Video Storytelling: Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool
At the 2016 NAMM Show, Grant Billings of Steinway Piano Gallery of Naples and Brian Artka of Size43 provided music retailers with a different perspective on video promotion: the art of video storytelling.
What is Video Storytelling?
Hollywood and the billion-dollar movie industry have been telling stories for years by appealing to our emotions. According to Artka, there’s no reason we can’t do the same when we tell our stories. Artka and Billings defined video storytelling as crafting a short story about a person to connect emotionally with other people. The power of video is that if one picture equals a thousand words, then one minute of video equals more than a million words (a frame of video is 24 pictures per second), with the ability to evoke emotional responses.
Make It Personal
As a third-generation piano merchant, Billings shared that he was looking for a way to tell his unique story. He knew he could do a good job of selling “very big” instruments and telling his story if he could just get customers to come into his store. Thus, his video, Three Generations of Piano Matchmakers, was born.
The video tells the product story and the store’s history by reaching back three generations, as seen through the eyes of current owner and grandson Grant Billings, and told in his own words. According to Billings, the piano is still the world’s favorite instrument. Billings shared personal memories of working for his father, Greg, as a 7-year-old putting together piano benches for a quarter each, until present day, in his own store. “Music transcends all parts of our life,” said Billings, and he conveyed that as a backdrop to his video story.
Break It Down to Basics
Artka and Billings shared the fundamentals for effective video storytelling:
• The human voice conveys emotion. Billings was the narrator of his video story, and his father, Greg, also shared his thoughts.
• Movement captures and keeps people’s attention. The video was shot throughout the store, from the front to the back, and showed various activities in the life of a music retailer.
• Capture people’s hearts by first stimulating their brains. “We’re visual,” Artka said. “If I yawn, you’ll probably yawn too.”
• The brain is hard-wired to trust the human face. “If we see someone who’s passionate and excited about something, we’re going to get excited too,” Billings said.
• Humanize your business, and create a deeper relationship with your audience. Viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they see it in a video, compared to 10 percent when reading it in text. “By using moving images and sound, video storytelling can take the viewer into your world, let the viewer be a witness and emotionally move them,” Artka said. “That’s what you want to do.”
Video Storytelling Starts With a Plan
Artka volunteered that every great project starts with a plan, including video projects:
1. Define a goal. (Why are you making a video?) Start with keywords. Keywords for your business are going to be different than those for another retailer. “Keywords provide a road map,” Billings said. “It takes a little bit of time to write those words down, but it gives you direction as you move through a project like this.”
2. Find the heart of the story and your main character. “I was surprised to find out I was the main character of our story,” Billings said. “I thought the story was about my grandfather and father.” Talking about his experiences building a piano bench ended up being one of the strongest parts of the video.
3. Capture a “conversation” (the interview). “You want the real, raw response from the person you’re asking questions to and who’s telling the story, as you capture that on video,” Artka said. He suggested not having the interviewee follow a tight script or letting him or her see the questions in advance, so the conversation feels spontaneous.
4. Capture video documentary-style. Be REAL. “We want to show the imperfections—it’s human,” Artka said. Billings commented that one of the biggest advantages he has is that when people come into his store, they’re going to see the owner. His video captures the real experiences that customers have coming into the store.
Video Storytelling That Sells
Stories that evoke emotions are more effective at convincing an audience to take action. “People connect with people,” Artka said. “A face-to-face conversation is the end game for anybody selling anything.”
According to Artka, what it comes down to is that facts tell and stories sell. Billings shared that one thing he learned from coming to The NAMM Show is that everyone has an amazing, unique story. (“It’s yours,” Billings said. “You own it.”) People instinctually respond to video storytelling and retain the message and information.
Billings shared that some of his loyal customers reacted to the video with tears, and new customers who visited his website before coming in seemed more relaxed and familiar with the store.
“This is the difference between having a sign outside your store that says you exist and having a business card that you hand to someone you meet when you’ve made that personal connection,” Billings said.