The requirements an image film is supposed to fulfill often result from the desire to accommodate as many beneficial qualities of a product as possible, in a single three-minute video.
Often this is fullfilled as ordered by a production company. The result can be a pot pourri of all the unique selling points. At first, this may seem satisfying to the company and its employees. However, for the outside viewers, i.e. the potential customers, the effect is not a clear, memorable message. At best, you get the impression of general professionalism through beautiful imagery. The music, unfortunately, usually doesn’t help either, as it often comes royalty-free from a pool of pre-made tracks and it feels like it’s just „running along“.
But what characteristics do videos have where we as viewers are taken on a journey, where we understand information and where we remember it?
Of course, you can achieve a lot with impressive, beautiful images and upbeat music, but even this impression can quickly fade if the images are arbitrary and the music carries no meaning.
In order to leave an impression that will be remembered, the company and the filmmaker will have to spend some time and delve deeper into the subject matter. What are the main selling points, the „unique selling points“ of the product and why do these features exist? What needs have brought this product into being? Why did the inventors put so much thought into this and initiate a long development phase? And most importantly, how do these unique selling points, strung together, create a natural flow for storytelling? A story helps people to remember information in a natural way. Especially if the story is coherent and thought-provoking, because new information that we think about a few more times is much more likely to stick in our long-term memory.
If the creative team of a production company does not ask these questions, ones that go in the direction of the origin of the idea of the product or in the direction of challenges that the product is trying to overcome, the probability is low that there will be any of the desired effects in the final video.
This is why storytelling is so respected and valued in mega advertising agencies and also one of the reasons why people like Steve Jobs not only had good ideas, but always managed to get people around them deeply excited about the value of an idea. Before his death, Steve Jobs gave annual „keynote addresses“ in which he presented the story of the next phase in the development of Apple products. He always started with the emerging wants and needs of the end customer and the big problems to satisfy them adequately. This is common in storytelling. Every story starts with the description of a small or big world which is then very quickly confronted with a big new problem.
Image films that dare to start in this way and also reveal a few difficulties along the way manage to captivate the viewer. In good narratives, the journey always includes a second act in which further difficulties and challenges are narrated that are only gradually overcome before the solutions (to the difficulties) are found in a third act and the viewer experiences the redemptive success through identification.
In the best case, the goal of an image film goes far beyond impressing the viewer. In the best case, a viewer feels after the image film a bit like he or she is part of the journey, identifies a bit with the solution of the challenges. Based on that, he or she may make an emotional decision to definitely want to find out more about the product or company, to „buy in“ in some way, or even to buy the product out of a genuine conviction.
We are bombarded with narratives every day. Many have a serial effect that can reinforce identification. Journalism has unfortunately evolved in the direction of storytelling, supposedly to ensure that only the information, only the facts reach the reader or viewer that are deemed „safe“ for the general public. Here, the reader and viewer are incapacitated and manipulated with storytelling, because facts, of course, often do not fit together in a coherent narrative. Diversity of opinion would ideally have a lot of room in journalism, even in the same publication. We can look around today and very often wonder if that is the case here and there. With an image film, however, it is clear from the outset that this is a narrative. The story is short and to the point. It is obvious that it is simplified to make a catchy statement and it is obvious that emotions are played with to inspire the viewer. The interest is hopefully aroused so far that one would like to look closer, to explore the details immediately on the web page more near. This probability is much lower if this image film contains only beautiful pictures and no story, because the story is what invites the viewer to identify and be open to a clear statement.