Are You Listening? If Not, You’re Missing Great Stories

Ever since we were kids, we learned the power of a great story. Pocahontas. Pinocchio. Old Yeller. And, the good ones stick with us for a lifetime. Is your in-house team looking for a way to tell better stories? Look no further than your own customers. Done right, customer stories can lead to content that inspires and builds brand equity like no amount of paid advertising. There’s an art to it. Here are a few insider tips.

Listen before you tell. This is where brands could easily get it wrong before getting started. You have a theme or a key message you want to tell the world, sure. But how would the subject of your story say it? You have to listen carefully and care deeply to find out.

For the Garmin Women of Adventure series, our in-house team creates short films and other content featuring women who use Garmin watches and adventure-ready gear. Before crafting a storyline, the writer (that’s me, by the way) consumes as much content as possible about each woman. Her books, her blogs, her podcasts, her socials. As the script evolves, we find a way to tell a unique story in her words. So, when the cameras are rolling and mics are live, she can be her authentic self.

Know what to cut. Another crucial lesson in good storytelling is knowing when to stop. If you can create a great five-minute short film, can you make an even better one in two minutes? Shorter is harder and you’ll have to kill some great scenes, but the end result is a more impactful piece. If your viewers are left wanting to know more versus wondering when it will end, you win.

Look for the big idea, not the big budget. Whose budget hasn’t taken a hit lately? Instead of lamenting the losses, now is the perfect time to mine for winning stories. Be inventive. Be nimble. Figure out how to tell that story in a new way with the dollars you do have. Production partners are hungry now too, so you may find ways to collaborate that would have previously been out of budget.

Turn these tips into action and you just might end up with an award-winning story. Check out “Any Body Can Do It,“ a short film starring ultrarunner, Mirna Valerio. Not only was this video created by the in-house creative team at Garmin, it is among a select list of winners featured in this year’s Communication Arts Advertising Annual.

Mirna Valerio holding a yoga pose in the woods Mirna Valerio hiking in the woods
Mirna Valerio standing in the woods
Mirna Valerio running along a lake with mountains in the distance Mirna Valerio holding walking sticks and standing on a mountain

Stills from our shoot featuring the “fierce, beautiful and unapologetic” Mirna Valerio—a.k.a. the Mirnavator!

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