September 3, 2020

Storytelling Video vs. Traditional Video Marketing: What are the Differences?


Video advertising works, and that’s a fact. According to HubSpot’s ultimate list of marketing statistics, more than half of marketing professionals consider video content to have the best ROI.  It’s no surprise that companies are allocating huge chunks of their budget to video marketing.

However, consumer behavior has greatly changed over the past two decades. Your customers no longer want you to tell them to buy their products; they need you to show them why they should make that purchase. This is where storytelling videos come into play.

What is Traditional Video Marketing?

Traditional video marketing focuses on promoting a brand’s products or services. Most of the video content is usually educational and focuses on the benefits a certain product or service would have on the customer.

For instance, let’s assume your company sells whole foods. Your video marketing content would rotate around the nutritional benefits of whole foods, the discounted pricing, or the long shelf life of your product.

Here’s one example:


Sometimes a traditional video does exactly what you need it to, and this one does it beautifully (if we do say so ourselves).

What is Storytelling Video Marketing?

Storytelling marketing, on the other hand, focuses on creating an emotional connection with your customers. The messaging and video content is usually intentional and deliberate, and aims to evoke certain emotions in the audience.

In the previous whole foods company example, the video could contain more the benefits of your products; but it’s more likely it would focus on telling your brand’s story; how all your ingredients are organic and sourced from local farmers, how each product is made with love and carefully packaged to increase the shelf life and how you delicately price them to ensure they are affordable.

You will still be highlighting your products’ benefits, but in a more subtle way that your customers can relate with.

Here’s another example of the same brand from above, but using the storytelling approach instead.

Top Similarities Between Storytelling Video and Video Marketing

Both types of video marketing have their distinct differences, but they are also similar in some aspects;

  1. Both of them are types of video marketing.
  2. They can both be used to attract new customers and engage existing customers.
  3. Both types of marketing help enforce brand loyalty (with storytelling tipping the scale).
  4. They can both be used to increase the conversion rate.

Storytelling and traditional video marketing each take a different approach to the script.

5 Differences Between Storytelling and Video Marketing

The marketing field is extremely versatile, and what worked before may not be highly effective today. Take advertising, for example.  The type of video content that got people to make purchases previously has been replaced by story-driven viral content.

storytelling marketing

Here are the main differences between storytelling videos and traditional video marketing.

1.   Emotional Appeal

Traditional video marketing appeals to logic, while storytelling appeals to customers’ emotions. In video marketing, you only need to know who your customers are. What problem are they looking to solve with your products? What are their pain points? Are they single and married? Answering those questions will lead you to an effective, if transactional, relationship.  Storytelling requires you to go deeper. You use this same information to create content that they can relate with, and that reflects your brand’s essence. It’s content that evokes emotion that will convince your audience your product is the best for them.

For example, a traditional video will be product-based and focus on telling people why they should buy your product while storytelling could make the use of testimonials or character studies since they are the equivalent of referrals from friends and family.

2.   Making an Impression

Storytelling leaves a lasting impression in your customer’s minds because stories are powerful and memorable. They are embedded in your customers’ minds long after the content is through. Why? Because they are relatable!

Think of it this way; if you’re selling kid’s shoes, a video containing shoes accompanied by the prices is easily forgettable. What if the video contained happy children playing while wearing the shoes, after the business donated them to an orphanage? This is bound to make an impact!

3.   Appearing Salesy

Customers don’t like having products pushed on them. They don’t need you telling them to buy your products all the time. They want to make that decision on their own, which is why traditional video marketing is not as effective. Storytelling nudges them to make a purchase without appearing overly salesy. It provides the customer with all the information they need to make a decision but in an engaging way.

Storytelling lowers your customer’s defenses and lets you promote your product in a subtle way. It also can enable you to transition to a lifestyle brand, and we’ve written before on the benefits of that.

4.   Use of Powerful Imagery

There is a huge difference between telling your customers to buy your products and showing them why they should do it. Storytelling paints a powerful mental image of why your products are the best and taps into the power of metaphors. These metaphors subtly imply that your services or products are amazing by making impressionable comparisons.

A great example would be Tropicana’s orange juice campaign. Their slogan was “Your Daily Ray of Sunshine,” which implied that their juice brought vitality and happiness.

Traditional video marketing shows it as it is. Storytelling videos draw on cinematography and visual storytelling to draw and keep audiences.

5.   Data-based Claims

You can continually tell people how great your company is, but if they can’t authenticate this information, then they will just be another random statistic. Storytelling makes it easy to back up your claims with data. You can easily show how your products or services have helped people achieve the desired results.

For instance, when using storytelling to promote weight-loss products, you can easily conduct a survey among your customers and then incorporate the results into your content. Tell the story of this data through the people who’ve experienced it; not through the numbers. Numbers are numbing.

Which Type of Storytelling Video Would Be Best for Your Business?

There are various factors to consider when deciding on the best type of marketing, including your target audience, campaign goal, and type of product. Your business can only grow if it evolves with the customer’s needs, which is why you need to know what your customers are looking for so that you can use marketing to provide them with a solution.

Not sure whether to use traditional video marketing or storytelling video marketing for your campaigns? You can always contact us for ideas.