Video storytelling is a powerful weapon that will add flare to any presentation.

In the content-driven world we live in today, selling your idea means selling a story. Presenting your findings as an endless powerpoint of statistics may have its time and place. But it is the emotional connection between the facts and reality that should be forming the backbone of your message; the statistics will merely reinforce it. Storytelling naturally binds the facts and the feelings together, allowing the crux of your message to nestle firmly into the memory of your recipients.

A professor at Stanford University asked her students to give a 1-minute pitch as part of their Marketing course. Only one in ten used a story in their pitch, while the rest focused on facts and figures. When recalling the pitches that had been presented throughout the lesson, a whopping 63% of the class remembered the stories that had been told and only 5% remembered the pitches containing only statistics.

Perhaps consumers’ effortless narrative retention is the driving force behind the increased use of storytelling throughout marketing campaigns today, especially in social media and online video research.

The 'Puppyhood' campaign by Purina is a heartwarming tale of a man and his new found love for puppy Chloe. The series of videos follows him getting to grips with puppy care, meeting women and babysitting for the first time. It's totally charming and has garnered millions and millions of views. The 'Puppyhood' story has effortlessly planted Purina Puppy Chow into the minds (and memories) of millions of people. 

Research stories are not based in fiction but in truth. Their purpose is to communicate your findings while engaging your audience and ensuring your message is understood and passed on. Here at Plotto, we've been thinking about what it is that makes stories so compelling and how you can best use storytelling to improve your video research insight presentations.

1) Emotions

Facts and figures are imperative to your insight presentation. But securing an emotional connection is more likely to get you that buy-in—People relate to emotive cues far more than pure facts. This is especially true when you're trying to challenge the long-standing assumptions or beliefs of your recipients. Using video to tell a story is a powerful tool to build that emotional bridge between your facts and your message.

Marketers have been using this tactic for years now and the format is gaining momentum. Dove Men+Care launched an advertising campaign to sell soap for father’s day. It is the epitome of emotive advertising, tying together the facts (every man has a face; that face needs to be washed) with a heart-felt pull.

HOW TO USE VIDEO: The unarguable pull of emotions is clear to see in the video above. The advertisers have taken an inanimate, rather dull, everyday object like soap and given it a warm, affectionate coating. Dove+Care has even linked itself to an annual international event—Father's' Day. But Dove wouldn't have been able to convey this deep emotional connection without the use of video within their campaign. With video, you see the whole story. It is communicated in the words of the characters and all the subtleties of human nature are exposed, in every smile, every hesitation and every tear.

2) Narrative structure

The narrative structure of stories is a mechanism we identify with hugely. Everything we have ever known, and will ever know, has a beginning, middle and end. This structure is comforting to us and is a feeling we become more aware of, for example, when a movie ends abruptly, robbing us of our anticipated ending.

Traditional storytelling also usually involves characters and a plotline. Historically, tales were used to teach lessons or share knowledge. Their narrative structure helped secure the lesson in listeners' minds. And marketers have recognised that phrases with narrative aid their advertising campagnes, solidifying their message into consumers minds.

Similarly, when recipients of your insight presentation are faced with neutral words, phrases lacking narrative, and too many statistics, their brains simply process and forget the information. When the same facts are coupled with emotive words and used as part of a narrative, it stimulates their minds, leading them to (apparently) draw their own conclusions and empathise with your message on a much deeper level.

Narrative structure can be broken down into five bullet points as detailed in this short video by Bird’s Kid:

HOW TO USE VIDEO: Structure your insight presentation with a beginning, middle and end. You can use short video survey clips to emphasise characterisation, pace, tension and dramatisation to really drive home the emotional ties you're forging within your insight presentation, highlighting the message you're trying to deliver.

3) Impact

Yana Buhrer Tavanier is one of countless speakers at the globally renowned TED talks who uses visual storytelling to enhance her presentation, adding impact with emotional context and a narrative structure to drive her points home. Credit for the photo:

Yana Buhrer Tavanier is one of countless speakers at the globally renowned TED talks who uses visual storytelling to enhance her presentation, adding impact with emotional context and a narrative structure to drive her points home. Credit for the photo:

Video storytelling is one of the top tools you can use to add impact to almost anything right now. Social media campaigns, public lectures (like TED talks), advertising and video research are all getting on board. By using video storytelling in your insight presentation, your message will pack more of a punch and leave a lasting impact on your recipients.

Your message can often get lost under a sea of words, bullet points and infographics. By switching between media (i.e. from text to video, to infographics to photos) your audience will remain attentive and interested.

HOW TO USE VIDEO: Try using vox pop video footage to illustrate key points from your video research findings. You could use still shots from video testimonials for illustrations and pen portraits, or even send a clip through as a teaser before you give your insight presentation. You can use video to provoke, inspire, clarify or emotionally link points together for added impact, as well as to visually corroborate your findings.

4) Authenticity

Of course, the biggest advantage to using video to enhance your insight presentation is the authenticity it will bring. By using videos of real people, you bring real stories and real personalities into your presentation. And after all, insight is all about real people. By using videos of real people you can highlight the stories that underpin your message. If you bring the ‘real people’ into your presentation, it’s like everyone in the room attending an ethnographic visit or a focus group.

HOW TO USE VIDEO: Video lets people tell their real stories. However the real stories are not limited to words, it is written in their facial expressions, their tone of voice and their body language. By using video clips to enhance your insight presentation, your recipients will see the whole scope of their story, they will see who the people are, what they look like and what they really feel.

5) Focus

While video can enhance your insight presentation, you must be clear on your key points for it to be effective. Don't lose sight of what your story is and why you're using it. You need to tell your story efficiently and not get lost in detail. Ask yourself: “What do I want my recipients to take away from this presentation?” And use the answers as the basis for your storyboard.

HOW TO USE VIDEO: As long as you have focus to your storyboard and you keep it simple, you can use video anywhere you want to add emotion, drive narrative, increase authenticity or add impact. The key way to use video is as a supplement to your message or idea, not as a distraction from it. So don’t overuse video storytelling to the point that your audience will get overwhelmed.

Video testimonials get you closer to the truth: At Plotto, we’ve developed a new showreel tool, making it even easier for you to tell the stories of your respondents in their own words. You can create a great looking showreel in just a few minutes and then it’s yours to download and share at any time.