Cue the Video Storytellers

Jim Walton, CEO, Brand Acceleration, Inc.

Recently, we’ve noticed a huge trend in the economic development marketing industry. Videos are becoming insanely popular. It seems that every couple of years, target audiences, such as corporate executives, real estate professionals, and site location consultants, expand their expectations of marketing. Of course, a powerful website is crucial, but while social media and email marketing are still very significant forms of communications, audiences now want to see communities. They want to be able to see industrial parks, buildings, growing retail areas, and interviews with residents and employers.

Don’t think it’s easy, though. Simply showing a building from a drone view with music playing in the background is not enough. Viewers expect detailed information about a community’s offering. Anyone can fly a drone camera and play pretty music. Only expert economic development marketers know the art of effectively telling a story that helps form a positive opinion. That’s where the art of storytelling comes in. Like a children’s storybook, effective community videos artfully and emotionally tell a story that makes the viewer want to be there. It’s much like a site visit, only on video.

History is chock-full of great storytellers. Walt Disney created an experience in every movie and in his famous theme parks. Steve Jobs included an amazing wow factor every time he took the stage, creating apostles for Apple products. Singer Bob Dylan used his songs to paint pictures and tell life stories. Economic developers also need to engage great storytelling in order to make an emotional connection.

When an effective presenter is on stage, he or she makes it a point to drive home key messages by artfully sharing stories that resonate with the audience. If they can emotionally connect and feel what the speaker is saying, they are much more likely to grasp the message. Similarly, a video that connects the viewer to your community will help him or her imagine being there.

Does it really work? We recently created a package of videos for a community interested in attracting retail growth. After several fruitless phone conversations with one retailer, the economic developer emailed his contact the new video. Twenty minutes later, he received a call saying, “We want to be there.”

Videos can also change opinions. For another county that struggles a bit with several misperceptions, we are crafting a package of videos to tell the whole story. We honestly believe that when people learn the rest of the story, the county will benefit greatly, fueling even more economic and population growth.

Want to know more? Take a look at a few of our recent videos. Be sure to come back, too. Several more are under production and will be posted soon.

Of course, feel free to contact us if you’d like to explore the power of videos for your community.

Jim Walton