After enduring 108.6 inches of snow this winter, my wife and I decided we needed a vacation. “Where to?” she asked. My answer? Disney World.

You may wonder why a grown man without any children would seek warmth and refuge in this crowded theme park. The answer is simple: ever since I watched Peter Pan at age four, Disney has brought me more happiness than any other brand.

Through visual storytelling, Disney has captured the affinity of millions of people around the world. And today in our digital world, brands have the opportunity to create the same level of unwavering loyalty. As visual storytelling moves beyond the big screens – with online video users expected to grow to 1.5 billion by 2015, according to Cisco – brands from New Balance to IBM have the opportunity to leverage its power.

When produced well, video can evoke an emotional response more than any other medium. And when it’s rooted in a comprehensive marketing strategy, it can draw in new audiences and motivate further engagement from longtime prospects.

Despite its huge potential, most brands still fail at building audiences through video. Why? Video requires an intensive production process, widespread amplification strategy, and the time and commitment of talented creatives. To produce video at a consistent pace, brands need a new way of thinking and technical expertise. This post will explore the three fundamental challenges of video marketing, and how marketers can overcome them.

Navigating the Internal Battles for Video Resources

Video can benefit all functions of an organization, as it has the potential to make connections and drive action among different customer segments and buyer stages. Figuring out how to serve the marketing and sales goals can get ugly, especially with limited bandwidth. Internal disagreements on what to focus on first will not only lengthen the production cycle and compromise the quality of the video, but it can disrupt the fabric of teams.

To create a strong foundation for video marketing, marketers need to include everyone in the vision process. Set aside time to sit down with representation from relevant areas of the company, review department-specific objectives, and identify the overarching story. Work through how that story will play out over time, and set expectations for how the timeline will unfold. By bringing the organization together, teams will be better able to support each part of the effort.

Incorporating Video into Your Content Strategy

Since video is such an intensive process, it’s easy to get sucked into a hole and forget about the field evolving around you. But staying rooted in the brand’s overarching goals and purpose is crucial. Like all pieces of content, videos need to be anchored in the brand’s message, supported by an amplification strategy, and followed by more great stories.

Chipotle is a good example of how video can build an audience by tapping into different angles of a larger story. Through video, Chipotle helped change consumer perceptions of fast food and communicate its commitment to sourcing sustainable ingredients. In its animated video “Back to the Start,” (below) the brand brought to life the experience of a small farmer working for a food industry giant, the degradation he faced having to bow down to the corporate world, and his decision to follow his own path. The video gained millions of views and made the pages of the The New York Times and Ad Age, among other publications. Recognizing the impact of the story, Chipotle decided to put more media spend behind it, and aired it in 5,700 movie theatres.

However, Chipotle did not stop at just one video. The company used video to tell the stories of farmers, thought leaders, and advocates committed to sustainability issues. In the “On the Farm” series, the brand follows a day in the life of the farmers it partners with, all of whom share their passion for the land and its natural resources. “Cultivating Thought,” a short video clip, features best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer talking about his idea to decorate Chipotle’s packaging products with inspirational writing clips by Toni Morrison, Stephen Pinker, and more.

The company also produced another show-stopping animation video, “The Scarecrow,” which maintained the eerie yet hopeful feel of its first blockbuster spot and went on to gain the same attention and acclaim.

Through a diverse and consistent approach to video, all of which motivate us to realize the power we have to better our world, Chipotle inspires us to join its movement.

Turning a Marketing Message into an Entertaining Story

As marketers, our job is to prove our brand’s value. Video provides an effective way to do this, as it tells a story, rather than a list of facts.

Studies show that it is stories, not facts, that people latch on to. In Chip and Dan Heath’s best-selling book, Made to Stick, Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, the brothers describe a study they did with Chip’s university students. They asked each student to give a one-minute speech on the same topic, rate each other’s performance, and record the most important points made by each speaker. Out of ten speakers, one told a story and the rest provided statistics. When surveyed, 63 percent of the students remembered the story, while 5 percent remembered the statistics. Marketers can learn a lot from this study: no matter how well produced and promoted a video is, it will only make an impact if it’s rooted in a story.

Now What?

There’s no question that producing video is difficult: It’s hard to manage, it’s expensive, and it’s time consuming. To go beyond one-off production will take talent and technology that brands haven’t depended on before.

The good news is, marketers are starting to dig into these challenges by working with creatives that can take the brand’s message to the next level and by establishing processes that cut time and cost. There is no easy way to produce a video, but as long as we embrace its power and recognize that the best stories never end, the investment will be worthwhile.

Just as Peter Pan introduced me to a brand that I still turn to after an unforgivable New England winter, video can help brands establish trust and affinity in a world of distraction and endless choice.

Learn more about how Skyword Video can help your team incorporate video into your marketing strategy.

Scott Ludwig