Elements of a Commercial Video: How to Get Attention with Storytelling

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

People love to believe that they are making decisions using complete logic, but that’s not the case. Every decision we make is highly influenced by emotion. That is the biggest reason why commercials that touch our emotions sell. Using these powerful storytelling techniques will help you create commercials that touch on the emotions of your target market, thus increasing sales.  

Essential Storytelling Techniques

Understand the elements that it takes to create a great story. Everyone has the potential to tell a great story, but most people have not tapped into this power. Let’s look at the best storytelling techniques.

When it comes to marketing, struggling to come up with an idea on how to present a product or service can be quite frustrating. But we’re going to break it down into two steps to make it easier.

 1. The Premise

You have a product or service, so it’s time to start brainstorming ways to market it. Pretend that you’re speaking with a friend and imagine how you would describe it to them. Do it in one or two sentences, writing down everything.

What you’re trying to do here is come up with a premise, which is storytelling terms is the synopsis of a story told in one or two sentences. The payoff here is that writing your premise will spark inspiration and ignite ideas.

2. Heroes and Desires

In storytelling, an audience will experience the story through characters, including a protagonist. A protagonist is the “hero” and the central focus of a story being told. In commercials, the audience is your hero – more specifically, your target demographic. Your brand should be rooting for them!

We’ve identified the hero, so now let’s look at desires. With storytelling, writers create a scenario that convinces the hero to take action. This is known as an “inciting incident.” What we have to do is create an inciting incident for our audience. A brand must inspire its hero to take action. Not only that, but the brand must show the audience that your product can help them achieve their goal. 

Four Storytelling Techniques that are used in Commercials

Point of View: This is used to describe who is telling the story. Is the story being told in first-person, or is it being narrated by the storyteller? A commercial will usually follow only one POV through the entire segment.

Flashback: Flashbacks reveal something in the past about a character that the audience doesn’t know. They are sometimes used in commercials to communicate important information in a short amount of time.

Foreshadowing: This technique puts clues into the story that gives the audience a hint at what’s to come.

Tone: Tone is how a story communicates its message toward particular scenarios. It’s portrayed through imagery and word choice.

Planning a Story for Marketing

Now that we have some of the basic storytelling techniques out of the way, we can move onto more specific information on marketing. 

Step 1: Establish a Goal

All storytelling begins by establishing the goals. Start by taking a closer look at the product or service that you are promoting. How is it used? Brainstorm scenarios where customers might use the product and write them down.

Now define the customer who is using that product or service. Use any data that you have to discover this demographic. It’s important that you are addressing your target market directly.

Are there any emotions associated with using the product? Maybe it adds security to their life? Maybe it’s a service that can make their lives easier? Whatever the case, you must capture these emotions into the story.

Finally, you must define how your product helps the audience achieve their goal or cure their pain point.

Step 2: Understand Your Audience

Businesses have moved away from product-oriented advertisements. Instead, we’re seeing ads that are based more on lifestyles and customers. Brands are just a part of the story, but it’s no longer a story being told about the brand itself. So the approach is a lot different today.

Your audience will be the central focus of the commercial so you must define these three things:

  •       Define your audience.
  •       Define their needs or pain points.
  •       Determine how your brand helps them.

Bring your audience to life by creating a buyer persona. Once you fully understand your audience, it’s easier to figure out how your brand will play a part in their story.

Step 3: Define How You Want the Audience to Feel

Now that you have your buyer persona put yourself into their shoes. How do you want to make them feel? If their pain point causes them to feel insecure, then your message should make them feel secure.

This allows you to create your core message. Think about those “Don’t Text and Drive” commercials. They all hit hard on an emotional level. Their goal is to express sadness so that you understand the emotion without having to experience the real-life situation. The core message that resonates is “if you text and drive, this can happen to you.”

Step 4: Hook the Audience

Use the following techniques to hook the audience:

  •       Surprise them.
  •       Keep them guessing.
  •       Tell an intriguing story.
  •       Involve the audience.
  •       Engage as many of their senses as possible.

The idea is to hook the audience and then keep them reeling the entire time.

Expert Storytelling Characteristics 

  •       A story must engage the audience on an emotional level. Remember, people make decisions based on emotion.
  •       The audience must also be hooked immediately and then engaged the entire time.
  •       Great stories are never forgotten.
  •       The best stories are easy to retell. This is especially important for marketing.
  •       All stories must have a beginning, middle, and end. The end of a commercial is usually a call to action of some kind.
  •       The suspense will keep the audience engaged the entire time.
  •       The product or service must play a pivotal role in the story. It’s usually what saves the hero.

That’s a Wrap!

The fact is that customers trust commercials far more than blocks of text, mainly because commercials are much more in-depth.

Follow these powerful storytelling techniques to create amazing commercials. If you need help or would like to save valuable time, then Video Caddy Company is happy to help!

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About the Author

Helen Clark
Helen Clark
Helen Clark is a professional content developer at Video Caddy. She works closely with creative and videography professionals and has in-depth knowledge of video, animation, storyboard topics.

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