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The Psychology Behind Video

What makes video such a powerful communications tool? It’s all to do with the way we respond to audio visual imagery – and what our brains want.

Neuroscientists have discovered that our brains are interested in stories and puzzles, not straightforward facts and instructions. We don’t want to be just told stuff. The challenge for brands is to find ways to make the brand intriguing to customers, on a subconscious level, so that they engage with your brand, and ultimately your products or services.

The aim is to prime your customers so they are receptive to your information, by engaging them first with the content they want. Storytelling has been proven to be a highly effective way to do this – narratives are easy for the brain to follow – and the moving image is the most accessible and engaging storytelling medium of all.

Communication Friction Points

Are you still with me? People give up when communications become too difficult. If they can’t follow your content easily, or if it contradicts itself, they switch off. How many times have you switched channels when the audio for a TV broadcast is out of sync with the visual imagery – especially when there are problems with lip sync?

Our brains struggle with this, and other contradictory messages, so we turn off. Brands that get communications right are strong on synchronicity and consistency – with all elements communicating a narrative that customers can easily understand and engage with.

One of the biggest challenges brands have is getting their voice heard above all the other noise in the marketplace. As a result, marketers are becoming increasingly interested in neuroscience and how research into how are brains work can be applied to communication in the digital and physical world.

B2B companies are also becoming more aware that communication is not just about delivering information. The neuro-tools that B2C companies have used for years, particularly by using emotions to engage consumers, are just as relevant to B2B buyers. Just because these are business transactions doesn’t mean that the humans involved aren’t responsive to storytelling, narratives and emotional triggers.

How Video Strikes Emotions And Creates Memorable Content

Video is uniquely positioned, compared to other communication tools, because it uses three key communication mediums: imagery, audio and graphic elements. Combined, these three can be used to heighten emotion and highlight messages that will resonate with the target most strongly. Moreover, studies have proven that successful video comms are much more memorable than other forms of content, and this attribute is vital if you want viewers to take action.

After all, no brand wants to invest in comms that are instantly forgotten. If your content isn’t memorable it stands no chance of affecting future actions, such as buying your product or service. Equally if it doesn’t have that emotional stickiness, it may be remembered but won’t have what’s needed to compel customers to do something.

What Do Successful Videos Have In Common?

Using the techniques discussed above – telling stories that follow a simple narrative that is easy to understand, that illicit an emotional response and are memorable – what characteristics do successful videos comms share?

A key characteristic is that generally they don’t appear to be selling a specific product or service. This is important because our brains actually don’t like overt selling. In fact there is a part of our brain – the orbitofrontal cortex – that acts as a barrier to these sales messages and tells us to ignore what they are telling us.

Instead successful videos identify the emotions that will result in target audiences changing their behaviour – for example by buying a product. For B2B companies trying to sell to other businesses, these emotional triggers will not be about how services or products can help business objectives but about the emotional needs of the people within that business.

Those needs may be around career progression, their ability to do their jobs effectively, performance, professional relationships etc. Videos that tell stories around these subjects, using those emotions and desires, will resonate strongly with the decision makers targeted.

To discuss any of subjects explored in this post in more detail, please contact me. Leave a message below, call 0125 20717707, or email

Rob Edmonds

Author Rob Edmonds

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