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The Six Superpowers of Video Storytelling

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Today's consumers, facing more choices than ever, challenge marketers to sell them more than just a product or service. Marketers now must sell a lifestyle.

Now, the association with a brand is often the most important selling proposition.

To capture these decision makers, marketers need to create a cohesive and compelling brand experience, one that captures loyalty through storytelling. And in regards to storytelling, video has rapidly grown to become one of the most valuable and important elements of an effective marketing mix.

The power of video is its ability to tell a story in a way no other type of content can. This medium can communicate brand promises, capture an identity, and show personality. Video can humanize a brand and establish a connection with the viewer. Authentic delivery and situations convey credibility and legitimacy.

But beyond being a highly shareable bit of content, video can be one of—if not the—most critical and powerful ways to own a brand story. The key is to show your story in a way that matters to your audience because you're showing what you care about.

The brand Vans brilliantly showed its brand tenets with its "Since 66" video. The short film conveyed who the brand was and spurred emotion in an authentically creative way that photography or text couldn't have done.

SINCE 66 from Vans OffTheWall.TV on Vimeo.

Like the "Since 66" video, good visual storytelling embodies the brand. Visual concepts are emotional and logical. They're informative and compelling. They have a purpose and make a statement.

So if we understand the power of video, what is the role of this medium in brand storytelling? How do you develop an effective video? How can video enhance your marketing mix?

If done right, video can help to:

1. Establish your authority

Showing your industry expertise can build deeper trust in your authority. Visual testimonials can show your professional successes and what elevates you above the crowd. If you engage your audience through sensory elements, it abbreviates the establishment of trust (read: gets you to your end goal faster).

2. Build credibility among your audience

It's one thing to tell your audience about your brand values, it's another to show them.

Authentic messages delivered in a provocative way helps to establish brand credibility. We know audiences are more likely to believe something they see rather than something they're told.

3. Humanize your brand

Consumers don't buy stuff; they buy a lifestyle and relationship associated with brand. The car they drive, the coffee they drink, and the shoes they wear are extensions of their own personal story, and they shape their own personal brand. Conversions can often be a result of brands being authentic and presenting a relatable perspective.

4. Simplify a complex subject

For brands such as manufacturing process or technical application, some concepts and ideas can be difficult for an audience to understand. Using visual storytelling with accompanying narrative can help to breakdown a concept's complexity.

Visual storytelling can also be used to tell your audience something they didn't know or to help them see something differently.

5. Drive action

Visual stimulation is a great tool to motivate action among viewers. Whether for driving subscriptions or increasing social media reach, visual storytelling helps your audience navigate your brand touchpoints. Let video complement your marketing mix to engage two-way conversations.

6. Provides value for the viewer

Video isn't just about what it does for the brand, really good video also provides mutual benefit for the viewer. Brands can provide added value and enhance a consumers experience through video.

Portland-based coffee roaster Stumptown produced a brand video that artfully captured each of those elements. The video aims to show a revolution of the artisanal coffee movement by showcasing a relatable, human-driven, and rebellious brand. But brand video doesn't have to be long, documentary-style productions.

STUMPTOWN from Stumptown Coffee Roasters on Vimeo.

Video doesn't just spur a lift in brand awareness and shift perceptions; marketers see increases in message acceptance and retention through video. In fact, an Unruly report found enjoyment of a brand video increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.

* * *

No matter what your video program goals are, know that storytelling is crafted over time. And everything is better with a plan.

Spend time curating focused messaging and visuals that will provide the audience with a desired experience. Use various iterations posted to different platforms that create video touchpoints. An effective campaign is thoughtful and varied in its delivery.

Developing compelling video doesn't mean you need to change your story; it's a tool to tell your story better.

To help you create video that tells a brand story, builds credibility, and delivers key messages to connect with viewers, JPL has developed A Content Marketer's Guide for Video eBook series.

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Mary Pedersen is creative director at JPL, a full-service, integrated, marketing agency based in Pennsylvania.

LinkedIn: Mary Pedersen 

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  • by Sat Oct 31, 2015 via web

    There are not six superpowers of video storytelling but seven. No.7 is choose the right, experienced partner who supports you to translate your message into a video ;-)

  • by Evin Charles Anderson - Waverley Knobs Boston Thu Jan 21, 2016 via web

    Thanks Mary - this is a great breakdown and I absolutely agree with all of these points.

    Video grabs the engagement your company needs based on the requirements dictated by your target market. What do they want to see from you, learn from you, and feel from you. Unlike a webpage of text, a video invokes the senses which heightens the emotions felt by your audience which thus creates a memorable connection. Brand Entertainment is picking up speed with companies looking to entertain and engage without doing a direct sales pitch, which so many are desensitized to in 2016 (especially within the Millennial market). We tell our clients that video production is a balance between art and science. Without one or the other, you can expect it to work but when you find that balance, the impact is HUGE.

    That is also a great point Kristian. Video production/storytelling is an investment that truly does pay off when done right. Without a professional video team involved, anything less than fantastic (fantastic being the representation of your brand) the final project can actually become a detriment rather than a benefit.

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