Cave Paintings at LascauxEver wonder why video resonates with audiences so well as a communication tool? We may not be born to love video, but I do believe that visual learning is definitely hard coded into our DNA.

Think of the earliest archaeological records, we have almost always used visuals as a storytelling tool. Whether it was the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt or the cave drawings of Lascaux, France pictured here from around 15,000 BC, humans have gravitated to visuals as a storytelling tool.

Even today on social media and mobile devices, we use emoticons to express emotion. As beautiful and well written as a book or document can be, nothing helps augment a story quite like powerful visuals. Why do you think many of the early bibles were “illuminated” with elegant graphic embellishments?

People have also always been captivated by a good story. Maybe it comes from the fact that for thousands upon thousands of years we were an oral society, passing stories from generation to generation and using stories to explain the unexplainable. According to a study done by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, “stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone”. So clearly there’s something biological at work there.

Part of what’s at work with video is you’re able to involve more than one human sense at a time by engaging both our ears and our eyes. By doing this you’re able to more effectively engage a viewer’s brain intellectually and emotionally. When you get more than one sense involved, it’s like a mini-endorphin rush for the human brain.

When you utilize video to tell a story, you are not “talking at” the viewer, you are taking the viewer on a journey. You are generating an emotional response.

No longer can video be created using the push tactics of television advertising. A top down, one way communication, sales culture just doesn’t work online today. Part of this shift is because people are able to interact online in a much more “natural” way than they can on television. Television ads only work through repetition, staggered interruptions between what the viewer really wants to see. Online a consumer is driven by what they are searching, interacting with and researching online. A consumer’s friends and online network now have a bigger influence than ever on purchasing decisions than ever before. To ignite a conversation with content, a brand’s videos needs to engage the viewer on a personal level. On an almost biological level by piquing the viewer’s emotions.

So are we born to love video? No. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of boring video out there. Tune into C-SPAN while they are counting votes on the house floor for an example if you need one. However, if you can script a great story into your video then you’ve got a rapt audience and the beginnings of a bond between the viewer and your brand.


Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts