Everyone loves a great story.
A corporate video can have a great story, too. But let’s face it. Many corporate videos fail at telling an engaging story. Why is that?
Usually, it’s because the interviews fail to deliver an interesting story. An interesting story not only shares passion and dreams but conflicts and challenges.
Life is not perfect and neither is a company. A corporate video story should reflect some of the realities we all face in life. That means leaving behind the “perfect world” and entering the “real world.” Think about it: isn’t a story interesting because of the tension, conflict, or challenge of a situation? An interesting company video story is no different.
Employees = Organic Storytellers
I believe branding begins internally. I also believe branding is a story.
If we agree these two ideas are true, then employees become organic brand storytellers.
I realized this after interviewing and listening to hundreds of people from every type of organization sharing their points of view on-camera. Employee stories are not “corporate.” Yet, as employees, I listen and become quietly engaged in the corporate story through the personal story. Employees are indeed “storytellers.” It makes sense, then, to tap into your organic storytellers, feature them in your videos and let them become evangelists in telling your brand story.
But wait a minute. Won’t these employee interviews be boring? I mean, how engaging can employee interviews really be? Isn’t this just an invitation for viewers to tune out, even click out, of the video?
Well, the answer is yes, it is possible. But, of course, the opposite is also true.
Compelling interviews takes your viewers on a journey and in the end, the story inspires action; for your viewers and your company.
Interviews from storytellers create empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Since interviews are the DNA and backbone for many videos from companies, we need to make sure three things happen when incorporating interviews in the video:
1) Discover and film your best storytellers on-camera who;
2) Share interesting stories and personal points of view that;
3) Connect with your viewers.
5 simple steps to successfully tell your corporate video story
Here’s a few common questions you might have at this point:
- How do I discover my storytellers?
- What kinds of questions do I ask to capture interesting stories?
- Where are the “dragons” or the conflicts and challenges in my story?
- Is there a “cheat sheet” of interviewing tips I can use?
- How do I capture empathy in an interview?
These simple yet effective tips are easy and practical to use. You can start trying them right away in your next project.
#1. How do you discover your storytellers?
Once your message or story has been determined, discovering your heroes is next. Use your ears and listen closely to see who enjoys sharing their passion. People who are passionate and determined are fun to talk to and make for a great conversation.
#2. Are you asking stimulating questions?
Boring questions = boring answers. It’s that simple. If you’re not sure what to ask during the conversation or feel stuck in your approach, try incorporating these 11 questions to jump-start your interview. I’ve used them for many years and have discovered they work well.
#3. Is there a dragon in your story?
Not those types of dragons! The dragons that challenge the status quo; problems and issues that your storyteller overcame. Putting a dragon in your interview is often the one ingredient missing in videos. It’s easy to just talk about a product or service. Adding the back-story or a dragon creates a sense of curiosity which is exactly what your viewer needs to stay interested.
#4. Need a “cheat sheet” for video story interviewing?
If you’ve never interviewed someone before or just looking for new ways to improve your current interviewing techniques, My 22 Best On-camera Interviewing Tips Ever should definitely be of help. It’s become the most popular post I’ve written with lots of interesting comments. Feel free to add your thoughts while there.
#5. “What happens to my story after we talk?”
Telling your interviewee ahead of time that their story is safe with you gives that person a level of reassurance; a feeling of comfort. Depending on the film crew size, the interview set can be a bit intimidating to the storyteller. You are the “story steward.” A person’s story is in your hands. It’s an awesome responsibility. Let your interviewee know that.
Remember: your audience needs to naturally find themselves in the story. After all, if your viewer can’t see themselves in your story, they’re history.
So, there you have it. A few ideas to implement on your next video project. Feel free to use whatever works for you and ditch the rest.
Me? You can find me exploring new ways of putting humanity back into an organization’s story. After all, we’re people; not companies.
So- how about you? How has your company used narrative stories? Would you add or change anything?
P.S. Don’t miss these interview and story tips from Ira Glass; they are simply wonderful.
Veteran corporate filmmaker Thomas Clifford helps Fortune 100's to nonprofits who are stuck, frustrated, losing employees or market share because they can't breathe life into their brand story. He believes remarkable organizations deserve remarkable films. Tom is an Expert Blogger for Fast Company. His column is “Let’s See That Again!”