May 31, 2017 Brett Singer

Empathy’s Influence on Today’s Storytelling

The power of “empathy”: 2017’s marketing buzzword

If you stop and watch one of the hundreds of ads circulating your nightly programming or Facebook feed, you will see brands working harder than ever to tell their story in a way that sticks with their target audience. With so many ongoing changes to the marketing world, the focus is officially off the brand itself, and on the audience it is trying to attract. The key ingredient that makes the whole thing work? Empathy.

Empathy’s influence on storytelling: Q&A with Bottle Rocket Media’s Dan Fisher

Why is empathy such an important part of today’s marketing landscape?

Marketing is ever-present in today’s culture. The landscape has grown from three TV channels and periodicals to include phones, smart TVs and computers. Not to mention digital billboards as far as the eye can see! Creating video with an empathetic component allows the viewer to take away more than just product information or store hours. Videos with empathy allow the audience to take away a feeling. This will resonate a lot longer than some simple facts.

How has the recent shift in marketing trends shaped the role of empathy in storytelling?

The role of empathy in storytelling hasn’t changed at all. A good story will alway have some degree of empathy involved. What has changed is the importance of creating a video that has empathy baked in. Empathy is what separates a solid, true message from the rest of the online video fodder. With so much messaging competition to contend with, a video with empathy will have a better chance of getting seen, being remembered and sticking. And if that doesn’t work, make sure you use images of babies, cats, guns, or beach parties!

How does video play a role in creating empathy?

It’s all about sounds and images. Outside of face-to-face communication, there is nothing better to communicate an empathetic story than video. A well-crafted video can grab any emotion based on the way it is shot and then edited. When you read a book, empathy comes from relating an experience to something that has happened in the reader’s life. Video is not so different, only with a video we can direct how the viewer feels with audio and visual cues used in the language of filmmaking that have been proven over time. Music is a good example of this.

What do you think are the key elements when it comes to creating empathy with video?

  1. First tell the truth
  2. Take your time in crafting the message
  3. Listen, then speak
  4. Keep it simple
  5. Have conviction

What are Bottle Rocket Media’s guidelines for creating empathy through storytelling?

We don’t have guidelines for creating empathy. In fact, we never discuss this concept when preparing for a project. I think this is because we are always in search of the authentic story, the authentic self (client and/or storyteller), and the authentic message. If we achieve this, empathy will follow. When you get down to the brass tacks, empathy itself cannot be manufactured. But if we do our homework, keep communication channels open between ourselves and our clients, and aim to tell a real story, empathy will be inevitable.

To learn more about how to create empathy in your video, contact contact Bottle Rocket Media and we will talk you through it.

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