Human Interest stories told through video can break down barriers between big businesses and ordinary people. Trust has long been an issue for big companies. Telling real-life stories through video to prove a brand or company promise builds respect and belief amongst consumers. Let’s take a look at the companies and brands we think are doing it best… Unilever with their global sustainability campaign Project Sunlight, British Airways, Dove and Prudential.

Unilever – Storytelling for Corporate Sustainability Programmes

For this type of video, storytelling is key. You’ll likely have a good idea about your overarching messages, so it’s important that you relay this to whoever is producing your film – after all, it needs to support and enrich your existing research, not go against it!

The trick is to think of the end at the beginning. In other words, what do you want the viewer to take away from the film and what will success look like?

A lot of this will come down the recruitment – ensuring your video features people who completely embody your target consumer or segments, be it the demographics, attitudes or behaviours that define them. Using a well-executed screener is just as important for a target consumer film as it is for a traditional qual research project.

BA – Storytelling to build an emotional connection

British Airways launched a campaign in the US to promote the routes from North America to India and to encourage more ex-pat Indians to buy airfares to their homeland.

The campaign “A ticket to visit Mum” was launched to coincide with Mother’s Day in the US. It features a real-life mother in India talking about how much she misses her son Ratesh, who emigrated to the US several years ago. It pulls on the viewer’s heartstrings when the mum reveals such raw emotion for how much she misses him. The film finishes with a surprise visit from her son. I challenge any mum watching this not to shed a tear!

The 5-minute film had 75,000 views in two days and over a million hits in one month. A brand like British Airways, often seen as aloof and conservative in brand image terms, will benefit greatly from using this gritty real-life approach to customer videos. Showing a human face and building emotional connections with people can only be a good thing for BA.

Man in a market in British Airways campaign.

Dove – Using video to trailblaze brand integrity

Writing a blog about real-life genuine stories would not be complete without an example from Dove. The iconic “Campaign for Real Beauty” is now 10 years old.

The “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” was released as part of the ongoing campaign. In the video, several women describe how they look to a forensic sketch artist who is unable to see them. Strangers who had met these women the day before are then invited to describe the same women to the artist. The sketches are compared and the stranger’s images are invariably revealed to be more flattering and more accurate.

At the time this article was written, this video was the most-watched viral video ever with 5.5 million views. It is a great example of how a Brand’s Positioning to stand for something Genuine and Real can be so wonderfully showcased by using videos to tell real stories of real people. Truly Brilliant.

So next time you want to showcase a real-life consumer story, think first about video and how we can make your story come to life for you.

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