Skip Ad in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…click. Any person who regularly watches videos online can attest that ads are something we do not want. In fact, they tend to stand in the way of something that we do want. That’s why today it is more important than ever for advertisers to tell their story while remaining transparent, open, and creative. The goal should be to stop interrupting the content that people want and instead become the content that people want.

So, what makes a great story?

Even though the mediums and channels that are used to communicate stories have changed with time- there remain guiding principles that influence what makes a story relatable, engaging, captivating, and eventually- great .

A successful story is able to get its message across with relative ease through connecting to the audience. Authentic storytelling pulls the audience members in and relates to them on a personal level through emotional narratives that are sincere and genuine. A sensation of nostalgia, a chill down your spine, or a punch to the gut- all are feelings that are capable of being experienced through creative, intensive story design.  A great story effectively persuades the audience to engage and open themselves up to listening, accepting, and consciously interacting with the themes and messages of the story.

Modern organizations should be using storytelling across all media and communications not only to position themselves as a desired brand amongst competitors, but also to invoke emotion and align their image with everyday circumstances of life for their consumers. Take for example this mini-doc on the American baseball bat company “Warstic” and their collaboration with Coach:

The music, cinematography, design, and tone of the video are all symmetrical with the content of the story. The unique balance of simplistic shots and dramatic commentary come together to tell the story of Ben Jenkins and his journey in creating Warstic while also matching the things he values most- iconic, simplistic, and longstanding designs. The end result is a memorable video that reveals the company values and leaves its audience contemplating the branding of Warstic long after the video has come to an end.

However, storytelling isn’t just limited to video. A story can be anything that elicits an emotional reaction from the viewer. This could include anything from infographics, or photos, or even an interpretive dance. Take for example this ad from FedEx:


Not only does this print ad effectively articulate the benefits and convenience of using FedEx’s service; it also highlights how the brand can help loved ones keep in touch, no matter how much distance stands between them. FedEx effectively uses a typically non-interactive medium to challenge the consumer to think about how this ad relates to them all while positioning themselves as an international organization. Ultimately this ad will elicit a different set of reactions depending on the personal circumstances of the viewer, but maybe the uniqueness and unpredictability at the conclusion of the viewing is what makes storytelling so effective!