Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. A painting full of stories
‘Nighthawks’ by Edward Hopper. This well-known painting is full of stories

We are in the business of creating great advertising and marketing, and for us that means doing one thing above all else: telling great stories. For all of human history, a great story has been the best way — the only way — to get and keep people’s attention. Storytelling has becoming something of a buzzword in advertising in recent years, but as long as our industry has been around, the people who are the best at it have been the ones who tell great stories.

A story doesn’t need to be a long narrative told over time; a single image can tell a story. Visual elements like facial expressions give us clues that our minds can decipher into stories. Composition directs the eyes where to look next. And perceived movement shows the directions people and things are moving in, both spatially and in time. Our eyes put these clues together in a matter of milliseconds, and determine whether or not there is an interesting story there. If there is, then the creator has successfully captured the attention of the viewer.

The right message

Just telling a compelling story isn’t enough. If it were that easy almost anyone could do it. An advertising story has to convey a message that is effective, whether the objective is to drive sales, awareness, trial, or anything else. The chosen story must be relevant to the message without feeling overly forced. So just as important as it is to tell a great story, it’s critical to tell the right story.

Execution: Story alone isn’t enough

So you have the perfect story to convey the brand’s message, and it’s a great story to boot. You’re still only halfway there. The story must be told right. This is where it becomes critical to have a great team of creative talent working on the campaign. No matter what medium is being used to tell the story, it must tell it convincingly. Any dialogue, whether written or spoken must be realistic, and actors and models must accurately show the right emotions.

Audiences also have short attention spans, especially when it comes to advertisements. Because of this, directors must keep the story on track and eliminate anything that isn’t crucial to the core story. There are a thousand little things that nobody really notices, as long as they’re done well. But things like bad music, lighting, wardrobe, makeup, graphic design, and lettering will stand out and bother people so much that they will either tune out from the story, or end up hating it and missing the message the brand wanted to convey.

Cave Painting Story
Yes, this is a story

Speaking with an authentic voice

It’s always been important to come across as authentic to consumers, but with the millennial consumers of today it’s more crucial — and more difficult — than ever. Millennials have finely tuned BS detectors that go off the minute they sense a brand trying to be something that it is not. Millennials are a much sought-after demographic, and one that actually is open to the stories that brands have to tell, but only when those stories are authentic.

Tell stories, or lose your audience

All compelling advertising work tells a story, and tells it well. Telling the right story well makes it not only compelling, but effective. At the end of the day, that’s really what advertising is about.

To learn more about how we help brands tell their stories to Myanmar audiences, get in touch with us today.

04 April 2017