The 10 Seconds


by Mr Brand

Why a great video will not disguise a poor story

‘Once upon a time’ … and so the story starts, all the way through to… ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ But when was the last occasion that you saw a story though from its beginning to end?

A great story is a magnet that makes you want to sit up and look, that pulls you in – past its initial opening chimes and makes you think – ‘OK – What do we have here – This looks good’

In today’s high tech multi-media fast paced world, that need to seduce the reader, the viewer – indeed shall we say the browser – until he or she really is engaged, is the biggest challenge facing anyone using the video medium to promote or sell.

To promote or sell, in other words to tell a story. To tell your story.

Simply think of when you are on-line conducting a search and the video-ad pops up. How many times have you seen that video-ad through to its conclusion, compared to the number of times you have killed it dead at that first opportunity to get to where you really want to be? Certainly more were killed than seen through… methinks.

Was this because the video was no good. Not interesting. Poor soundtrack. Lousy acting. Likely none of these. The reality is – it was a poor story.

The real truth of course is that presentation is everything.

First impressions do not just count – they determine what happens next.

Centuries ago, Aristotle noted in his book Poetics that while a story does have a beginning, a middle and an ending, the beginning is not simply the first event in a series of three, but rather the emotionally engaging originating event. The middle is the natural and causally related consequence, and the end is the inevitable conclusive event.

In other words, stories have an origination, an escalation of conflict, and a resolution.

A story is a transformation unveiled—either the transformation of a situation or, most commonly, the transformation of a character.

Without this beating heart a story is nothing other than a sequence of disjointed episodes. However good the video production, direction, soundtrack, actors – without a good story – you have only an empty shell to be momentarily skimmed over and skipped for what the audience really seeks.

About the author

About the author

Mr Brand is the ambassador for 10 Seconds. He’s on a mission to give marketing professionals a competitive advantage in the Age of Attention Economics. He believes that to gain such advantage you need crystal clear communication. It’s all about the initial moment. Win people’s attention in the first 10 Seconds and you’ve opened the gateway to the final 10 Seconds, that all important conversion. He also likes to challenge conventional wisdom and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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