Chapter 3: Creating a powerful story arc
Now let’s take a look at some story models that you can use to build the arc of your story. Below we’ve listed some of the common story archetypes used in campaigns, along with analysis about why they work.
The crowdfunding classic
Most of the crowdfunding videos you’ve seen fall under the Crowdfunding Classic. They cut together a few common segments into a video that describes the product. Typical segments:
- Product introduction
- Team introduction
- Description of features
- People using the product
- The team’s background story and their progress so far
- A call to action (buy one now!)
The Crowdfunding Classic typically isn’t tied through with a single narrative arc, but can be held together with a voiceover.
Almost any technology product
(This is the most low-risk, and most tried-and-true formula)
Flux has a dynamic video that incorporates all of these elements. The team does a great job of showing their bike in motion, using a variety of different settings to really showcase the bike’s versatility. Their use of direct-address and voiceover ties together all of these different snapshots into one cohesive narrative.
A day in the life
This story arc follows a day in the life of someone using your product. In this concept, we follow a customer through their life as they encounter problems that your product solves.
This is a compelling format because it clearly shows users how a product will fit into their life and make it easier. Unfortunately, not every product is a fit. If you have a complex product that requires more explanation, you may want to stick with the Crowdfunding Classic.
Easily understood products and teams with strong storytelling skills
Products with complicated use cases
The Furbo video does this perfectly. The video starts with the lead waking up, and ends with them getting back to work (occasionally following her dog in the meantime). Though there is no narration, you understand the features of the product and how they’ll make your life better.
The design story
A sample structure:
- Begin with inspiration
Explain your motivation for building the product. This might be a deep love for the product category, a bad experience with a similar product, or a random moment of inspiration. Keep your target audience in mind!
- Bring in your team story
Why do you care so much about this design? What’s your background? The more that a viewer empathizes with your story, the more they’ll want to join your community.
- Continue with design
Walk the viewer through the design choices you made. Explain to them why it is a good design. What makes is special? What was hard to choose? What makes this design different?
- End with a clear call to action
Let them know exactly how they can help to bring your beautiful product into the world.
Design-based campaigns that focus on quality of materials and have an aspect of social innovation
Non-design focused campaigns
The archetypes above focus on products where functionality is the reason they’re so great. But there’s also a category of products not focused on functionality at all: design-based products.
Design-based products typically aren’t sold on a set of features and benefits, but sold around a story. This story is based on emotion: a sense of well-being, a feeling of belonging, an appreciation for a particular aesthetic, or a feeling of being cool. Connecting to the viewer’s personal desires allows them to appreciate your excellent design.
The pitch video
In a Pitch video, the lead speaker (pitch person, if you will) talks directly to the camera and explains the benefits of their product. This person is usually a founder or celebrity (or a team member with a compelling video presence). Doing a pitch video gives you more time to explain products too complicated for ‘Day in the Life’ videos.
This can be a very risky style. You’re relying on the charisma and charm of your lead to interest the audience. If it doesn’t work, it really won’t work. So use this one wisely.
Production companies who have experience with this kind of video, charismatic founders or team members, and celebrities
Lights, camera, action
We hope this guide gave you a better idea of how to create an amazing pitch video. A well-made video will captivate your audience, tell the story of your product and team, and serve as a powerful asset for gaining support and media attention for your product. Good luck!