Video is a powerful communications tool with enormous potential for corporate storytelling IF you think about it as a story and not content.
That's right, you can’t use the word content and story in the same sentence. Content sounds dispassionate and clinical. Content is marketing collateral and one-way messaging. Content isn’t conversational. People don't sit around and talk about content on Facebook or when they're watching or sharing YouTube videos.
But people do watch stories and they listen to them. They relate to them and share them and perhaps even make them a part of their own life stories. Stories are one of the earliest forms of mash-ups. It's the way humans communicate.
You don’t even need fancy video gear to tell a good story. One of the cool little handhelds like the Flip or Sony cameras will more than suffice. But what you do need is a reason for the video story in the first place.
So what are some legitimate ways you can incorporate video into your PR and marketing efforts?
Let's assume you've already got your CEO and other execs as talking heads on a YouTube video or on your website. What are a few other easy possibilities for engaging your audiences?
For starters, you can give your product to a customer and have them document how they're using it in a video story. Ford, in this example, gave one of their cars to a couple who are blogging about their Wedding Road Trip. Problem is there is no accompanying video of them riding around in their new shiny Ford Fusion. Missed opportunity which hopefully will soon be rectified.
What's great about this kind of a story is that it's different than the typical customer testimonial. In this story the Ford Focus is an element in someone else's story. So even though Ford gave the car to the couple for obvious reasons it still becomes part of a fun adventure.
Here's a great example of a short video interview with a group of teens talking about the future of TV which is making the rounds on YouTube as well as several blogs.
The idea here is simple: you can easily extrapolate a similar secnario by having someone or a group of someones talk about something of interest to your customers. It could be a trend or a common business problem. It can be cross-generational, cross-industry, crossing B with C marketing. Maybe it involves your product or service and then, again, maybe it doesn't. But it does involve your brand because you've created the opportunity to share this story of interest.
There are many different ways to create stories but the key behind the successful ones is they engage because they are relevant and interesting and feel authentic. It's not that difficult. Companies can tell authentic stories. The trick is in how you create, package and tell them.
I specifically singled out these two previous examples to show that story ideas are all around you. You don't need to look at what other companies are doing. Just start thinking what stories you can tell instead of thinking content. Real stories told by real people. And video is the perfect medium to deliver that experience.
There will be more about telling stories relevant in future posts. In the meantime, please let me know what areas you're most interested in exploring.