How to Add Storytelling to your Business Videos

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By Greg Ball, President of Ball Media Innovations

In a prior post called “Use Storytelling to Add Impact to Business Videos“, I talked about how storytelling adds impact to business videos. It’s a critically important element, because it helps engage viewers in ways that nothing else can. If you’re not sure how to incorporate storytelling in your videos, no worries! I’m about to tell you.

We’re all familiar with storytelling, because we start experiencing it at a very young age. How many times have you gone to bed with milk and a story? “Once upon a time,” is the universal lead-in to countless stories our parents read to us as children. The line is universal, and now it’s time to put it to good use with business videos.

How to Build a Great Story within your business’s videos

Everyone is familiar with Pixar, the animation company that brought us films like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Up, Coco and so many others. The films were so popular; many became franchises for the company, with sequel after sequel.

I’m bringing up Pixar because they provide an excellent example of the structure of storytelling. Sure, you can start your story with, “Once upon a time,” but the key is what happens next and throughout your video.

That’s where structure comes into play. If you think about the stories you really enjoy, each elicits a response that makes you feel a specific way. Your goal with business videos is to identify the feeling you want to share, and make sure your video gives the viewers the same feeling.

Use true emotions in your business storytelling videoStart with identifying the passion you want to build your story around, the one key element that you want everyone to know about you, your product or service, or your company. If at all possible, try to incorporate the key emotional triggers that most psychologists believe that we all respond to. These may include trust, comfort, fear, sadness, happiness, competitiveness and surprise.

For example, while fear may be perceived as a negative, it is in fact one of the main drivers of our actions. Think of the “fear of missing out,” which is often used to motivate people to action.

If you’re using emotions such as fear, sadness or anything else that might be perceived as negative, you’ll want to show how your business came out on top or how it helps its customers to overcome. Your story should include victory of some kind. For example, it might show how your founders overcame all odds to start the business. Or it might show how your business, product or service solves problems for your customers.

Identify why your story makes you feel the way it does, and use that emotion as the foundation of your story. It’ll provide a more honest and genuine story to tell, which will engage your viewers at an emotional level.

6 Elements You Could Include in Your Videos to Enhance the Effectiveness of Your Storytelling

1. Use an Underdog in Your Business’s Video Story.

Everyone loves an underdog. So if you had to overcome obstacles or adversity in order to achieve success, share that and make it part of your story. The same is true if you’ve helped your customers do the same. Just be sure to keep things simple.

2. Provide Surprises if Possible.

Twists and turns are what keeps viewers engaged, so the more surprises and unexpected elements you can add to your story, the better. Introduce something the viewer never saw coming as you tell your story. It might take a while to come up with it, but the impact can be huge. At the end of the day though, if there really isn’t a surprise that fits in with your story, let it go. We’re looking to be genuine as your viewers will be able to sense when something isn’t true.

3. Clarity, Structure and Purpose are Important

When writing the script for your video, eliminate all extraneous elements. Give your story structure: how it started, what happened next, and how you achieved your goals, because that’s where you will have an impact on the viewer. Stick to your video’s purpose and keep the story clear and simple.

Storytelling videos start with a good introduction

4. Focus on the Introduction. It Must Grab the Viewer.

If possible, don’t be predictable. The introduction is your opportunity to capture the viewers’ attention, get them engaged and deliver your message, so be sure to spend time developing the first 30 seconds as you introduce your story.

5. Have an Ending, and Include a Call to Action.

Always have an ending to your story. The video can include important information and should always include a call to action, even if just to see the next video or to visit your website. The ending should always leave viewers satisfied.

6. Keep Your Video Short

In the art of storytelling, less is better. Remember that your video isn’t a sales pitch; it’s a story you want to tell. Corporate or business videos don’t have a “one size fits all” length, but many experts agree that under 3 minutes keeps viewers engaged.

More to the Story

I’ve discussed the “how” of building your storytelling video, but there is, as they say, more to the story. A storytelling video is so much more than how you became successful or why your product or service is better than anyone else’s. They offer opportunities you simply won’t have with any other approach.

Storytelling videos have become content marketing vehicles for many companies. They’re using their videos to generate leads while enhancing online engagement with customers. One company using this tactic is Burt’s Bees. They’re using video content to put a face on the product and the company. Here’s a sample of one of their videos, showing what a character Burt of Burt’s Bees is, in just over 3 minutes.


The key is to keep it authentic, using real people when possible. According to an article in Forbes, 91 percent of consumers are likely to reward brands for authenticity.

These videos can be used to promote social issues, as well as build brand engagement and loyalty with customers and prospects alike. As a visual medium, you can use your video to show your product in action, or your service in use – nailing both with one video.

There’s a lot to incorporating storytelling in a corporate video, but the good news is that help is available. If you’d like to learn more about we can help you use storytelling to make your corporate videos more impactful, give us a call. We’re happy to provide you with a cost estimate. There’s no obligation, of course!

Contact us to get started.

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About Author

Greg Ball is the President and owner of Ball Media Innovations. Before starting this company in 2002, he ran the Burger King World Headquarters video operation for many years. Greg has produced videos for major corporations and small businesses on a local and global basis.