• Woody Harrison

What's your problem??



What makes a story...a story?

There's lots of definitions out there and even more ideas and beliefs about what makes a story.

There's no single element, by the way. It's the combination of tried and true elements told in a structured way that moves the audience on a journey from beginning to end.

However, in business storytelling, especially in video, there's one thing that's usually overlooked. I think this is the most important element of a business video story.


A clear statement of the problem that's being solved.


This may sound simple. Yet, I see video after video continuing to launch immediately into how great the service is. Why it's better than the competition. For marketers and business owners, it makes perfect sense to start touting benefits as quickly as possible. Because that's how they're used to selling the products: via features and benefits.


But as anyone with sales training knows, you don't sell on features and benefits. You sell on solving a problem. No problem-no sale. That simple.


However, video is inherently a one-way communication device. It's impossible to ask questions and pose immediate answers through a pre produced video. It's NOT a conversation. So, it's on the video producer and the client to deeply understand, from the customer's perspective, what problem is being solved by the product. You do this by asking your customers good questions.

  • What problem are we solving?

  • Why is that a problem?

  • How did the problem start?

  • What impact does the problem have on your business?


Once you understand that, then you can move onto the best part of the video: your product as the solution!


This approach is far more empathetic with the viewer. It shows that you understand their situation, their pain. It also works a deep psychological level too. See, humans have what's called a "negativity bias." From Wiki:

...something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person's behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.

Negative. Like a problem. By leading with a problem, you naturally draw people in. Sad but true.


This video is a great example of a clear statement of the problem, from :06-:36, right up front.



Contrast this to a video I created yyyeeeeaaars ago. Totally different beginning to the video:

(you don't have to watch the whole thing:)



Exactly what problem is SSS Co solving? I don't know, but the machines look really cool.


I urge anyone creating a video for their business to leave the features and benefits till after you've established the problem. That way, your awesomeness has some context and your viewers will think, "Wow, they really understand me! Sign me up."


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