How to Give Your B2B Content Emotional Heft
Creating an emotional hook in a story about enterprise technology can be challenging. Such stories often focus on a technology’s business and organizational benefits, rather than how that technology affects people.
Additionally, technology strategy and investment decisions at the enterprise level are usually determined by committee. This makes it hard to develop a focused, compelling narrative that resonates with a single persona.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Finding that emotional hook simply requires the right type of content and approach. Video fits the bill.
We recently finished production on a video for Hewlett Packard Enterprise that illustrates this point. Our client wanted a video to help advance an important concept they’re evangelizing in the market: digital service transformation.
They wanted the video to be impactful and relatable, and it needed to feel human and inspiring. In other words, they wanted the video to have an emotional hook!
Placating a dubious audience
Our client’s primary audience consists of the network engineers and solution architects that keep both wired and wireless communications networks and services up and running. They’re passionate technologists who take great pride in what they do. They’re super careful about deploying new technology that might hamper network performance, or worse, bring the network down.
Not surprisingly, many of them view digital transformation as disruptive and a potential risk to their business. Our challenge, then, was to convey a positive big-picture message about digital transformation that felt safe, inspiring, and aligned with their goals and values. Here’s how we did it.
Create a relatable hero
We proposed a narrative in which the protagonist, or “hero,” represents our audience of network engineers and solution architects.
The video begins with a sequence of a close-up shots showing the hero working at his desk. The opening scene has an introspective feel; the voiceover describes how the hero works, his goals and aspirations, and what drives him as a network engineer.
These persona attributes map directly to our audience. We present a sympathetic hero; someone our audience can relate to. This lays the foundation for an emotional connection.
We then follow our hero through scenes depicting transformational future digital services, such as connected cars and drone-video applications. Our hero observes and experiences these digital services with a sense of awe and wonderment. These inspiring scenes depict what’s possible with digital service transformation, playing to our audience’s aspirations to “empower people” and “connect the world.”
Strike the right tone
Given the cautious—some might even say skeptical—nature of our audience, the video had to strike the right tone. It was important that viewers didn’t perceive the video as a sales pitch; it needed to feel uplifting and inspiring without coming across as promotional.
To do that, we wrote a script that emphasized the possibilities of digital service transformation, without sounding hyperbolic. We directed the voiceover artist to eschew hype and sound personable and optimistic. And we scored the video with music that was steady and upbeat, but not over the top. Together, these elements allow our audience to connect with the story and view digital service transformation in a positive light.
The camera is one of your most powerful tools when telling a narrative story with video. Camera placement, angle, movement, framing, and composition are implicit ways to visually communicate themes and ideas.
For instance, a low angle shot of your hero—meaning the camera is low and aims up—will make the protagonist look confident and strong. We used many low angle shots such as this one, in which the hero is also centered in the frame. This composition lends him an appearance of stability and control.
Thinking cinematically helps evoke certain emotions and responses from your audience. We carefully designed all the camera shots in the video. This allows us to visually reinforce important ideas in the script, revealing not only our hero’s thoughts and feelings, but also bigger theme(s) in our narrative—that our audience can feel secure and confident about digital service transformation.
Building an emotional hook about enterprise technology is possible if you use the right type of content and approach. You can see why video is a great choice. By creating a relatable hero, using the right tone, and approaching the story cinematically, we offer the audience a narrative they can connect with emotionally. And that’s how you create a memorable and impactful content experience.