Corporate video crew at work

Mastering B2B video Story Structure your step-by-step marketer's guide

By Tim Cumming, Head of Creative, Marketing Films.
Last updated: May 2024

Story structure is about using sections to hold audience attention right through to the end of the story. When viewers identify with your story, when they feel its relevance, when they understand the drama and the risks - what’s at stake - and can relate to them, they stay to find out what happens in the end. And that gives you your reward, and your viewers' belief.

When you want to truly engage audiences with your videos, this approach to structure will boost viewing completion and make every hour of your effort count. No audience falloffs, no drifting attention, no missing points. Just relevance and alignment.

The three-act structure

Set-up, buildup, conclusion

A foundational model in storytelling is the three-act structure. In a B2B context, this unfolds as an introduction to the business environment (Set-up), the challenges and journey (Build-up), and the ultimate resolution and benefits (Conclusion). This framework ensures that we present a coherent narrative where each act naturally progresses to the next, reflecting the journey a potential client might undergo with your service or technology.

For example, consider the implementation of a new SaaS platform. Act 1 would introduce the existing market and client pain points. Act 2 would delve into the adoption struggles and the transformative journey the software enables. Act 3 would showcase an efficient, profitable post-adoption landscape, conveying the tangible outcomes your B2B service has facilitated.

Statistically, video content with a clear structure has higher engagement rates. The aim is to keep viewers engaged from beginning to end, culminating in an actionable insight. In this way, the three-act structure is not just a narrative choice but an essential tool for customer conversion.

The STAR story

Stars in Night Sky

Situation, Task, Actions, Result (in a 2:1:5:1 ratio)

When it comes to the STAR story structure, it’s all about balance – honing in on the most critical aspects of the narrative to maximize engagement. The prescribed 2:1:5:1 ratio emphasizes the importance of this balance; it allows a company to concisely state the Situation, dedicate sufficient time to the Task at hand, go into detail with the Actions taken, and then succinctly present the Result.

A STAR story for a cybersecurity firm might start with an overview of cyber risk (2 minutes), followed by the task of safeguarding digital assets (1 minute). The bulk of the story (5 minutes) covers the firm's in-depth actions, from risk assessments to implementing protections. Finally, the results (1 minute) illustrate reduced security breaches and client peace of mind.

This structure ties into Harvard Business Review's insights on good judgment, as it enforces a disciplined approach to what information is crucial and how much attention it deserves. This technique prevents the common pitfall of information overload, which can disengage a sophisticated B2B audience.

The PIUR story

Problem, Implication, Use and Result (in a 2:1:5:1 ratio)

The PIUR structure is especially compelling for B2B audiences because it aligns closely with their decision-making process. By addressing the Problem (2 units of time), exploring its Implications (1 unit), elaborating on the Use of your product or service (5 units), and ending with concrete Results (1 unit), you're not just telling a story; you're paralleling the viewer's journey from problem identification to solution implementation.

Let's say you're marketing an HR management system. The problem is inefficiency in HR processes (2). The implication here is not just about time loss but the broader impact on company culture and employee satisfaction (1). The use of your system is demonstrated through various functionalities (5), leading to improved productivity and employee engagement as the result (1).

The before-and-after story

Old vs New

Your client’s world before and after use of service

The before-and-after narrative humanizes the impact of your service or product. It provides a stark contrast between "what was" and "what could be," directly demonstrating the value proposition. We begin by painting a picture of the client's world before your service, filled with inefficiencies, missed opportunities, or perhaps unrealized potential.

Then, after the introduction of your offering, we show the transformation. A previously tedious manual process becomes automated, leading to more efficient use of resources and enhanced outcomes. The contrast between the two states elucidates the value you deliver.

This approach aligns well with case studies, which have long been a mainstay of B2B marketing. An effective before-and-after video creates an emotional resonance that case studies demand, providing social proof in a dynamic, digestible format.

Consider Forbes's research on storytelling in business; a narrative that showcases a relatable transformation offers not just a compelling story but also a clear business case.

The promised land story

Change, Winners and Losers, Promised Land, Our Vehicle, Trust (in a 2:1:5:2:1 ratio)

The Promised Land story arc excels in painting a vivid picture of a utopia - an ideal state your B2B service or product pledges to help the client achieve. It begins with an evocation of the current changing world and the risks and opportunities therein. Next, we depict the "Promised Land," a realm replete with success, efficiency, and growth, achieved through the intelligent use of your tools or services.

