How to Use Video Storytelling to Increase Business Sales

March 31, 2017

Everyone knows the importance of marketing. It makes all the difference in a business. Case in point: Old Spice. From an out-dated brand to an online sensation and culture phenomenon, all it took was an effective marketing campaign. The problem is – how do you ensure that your marketing is effective?


The answer is simple, tell a story through video. Video storytelling.

“What? Why a story? And why a video?”

Good questions Carol. There are many mediums that you could use and many ways to market a product or a brand, so why tell a story through video specifically?

Why Video?

Because video is powerful. It combines visuals and sound to engage the audience. Other mediums such as print or radio are either visual or auditory, giving it an edge over them. This also means that people recall more information from videos as they retain 10% of what they see compared to 30% to 40% of what they see and hear1.

They are also able to convey complex ideas and messages in an entertaining manner. As the old and cliché saying goes, ‘A picture speaks a …’, yeah you know the rest of it. So if an image has a value of a thousand words what about videos? A million? Gazillion? Like most of us I am bad at math too, so here’s a quote from a Forrester Research report: ‘A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words’. That may be overexaggerated and bear no scientific basis, but we know this much is true – a video is definitely more powerful than an image.

Provided you use it well.

Which brings us to the next question: Why stories? Why not fact selling? Or hard selling, or any other type of selling?

Why Stories Specifically?

Because stories sell. People are 118% more likely to purchase something that’s presented in a story manner over something that’s presented in a factual manner. This is known as storyselling, a marketing style that weaves storytelling into selling. Instead of putting the spotlight on cold hard facts or corporate statistics, it wraps it in a nice story that engages the audience. A great example of video storytelling is my personal favourite, Marks and Spencer’s 2016 Christmas commercial.



Isn’t it touching? The star of the video, Mrs Claus, with her story of helping a little boy resonated with audiences like me. And although it was not the main focus, the red coat that Mrs Claus wore from M&S’ clothing line was also popular. The ad’s hashtag #loveMrsClaus had more than 45,000 tweets and the ad had more than 8 million views on YouTube. Results like these help to develop relationships with your audience and improve your brand image.

Of course, this is only applicable if you tell a good story. So how do you achieve good video storytelling for your business like the one above? Here’s how:

      1. Feature interesting characters
      1. Have a Great Plot
          • By Featuring a Challenge
          • And a Solution
      2. Choose the right stories
        • Suit it to your target audience

1: Feature Interesting Characters

The characters of your story are the stars of the show. They bring the story to life and in some cases, they will capture your audience’s heart with their tiny little hands and cute little smiles. I’m talking about Dumb Ways to Die, the public service announcement video that went viral in 2012. You have seen it, heard it, sang along to it and maybe even played the game. It has captured millions of hearts across the world and people still love it to this date. Apart from winning hearts, it also served its purpose. After it went viral, there was a 21% decrease in Australia’s railroad accidents, making this an excellent example of an animated educational video done right.

There are a lot of great things going for this video – the story, music, animation style, and the characters. But can you imagine if the cute little odd-shaped characters were replaced with human animations? That wouldn’t be quite as appealing anymore, would it? Therefore your characters matter. Their appearance matter. Their actions matter. Even their backstory matters. So don’t screw it up.

2: Have a Great Plot

This comes as a duh to any one of us. Of course, we need a great plot. But how do we actually achieve it? The secret is to make it unusual. Out of the ordinary. Fresh. You get the gist. For example, Amazon’s advertisement about a Christian vicar and a Muslim imam.



In this political climate, a story about the friendship between these two unlikely people piques the interest of people. Not all may love it as I did, and not all may hate it as some did. But a lot of people were talking about it. And that’s how you write a great plot. Another plus point – it also featured their service aptly, demonstrating good storyselling. So think of something that’s never been done before, an idea so outlandish it might actually work. However going too outlandish won’t work if you don’t follow the next few guidelines.


3: Challenge

Every story needs a challenge or a conflict to make it engaging and interesting. Of course, there’s the ‘slice of life’ genre where there’s no challenge. It may be a peaceful watch for your audience, but it doesn’t engage them or take them on an emotional rollercoaster – elements that make good video storytelling. Take a look at the animated commercial below, titled ‘The Scarecrow’ by Chipotle.


In it, the lack of fresh food draws the audience into the story and makes them emotionally invested in the characters. Many people shed a tear or two at the sight of the pitiful cow and maybe you did too. The point is, the challenge makes the video interesting and entertaining. Without it, your viewers wouldn’t be gripping the edge of their seats with bated breath waiting to see if the poor cows would be saved. Therefore, you need a conflict.


4: Resolution

Next, the resolution. After introducing the challenge to your viewers, you have to give them an ending. No one likes cliff-hangers! From the same example, we see that the scarecrow had built a food stall, selling food that was made from fresh ingredients, directing business away from the evil cow harming company. This is the perfect ending – a heartwarming conclusion to the sad sob story. Try to make your endings happy too, as most people prefer joyful endings over ones that make them cry.


5: Choosing the Right Stories

And finally, you have to know which story is appropriate to tell. You may have a great story idea that will do well as a short film, but not as a corporate video. To ensure that you are telling the right story, ask yourself these questions:

      • What is the objective of this video?
      • Will this video achieve the objective?
      • Who is my target audience?
      • Will this video appeal to my target audience?

With these pointers in mind, go and tell your fabulous story! Expand your business! If you have any questions about video storytelling or storyselling, drop us an email at [email protected] and we would be happy to give you a free consultation!

Otherwise, you can check out how to maximise your explainer video ROI over here!

Thinking about videos?

Let’s hear it, we are happy to discuss ideas with you.

Written By: Ho Chang Juns

I am passionate about using videos, animations, and marketing to tell engaging stories and deliver powerful messages to the right audience. I watch videos from other studios and write marketing content in my free time.

Gram has helped businesses win their audience over with explainer video animations and corporate videos since 2014.


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