Video storytelling: the importance of conflict

Video storytelling

Video storytelling: the importance of conflict

Why do so many videos made by companies and organizations fall flat? In many cases, it’s because they lack an essential component of effective storytelling – conflict.

Think of any story you love and you’re sure to find conflict at its core. That’s what Mike Edgell, the Video Creative Director at 76BrandFilms, tells Martin Waxman and Joe Thornley in this episode of Inside PR.

What are the essentials of storytelling? A hook, context, conflict, build, and resolution. Omit any of these and the viewer is lost, the narrative falls flat. Of these, the essential component, the one that drives the story, is conflict. And this can be a problem for brands who hear the word conflict and immediately run the other way. Who take a black and white view of conflict.

In fact, conflict arises in virtually every situation and with a nuanced approach, it can be built into virtually every video story. So, how does a brand do this? Mike has some tips.

1) Find a conflict that the organization can overcome. An internal challenge can ring true and does not run the risk of pitting the organization against outside forces.

2) Have empathy. Be sure that the conflict relates to the interests of your target audience. Don’t start with what the organization wants to talk about. Start with what the audience fears, wants and cares about. If you tell your story with the audience in mind, your content stands a higher chance of resonating with them.

3) Finally, make sure your conflict has some significant risk. There has to be a consequence to failure. Otherwise, why should a viewer care about the story? This risk can embrace both the loss of something and the continuing absence of something desirable. In both instances, tension can be built up and the situation resolved, providing the audience with a satisfying experience.

Simple rules often overlooked.

Listen to the full podcast, below, as Mike develops these ideas and illustrates them with real life examples of videos that met the challenge of incorporating conflict to engage audiences:



An original version of this article appeared in Inside PR.

Joseph Thornley

Joseph Thornley Bio:

CEO and co-founder of Thornley Fallis. Loves that in the era of social media, we can all be heard. Suffers from writer's block whenever he tries to write something important. So, he shares his thoughts in the hope that others will occasionally find them useful