The narrative also emphasizes trust - the trust that your business can deliver on its promise. We support this with data, testimonials, or case studies that fortify the viewer's confidence in your ability to transport them to their desired future state.

For instance, Gartner's insights into the B2B buying journey suggest that buyers are looking for vendors who can lead them distinctly and reliably towards a better organizational state. The Promised Land story does just that, offering not just a goal but also a credible path towards achieving it.

Rules and breaking them

Broken Rules

While stories thrive on structure, creativity often necessitates bending or breaking the rules. Our expertise lies in knowing when to stick to tried-and-tested ratios and when to diverge for effect. This flexible approach allows us to tailor our storytelling to the unique circumstances and objectives of each B2B client.

In some cases, the outcome may be so vital that the results take up more time than suggested by the STAR or PIUR ratios. In others, the situation and problem may be so complex or unfamiliar to the audience that they require additional explanation.

Our intuition, combined with our rich understanding of dramatic tension and audience psychology, guides these decisions. By prioritizing the impact over strict adherence to formulas, we elevate our storytelling to compellingly convey your message.

Video inspiration

Moving from theory to the practical, what might these story structures look like when realized in video form?

These video concepts serve as springboards for telling your B2B story in a visually arresting, emotionally resonant, and strategically relevant manner - communicating sophistication and value in a crowded market.

TRUSTED BY

  • 4C logo
  • Action For Me logo
  • Ada Economics logo
  • Amadeus logo
  • Aquis logo
  • Arkk logo
  • Aurum logo
  • Bishopsgate logo
  • Bloodhound logo
  • Brigade Electronics logo
  • Camden A.I. logo
  • Cawood Scientific logo
  • Charlton House logo
  • Desklodge logo
  • Dunedin logo
  • Finsimco logo
  • Hertz Europe logo
  • Intragen logo
  • Kee Safety logo
  • Kirton Healthcare logo
  • Leading Point Financial Markets logo
  • Lpfa logo
  • Mayor Of London logo
  • Neardesk logo
  • Nvm logo
  • Outstanding logo
  • Paladin logo
  • Peppermint Technology logo
  • Progress Music Academy logo
  • Pure Retirement logo
  • Quantifi logo
  • Qube logo
  • Rockpool logo
  • Scottish Equity Partners logo
  • Share Radio logo
  • Siemens logo
  • Silverwing For Nvm logo
  • Sopro logo
  • Steeper logo
  • Team London logo
  • Tony Green Racing logo
  • Traydstream logo
  • Vesta logo
  • Wirex logo
  • WPP logo
  • 4C logo
  • Action For Me logo
  • Ada Economics logo
  • Amadeus logo
  • Aquis logo
  • Arkk logo
  • Aurum logo
  • Bishopsgate logo
  • Bloodhound logo
  • Brigade Electronics logo
  • Camden A.I. logo
  • Cawood Scientific logo
  • Charlton House logo
  • Desklodge logo
  • Dunedin logo
  • Finsimco logo
  • Hertz Europe logo
  • Intragen logo
  • Kee Safety logo
  • Kirton Healthcare logo
  • Leading Point Financial Markets logo
  • Lpfa logo
  • Mayor Of London logo
  • Neardesk logo
  • Nvm logo
  • Outstanding logo
  • Paladin logo
  • Peppermint Technology logo
  • Progress Music Academy logo
  • Pure Retirement logo
  • Quantifi logo
  • Qube logo
  • Rockpool logo
  • Scottish Equity Partners logo
  • Share Radio logo
  • Siemens logo
  • Silverwing For Nvm logo
  • Sopro logo
  • Steeper logo
  • Team London logo
  • Tony Green Racing logo
  • Traydstream logo
  • Vesta logo
  • Wirex logo
  • WPP logo

Model your enquiry growth with human video and smart AI

Reveal the good you do and watch the benefits flow in. Brighter reputation, increased sales, team confidence and a more human brand. Take a deep dive into the whole process.

Take a deep dive   ▶

MarketingFilms.tv is a tradename of Sunlight Creations Ltd, registered in England, number 14041777. All rights reserved. Content is copyright Sunlight Creations Ltd 2024, except where otherwise marked. Terms and Privacy. There are no cookies on this page from us, only from Vimeo's standard player. Booyah.

0330 124 6162