3 Elements of a Story You Need in Your Explainer Video

By Jeff Pelletier December 13, 2016 Strategy
Jeff Pelletier

Jeff Pelletier

Jeff is the co-founder and CEO of Basetwo Media, a video production agency in Vancouver that helps businesses get results with video.

3 Elements of a Story You Need in Your Explainer Video

Recent studies have shown that 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text, and 75% of them report watching work-related videos on business websites at least once a week. It's no surprise then that 96% of B2B organizations use video in their marketing, with 73% reporting positive results to their ROI.

The result is that more video content is uploaded in 30 days than all 3 major US TV networks combined have created in the past 30 years, and the increasingly crowded digital landscape continues to place a higher demand on the attention of our prospects. 

Explainer videos are an excellent way to demonstrate the value of your product or service in a clear and engaging way, but the power of video really lies in its ability to tell a story. Storytelling can help you to cut through all of the noise, and most importantly it can help you to make a human connection with your prospects.

A story is not just the history of your company though or how your product or service was developed, but why you're doing what your doing. Explaining that in a way that will resonate with your audience to help them make sense of the purchasing decision they might be about to make is the key.

Here are 3 elements of a story you need in your explainer video.

1. Characters

Characters are what help establish the connection between you and your audience. When it comes to an explainer video, the goal should be to present a character that your ideal buyer can relate to, and to make them the hero of the story.

In inbound marketing, many of us will segment our audience into what are called buyer personas (also known as customer avatars). According to Hubspot, these are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers.

Only once you have a clear picture of your ideal buyer and their goals can you establish a character for your story that will represent them and the challenges they might face. When making your audience your character, it tends to work best to tell your story in the second-person point of view, using language like "you" instead of "they" or "I".

Watch the video below for a demonstration of how a character can be used in an animated explainer video.

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2. Conflict

Without a conflict, you have no story. What you might have is a statement or a pitch, but it likely won't resonate with your audience in the same way.

The conflict will be the lesson you're trying to teach your audience by showing how your character transforms through the challenge they face, and it's how you'll create an emotional connection between your audience and your chracter. This should relate to your viewer's own needs and problems, as well as which stage your prospective buyer is at in the Buyer's Journey.

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Most explainer videos will be focused on the Consideration Stage of the Buyer's Journey. Prospects will likely be watching the video on your home page or other landing page on your website, and your goal might be to convert them from visitors to leads for your sales team to follow-up with.

Further Reading: Creating Better Videos by Targeting Stages of the Customer Lifecycle

3. Resolution

The resolution is where your story gets 'wrapped up', but in the case of an explainer video should also very clearly call your audience to take a specific action - the purpose behind the story.

An effective explainer video isn't just about your company or its products and services, but puts your prospective customers at the centre of the story. While the tactics and technologies may continue to evolve, storytelling is something that is here to stay.

Speaking of wrapping things up with a call-to-action, download your free copy of our Explainer Video ebook to learn more about what goes into a successful explainer video.

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