Visual Storytelling: Style versus Substance

Photo: Knight Digital Media Center 2011
Photo: Knight Digital Media Center 2011

We’ve all seen them… action-packed, special effects-driven movies with empty characters and a vague plot line.  These “blockbusters” always leave you wanting more (and not in a good way).   And as I see use of video marketing exploding among businesses, I can’t help but worry that brands will fall into the same trap.

According to a 1to1 Media post, videos are 50 times more likely to appear on Google’s first page results than non-video pages, presenting marketers with an immediate SEO advantage.  Viewers stay on sites with video five times longer than text-only sites and 80 percent of business execs watch more online content now than they did last year.

So how do companies capitalize on an effective visual storytelling plan without blowing their whole budget on one expensive, effects-driven production?

The right video crew understands the balance between style and substance.  They focus on telling a meaningful story and use animations and effects to enhance the original message.

Take Next Step Living for example: This video utilizes one of the hottest video marketing tactics right now (whiteboard video) while clearly conveying the company’s mission and commitment to making New England homes more energy efficient.

On the flip side, Geemmodity’s videos look great, but without any well-written copy to support the visuals, the “how to” productions fail to explain the product and ultimately end up confusing the viewer.

Flashy videos might be a creative way to grab a prospect’s attention, but without a substantial story to tell, even the prettiest productions will flop.

Christine Williamson is a senior consultant at Greenough. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineDBW