Make it stick: video storytelling for insight impact

For many marketers and insights professionals, delivering findings that provide an immediate impact to the C-Suite can be an elusive goal. The time-strapped audience often speeds through the material and the message can get lost. In this environment, storytelling has never been more important.

Stories, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article, “create ‘sticky’ memories by attaching emotions to things that happen”. Relating this to insights, even though we are reporting data we still need to engage the emotions of our audience. We need to humanize the numbers or the themes to enable the findings to connect, resonate, and in turn, become memorable.

How do we do this? Through small data. While big data can feel unapproachable and abstract, small data tells the human story about how people live, the products they use, the way they use them and so on. Small data helps convey the point and create a sticky memory. There are many ways to create these sticky memories, but none are as powerful as video. Seeing faces, hearing voices and understanding emotions generates a different level of connection and empathy.

But simply inserting a video into your presentation is not enough. It needs to be done thoughtfully and with purpose. Here are some things to consider:

    1. What is the overall story structure? It can be a simple three-act structure (beginning, middle, and end) or a less linear path, such as the Hero’s Journey or Nancy Duarte’s ‘what is, what could be’. Whichever approach you take, beginning with a structural base is essential.
    2. Where does the video sit within the overarching story? Consider at what point(s) it will appear, and how that will create maximum emotional engagement and impact.
    3. How will the video be included? Will you use multiple short clips or one long one? This will, of course, depend on your overall structure and use of video within that. Beyond this, you need to balance length and attention. Too much can become a blur. Too fleeting a glimpse can be irritatingly short.
    4. Is the video (intended to be) shareable? Is it only being used as part of the presentation or will it be shared afterward? Either way, it is essential to have the relevant respondent consents for how it will be used. If being shared, make sure that the clip is contextualized and stands alone without the need for explanation.

Video is a fast, humanizing way to get around time pressures when creating presentations for different audiences. This particularly applies to C-Suites or marketing teams who will never have the time you might like to explore your findings. When the video delivers the right combination of engagement, imagination, and emotion, the insights will be communicated in a way that is authentic, empathetic, and sticky.

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