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Commentary: Why Consumer Tech Brands Need Emotional Storytelling Commentary

By Jon Mowat on November 1st 2016

The world of home electronics is fast-moving and crowded, with advancing technologies being unveiled every single day.

Success depends on finding and engaging consumer tech customers before your competitors do, but the sheer scale of competition makes it all too easy to become lost in the soup of online media.

On YouTube alone, users watch hundreds of millions of hours of video every single day, a number which has increased 50% year on year for the past three years. This trend is especially pronounced in mobile viewers, with consumption of mobile video doubling from 2014 to 2015 – mobile video consumption now accounts for half of all views on YouTube, and the average mobile viewer watches a total of 40 minutes of video content per day.

The importance of a multi-screen approach is well known to consumer tech marketers, but with 96% of B2B organisations now producing video content, how will your message stand out from the crowd? How is your brand reaching its audience?

Why you need emotional storytelling

Statistics show that viewers have become increasingly choosy; 61% of your audience will click away from a video if they perceive it to be badly made, with 1 in 4 users leaving because of low video quality.

This is largely due to the increasing standards of mobile browsing, as 3G and free wi-fi become the norm and full 4G comes ever closer to reality. Therefore your video needs to capture and engage users right away, which means your content must be impactful and memorable.

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Emotional storytelling allows you to convey a simple, human message in a memorable way.

By presenting your brand’s message as a story, you can show your customers how your product is going to enhance their lives and create a single moment that they’ll remember clearly.

Why emotional storytelling works

Humans love a story, and stories are embedded deeply within our culture: from holy texts to blockbuster movies to fairy tales, the idea of a narrative is central to human existence and we seek it out in everything we see.

Once upon a time

Presenting your brand’s message as a story lets you tap into that deep-running instinct that we all possess, creating a memorable and sharable experience. Strong single messages also have a much greater impact than multiple weaker ones, as human memory is constructed from snapshots of emotional intensity.

Creating a human story for your brand

Demonstrating how your product can enhance the owner’s life is extremely important for consumer tech companies, as product details are often fairly mundane. For example, telling customers that your new processor is faster than the old one is instantly forgettable, but demonstrating quicker loading times, and the consequent increase in free time, provides a relatable take-away message.

It’s important to understand exactly what your audience’s needs and desires are in order to construct a message that’s relevant; your brand needs to understand who its customers are before it can sell to them.

Emotional storytelling in consumer tech

The king of emotional storytelling in advertising is, unsurprisingly, Apple; its marketing campaigns emphasise the everyday usability and aesthetics of their products and demonstrate how this benefits their owners.

Take their advert for the iPhone 6s; information is conveyed by the narrator, but the impact of each feature is demonstrated through stories – friends listening to music together, navigating through news pages and quickly changing apps whilst exercising; all of these are identifiable characters which convey the Apple brand message.

By making the iPhone’s features relatable through the use of identifiable characters, Apple creates an emotional reaction in the audience that is powerful and resonant.

Virgin takes a similar approach with their advert for the new Virgin Pure T7 water purifier, demonstrating how it becomes part of a family’s everyday life.


Product features are shown as they occur during the course of a normal day, from hot water for coffee in the morning to a cold bottle of water for jogging, which illustrates how the water purifier complements and improves the user’s lifestyle in an instantly identifiable way.

Consumer tech companies need to find ways to humanise their products in order to create powerful advertising that cuts through the content soup and engages customers. For more information on creating emotionally impactful stories, please check out our video marketing guide.

 

Jon Mowat

Jon Mowat is MD and founder of Bristol based video production agency, Hurricane Media. Macaulay Culkin would play him in a movie of his life.