Story Is Everything in Advertising

September 15, 2015

Many people come to us looking for great visuals to represent their brand. They talk about how cool they want it to look and give examples of other great-looking projects to use as a reference. The one thing that’s often overlooked though — is the story they want to tell. While everyone wants shiny 3d models or complex 2d animation, those things don’t mean anything without a great story.

Think about car dealership commercials, you see several of them every day but 10 min later you don’t remember what they’re trying to sell or for how much. They don’t care about telling a story of their product and because of that, you don’t care about their product. When they scream at you and flash numbers up on the screen they believe they’ve done their job but very few are persuaded to buy anything that way. especially with the growing distrust in ads.

On the flip side is the iPhone. In their advertisements, Apple tells the story of how their little electronic will change your life. They tell of its purpose, and how you can personally benefit from owning one. They focus on relating directly to people by solving problems that most people didn’t realize they had in the first place.

There are two conclusions we can make between these two types of ads.

  1. Cars are made to make money.
  2. iPhones are made to help people.

Which story do you care more about?

Make them feel something

Emotion is the result of a great story. When you make people feel something about your product, you help them understand your brand, you help them remember your product and most importantly, you gain their trust.

Let’s break down what makes a great story. The two primary elements that every great story has is a human element and a purpose.

1 – Human Element (Ability to relate)

People need to be able to relate to a story in order to feel an emotion. They should be able to make a correlation from your product’s story to their own life. Think about the movie “The Notebook”, most people say it makes them cry in the end. (Spoiler) Not because of the death of 2 actors on a screen, but because of the death of you, your spouse, your parents or your grandparents. They tell a story that puts you in their shoes and makes you feel the emotions of the characters as you relate the story to your own life. This works with all emotions. If you give people the ability to relate to your characters & story you have the power to make them feel something and ultimately, remember you.

2 – Purpose

What is it that you want people to do at the end of your story? Buy something? Give something? Understand something? Everything in the story needs to be a part of the purpose of working together to reveal a single idea. No great story has fluff, everything means something and is done for a reason.

Visuals after story

After developing a written story for your product, you can then use the visuals to better tell the story and give the desired feelings. All visuals must work to tell that story including lines, color, texture, composition, etc. Like great stories, the visuals should always have a reason and be supportive of the purpose.

The visuals should always have a reason and be supportive of the purpose.

So next time you start a new creative project, ask yourself, what story does our brand want to tell?

At Made By Things, we have a story-first mindset for all projects. We help tell that story with help from visuals to give viewers the ability to relate to your product and deliver a clear purpose.

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