest or are events seemingly out of their control?
Incorporating an element of conflict or suspense will help to ensure your protagonistís quest is not progressing too smoothly, and will keep your audience intrigued and interested.
Itís rare in brand marketing that you will create a conflict as extreme and diametrically opposed as Harry Potterís stand-off with Voldemort. Conflict can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, such as the series of the short comedic vignettes that prevent Scrat from every getting his acorn in the Ice Age films.
A popular brand film equivalent to this could be the adorable Buster the Boxer ad (see above) from master storytellers…