Entertain Before You Educate

A business is always dealing with humans, and by extension, human nature. And humans are selfish, you have to give them something before they'll reward you with their attention. Before you can expect a potential customer to listen to you, you must attract their attention, make them feel something – whether it’s excited, interested, safe or happy.

How does a potential customer view you?

How your business is seen comes down to how you communicate the value you offer, how a customer interacts with your product or service, and how well the client's problem is being solved – in general whether there is a good feeling before, during and after the experience.

Human emotions; anticipation and reaction. These are all part of a customer's experience with a company, but how often, as business people, do we think about the crafting of this journey? How often do we consider how each person is feeling at every step of the way? Are they entertained? Do they care? We’re often so caught up in the information we want to convey to our potential customers that we forget about the path of experience they are on. We expect that because the information is new, they are being entertained, but this is often not the case. New information presented as hard data has little cut through for a busy person; a person would already need to be heavily invested in your company to stick around and learn more. So, how do we best inform customers?

To inform, you must entertain

To be entertaining doesn’t mean an audience rolling around on the floor laughing; entertainment is simply engagement: an emotional connection and an emotional reaction. You need to take your audience on a journey, give them the peaks and troughs of a story, use surprise and pathos.

Marketing = storytelling

Marketing's job is to tell a potential customer about the value of a product or service in such a manner that the potential customer wants to learn more.

The strongest way to do this is tap into the basic human instinct and tell a story. It’s the fastest and most direct way to our brains and hearts. Just think, why do people want to go to the cinema? Read books? Chat at a cafe? Stories.

The aim is to create empathy, so the audience trusts you, while delivering a story structure, so that it’s memorable. Any marketing video that doesn’t work usually has a fault with one or both of these (or simply has an irrelevant subject matter).

Since the advent of television, companies have used TV advertising to tell their story. Moving-image is an incredibly efficient expression of emotion and tone – it’s closer to real-life human interaction than words or music alone. But achieving that magic is not easy: the only television commercials that worked were the ones that actually entertained their audience, and included the key messages as a secondary layer.

Fast-forward to today, and now everyone has the opportunity to create engaging video content to market their business and distribute it to the world online. But the rule remains the same: there is no shortcut; to get the human connection and take your potential customer on a journey, you must entertain before you educate.

The deep human need for storytelling

My last blog talked about the web existing for video, which is rather convenient as I believe video is perfect for marketing (aka telling your story). We are in a perfect convergence of achievable video production, online video distribution, and the maturity of content marketing.

As a business, when you create video you have a far higher chance of engaging emotionally with your potential customers and taking them on a deeper journey with you than a traditional, one-dimensional call to action. But the clincher is to find an ingenious technique to disseminate your message. Engage with the deep human need for storytelling, and your chance of success is guaranteed to be so much higher.

Video is hard, really hard, but when you get it right, it blows everything else out of the water. Do you want to risk everything to win it all? I think you do.