You know if I could go time travelling I’d want to visit the Ad Men from Manhatten in the 1960s and show them the John Lewis Christmas ads. I’d want to watch their faces as they realise how much times have changed, how people are not just willing, but excited to watch these adverts! And what's more they voluntarily share these adverts, this company’s marketing material, with their family and friends.

We live in an age of exceptional storytelling. From Harry Potter to Game of Thrones and Netflix to Amazon, audiences everywhere are developing increasingly complex and sophisticated tastes and showing a willingness to deeply engage with and buy into more immersive and lengthy narratives.

But with so much compelling content, and more choice than ever before, it’s becoming increasingly hard to stand out. People no longer have to sit through an uninspiring or indulgent sales pitch when their smartphone is just inches away with the promise of distraction and entertainment.

Yet companies like John Lewis are racking up 25 million views on YouTube. These are impressions wholly separate from the audience they get on terrestrial TV. These are 25 million times a potential customer has actively chosen – above everything else they could read or watch or scroll through on the internet – to watch their advert!

And it’s no accident. John Lewis get millions of views every winter by genuinely understanding the spirit, and the hopes and desires for the season. By understanding people don’t set out looking for products, but for presents and meaningful gifts. They appeal to our emotions, our optimism.

Photo by  Jay Wennington  on  Unsplash

Consider dinners in a restaurant. They’re looking for a sense of occasion. They’re seeking good food, but also wanting atmosphere and ambience. There’s enjoyment to be gained from pouring over the menu and being seduced and beguiled by the romantic descriptions of the dishes on offer.

Consider those same dinners, the night before, searching for a place to eat. They find your restaurant and see a short video of the head chef in her kitchen describing how she put the seasonal menu together, exploring the provenance of the raw ingredients, demonstrating the flair and virtuosity of her craft, sharing her passion and knowledge. The customer’s experience when they visit the next evening is not just enhanced but feels immersive. As well as lighting up the senses, each course in front of them stimulates the mind and emotions too.  

By sharing a little of the story and the magic behind the scenes, the food takes on new meaning, the meal feels involving and the connection between you and your customer becomes more personalised. And in an increasingly digital, faceless economy people become inexorably drawn back towards tangible, deeper experiences.

Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

So what can the tools of storytelling do for you?

Telling your story shouldn’t be a chronological biography of the business. It should be about focussing attention on what sets you apart.

For many businesses – creative media, start-ups and artisans especially – your staff are your brand. Their personalities, skills and quirks form the DNA of who you are and what you make, and as such are the ideal aspect to showcase, allowing the audience to connect and create a feeling of community.

For others, the product takes centre stage. You can mesmerise customers with how it is made or generate a sense of interest and investment with an artfully told origin story.  

 As the choices and options that come with every purchase, or every decision about what to do this weekend, multiply and become overwhelming, it’s increasingly hard to stand out. And when customers are disoriented by reviews, and all too aware of the numerous alternatives, it becomes even more important to find ways to enhance the experience and exceed expectations.

It isn’t physically possible to sit face-to-face with each and everyone of your customers, but with smart, impactful video you can still reach them. We work alongside your team to craft engaging films that help make meaningful connections with these customers, and captures what sets you apart.

To find out how Second Draft could tell your story, GET IN TOUCH: