Video, pictures or VR: The best options for brand storytelling

(c)iStock.com/Eva Katalin Kondoros

When was the last time you clicked through a Facebook ad? For most of us, it’s actually quite tricky question to answer despite using the social media service on a daily basis.

The fact is even targeted audience technologies that are deemed sophisticated within the industry are still viewed by consumers as an annoyance and a barrier to their desired content.

According to LinkedIn, 4.6 billion pieces of content are produced every day and in many cases these simply become lost in increasingly crowded search, social and mobile channels.

Sensing a changing landscape, many savvy brand marketers have made investments in visual content creation and storytelling to build their narrative and start discussions.

Dynamic, visually entertaining content, which is authentic and shouts purpose is the only way to convince customers to actually invest time in brand messages. Suddenly there’s an art to effective marketing once more, and the industry must keep up.

Will a video say more words than a picture?

You could argue that successful branding now makes a bigger impression than successful marketing, and CMOs are starting to realise that. This has shifted marketers focus and it is widely apparent that customised brand experiences have to be delivered consistently across all channels. When this is done properly it works exceptionally well and video is at the forefront of this.

An excellent example of this is Dove’s Change One Thing campaign for their global self-esteem project. Long-form video did not suit their brand strategy and they knew that customers are not willing to commit to any more than 90 seconds when watching video content.

When investing in visual storytelling of any type, brand marketers need to ask: why are we doing this? 

Dove were trying to reach a well-connected, mobile audience therefore they invested in a shorter but equally as thought provoking video.

Instead of promoting products that can make consumers beautiful, they promoted a feel-good message that delves into the emotional issue of self-esteem in young girls.

By telling a story about girls not needing to change anything about their appearance, as the brand showcases its core values in a far more three dimensional way than an image on Instagram or Facebook.

How about infographics?

Video isn’t always right for a brand. A B2B marketer is not going to look to spend lots on content that doesn’t suit the brand and will not reach their audience.

An amazing alternative to video, are infographics. Surprising maybe, but according to a recent CME Council white paper, From Creativity to Content, 57% of marketers surveyed said infographics are critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies, followed by illustrations (54%), video (52%) and photography (47%).

Our brains don’t always recall facts and figures. Hubspot reported that people only remember 10% of information communicated to them after three days.

However, when paired with visuals, recollection increased to 65%. Infographics are a medium that continues to consistently perform. They are visually appealing, authentic, easily sharable and content-rich and readers feel like they have received something of value, which they will attribute to the brand.

The virtual reality uprising

VR may seem like an expensive, intimidating technology for marketers to throw themselves into, however when sensibly invested and properly done, it cannot be beaten.

This approach to visual storytelling has been picked up by a number of brands already, and they have created exceptional experiences, such as:

  • Volvo’s XC90 virtual test drive puts you in the driver’s seat and takes you on a literal journey
  • The Northface’s VR experience, which takes viewers on an excursion through California’s Yosemite National Park and Utah’s Moab desert
  • Patron’s ‘The art of Patron’, which translates the complex process of distilling tequila into an amazing, immersive experience

Every marketer needs to be following VR’s journey to ensure they don’t miss the boat, but whilst these new and exciting campaigns are creatively brilliant, with so much still to prove around measurement and return on investment, mass adoption of VR is still some way off.

When investing in visual storytelling of any type, brand marketers need to ask: why are we doing this? Does this truly match our brand? Who do we want to reach? Can we measure its success?

Creativity and the courage to be innovative are the key to engaging consumers, but you have to treat it with caution. If it’s done wrong, there is no art to the storytelling.

You do not want the content to be lost among 4.6 billion other pieces, so ensure it is authentic, consistent across channels and meets the fundamental objectives of the campaign.

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Emfell
5 Sep 2016, 8:59 a.m.

Excellent article Chris. Thanks so much for sharing. Going to check out those VR experiences in a bit more detail.

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