Skip to content
top left banner says "4 elements of great video" the circles say characters, conflict, quest, and resolution. The center says great video. The overlap between characters and conflict is labeled introduction. Between conflict and quest is pain point. between quest and resolution is triumph and between resolution and characters is conclusion.

4 Elements Of A Video Narrative, Tools for Video Storytelling

You’ve probably heard that the best videos tell a story. The reason comes down to psychology— people tend to get more invested when you present a narrative rather than simply listing the benefits of your product or service. But when it comes to marketing and business videos creating the perfect video narrative doesn’t mean producing a cinematic mega-drama. In fact — the recipe for video storytelling is much, much simpler. 

Although novelists, movie critics, and your 9th grade English teacher may all have their own definition of what makes a great story, there are four clear elements of video narrative for marketing and business purposes. Whether you want better ad results or more customer engagement, these elements of video storytelling can help.

Video StoryTelling Basics: The Foundations Of A Video Narrative 

The number of elements that make up a story fluctuate depending on who you ask. Prowritingaid says there are 12 while arcstudio names just five. We’re going to simplify even further.

Marketing videos only have seconds to hook viewers and tell your story. So we have to keep stories as simple and straightforward as possible. Under those conditions, the four essential elements of a video narrative are:

  • Characters
  • Quest
  • Conflict
  • Resolution

Let’s consider how each of these might show up in your story structure.

Characters in Video Storytelling: Who is your hero? 

Every story has a main character, and in most stories, that character is the hero. The hero is also the person the viewer is supposed to identify with, which means that it’s smart to make the customer the hero of your story.

Focus on making characters relatable and engaging. Give them character traits that your audience can easily identify with. This is where buyer personas or customer profiles come in handy. Your hero should share the aspirations, problems, and values of your customers.

If you’re creating a live-action video, you’ll most often be casting a spokesperson who matches the demographics of your ideal audience. With animated video you have flexibility to create characters that appeal to wider audiences. You can choose different styles of animation to best match your brand and appeal to your target audience. 

Video Narrative Conflict: Defining The Pain Point

Once you establish the character, it’s time to present the conflict. The conflict is an obstacle that both your character and your customers face. When you build the video narrative around the pain points your customers face, you create an incentive for them to watch closely so they can solve whatever problem they’re having. 

Remember that time is of the essence. Whatever your conflict, define it early and accurately. However, you don’t have to spend a ton of time setting up the problem. Just define the situation then move onto how you can fix it. 

This video we made for arcade defines the problem in the first 10 seconds. That problem is: How do you keep sales reps engaged when everyone is working remotely? The remaining 48 seconds offer the answer to that question. 

Setting Expectations through the Quest 

The quest is how your customer goes about solving their conflict. This is your opportunity to explain your product or service to customers. This is the meat of the video narrative, and needs to be executed well to reach the final stage. 

Let’s go back to the Scandis example. In the beginning of the video, they dare consumers to question whether or not they’re getting the most out of their money when investing in furniture. Take a look at our award-winning video for Scandis to see how this works. 

It starts with a simple conflict, the customer wants furniture but is worried about whether they’re getting the best value. The quest explores the furniture-buying process, showing customers how Scandis offers value.

Resolve Your Video Narrative with a CTA

The hero has faced the conflict, undergone a quest, and now arrives at a resolution. In other words, they’ve found an answer to their problem in your product or service. Hopefully, by now the customer wants what you have to offer. They’ve seen how it helped your hero, and they want the same for themselves. 

But just wanting isn’t enough. You need to encourage your customer to take action. This is where you call-to-action or CTA comes into play. Craft an exceptional CTA that tells your customer exactly how they can find the resolution for their own story. You might ask them to buy now, click the link, or contact you for more details. 

It might look something like this: Let IdeaRocket’s video marketing experts help you tell your story in the form of an animated commercial or explainer video. From live action to 3D animation and all the mixed media in between, we have the expertise you need to put your message into orbit. Contact us today to get started. 

Receive our
free book
when you sign
up for our