– Hey, everybody, my name is Joel Young and I’m the owner and creative director here at JumpStart Video, that’s jumpstartvideo.net. We create fun and interesting animation videos, explainer videos, marketing videos. Whatever you need, we can do it in video form. And today I want to talk to you about one of the most important elements for any online marketing campaign, and that is the use of characters in your story, characters in your video. One of the things that we really pride ourselves on here at JumpStart is that we don’t create marketing scripts, we tell stories. What we like to do in video form is evoke emotion, put people in the proper place and understanding of something through the lens of a story, and the way you do that is by using characters to tell a story. And there are several really important reasons why characters are important in the storytelling process. They always have been, they always will be.
Characters are a key component in our culture because they provide personality and they really, in a lot of ways, make it more relatable, whatever it is, the message to buy a product, to use a service, make life easier, improve your health, your wellbeing, all these things. Characters are what draw people in. And so, today, I want to give you three reasons that characters are important in storytelling and therefore important in our videos. Whatever you’re doing, I think you should use more character stories.
And the first one is characters are mirrors. That’s right, characters are mirrors. In videos, as we tell stories, we want to use characters as mirrors so that your viewer, your potential customer can see themselves in that character, that they are a reflection, that character is a reflection of who they are, of their experience. Hey, this is Bob, Bob gets frustrated every time his cable goes out, so therefore everybody who’s ever had their cable go out and be frustrated sits up and goes, “I’ve had that happen before.” Have you ever watched a late-night infomercial? A lot of times they’ll use character mirroring in their pitch like, “Do you hate it when eggs burn to your favorite frying pan?” Hey, hey, I do. Now you may say there’s no character in there. The character in that story is you. They’re posing a question to put you in the story. That’s called mirroring. They’re getting you to place yourself in that scenario, and hearing stories about someone who’s had a similar experience to us really creates empathy. It endears us to the story being told and really allows us to stay with it because giving up on the story be kinda like giving up on our story, wouldn’t it? So characters are important because they’re mirrors for the experience of your potential customer or your viewers. Drawing them into the story is important and that’s why mirroring them through characters is very important.
The second reason characters are important is because they add a face or a human element to sometimes non-human, sterile, cold businesses or services. Now, some services, some businesses are more personal than others, they have an obvious human touch to them. But others are more sterile and more cold. Adding a character in a video is a great way to humanize the experience of your business because any good business serves humans, serves people. At the heart of everything, our businesses are all services because they’re serving customers, whether they’re a product that’s serving them or an actual service that’s serving them. And humanizing that, putting that in the perspective of a real fleshy person is extremely important for retention. If we’re humanizing our service and putting a face on it, then people can relate to it more easily.
A great example of this, a classic example of this, is the Verizon guy, and I really don’t think he has a name. I know he works for Sprint now, but we used to call him the Verizon guy in the early 2000s, that kind of average looking guy with black-rim glasses that would walk around the country with a cellphone, hold it up to his ear and say, “Can you hear me now?” And that was their whole thing. This guy was a consistent brand character that humanized an extremely sterile and cold service, telecommunications, cellular communications, cellphones. That’s so impersonal. But, by having this character in the story every single commercial, for years and years and years, coming up, saying, “Can you hear me now?”, he humanized the entire transaction between Verizon and its customers. And it’s one of those classic examples of how a real human, a character playing a part, can actually humanize a service and draw people to it in doing so.
The third thing, the last thing I want to talk about today is that character narratives are more memorable. Did you know that? Character narratives are more memorable, meaning that, when a person is involved, someone can remember the story. Try this out sometime when you’re at a party and meeting somebody new. Think back to the things that they told you about themselves and what you remember. For me, I very seldom remember people’s names right after I meet them the first time, but I could walk away from someone and remember the story they told me about the time they were in the Air Force, and they had trouble and had to hitchhike all the way back to base, or something strange like that. Like I don’t know his name, but I know he was a private eye for like 10 years. Whatever it is. I remember stories that people tell me because they’re the character in their own story, and stories are powerful. And, when it’s a story about a real-life person, it’s easy to grab onto, whereas facts and figures and little details like that are not as memorable. They’re easily forgotten. They may be impactful in the brain at the moment they’re heard, but they’re not memorable.
What people remember are stories about humans, about characters, and that helps them to carry your message to another person, to share it with them, to carry it with them to their next buying decision, to the table in the boardroom, to the rest of their company. Whatever it is, they can use that memory of that story, that narrative to actually produce a conversion or a sale for you. So those three things I think are why characters are so important in marketing, and why every chance we get we want to put a human face on a service, whether it be an animation form, an actual person on video like this, or some other type of marketing that we’re doing. We want to make sure that characters are a part of that so people remember them, they see themselves in them, and they’re more likely to convert when characters are involved.
Hey, thank you so much for watching our videos. If you’re interested in more video marketing tips like this, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel down below and, if you have any need for some kind of video marketing materials, we’re here for you, jumpstartvideo.net. You can actually go over there in about five minutes and order your very own animated explainer video or, if you want something more robust, maybe onsite camera production or some kind of spokesman service like this, just let us know. We can do that, as well. We’re here for you and we want to make sure we’re continuing to support small businesses all over America and around the world as they’re growing into larger businesses because, here, our whole goal is to make video animation and video marketing accessible.