We’re all born as natural storytellers. If you ask a child to tell you a story about their day, the majority of the time the story will be well sculpted with a beginning, middle and end. As adults, at what point did we lose that innate ability?
When it comes to children’s films, the standout movies are the ones that include humour and references that adults enjoy. They also tell a great story that is accessible to both children and adults alike. In recent years the majority of children’s films have been animated.
Companies like Disney, Pixar Animations, Dreamworks and smaller studios like Cartoon Saloon and Studio Ghibli produce award-winning films time and time again and this is due to their strong storytelling efforts.
But what can a brand learn about storytelling from children’s animated movies? Let us explain.
Great storytelling is universal
Pete Docter, Director of Monsters Inc, Up and Inside Out, explains that the main purpose of storytelling:
“What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some particular way. And what you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to get the audience to have that same feeling.”
The best children’s movies are the ones that audiences of all ages, ethnicities and genders can emotionally relate to. For example, the Toy Story series is an example of films that all audiences can associate with. How many of us thought our toys were real as a child? Toy Story evokes feelings of nostalgia for adults and children relate to their relationship with their favourite toys.
If you’re telling a story about a person, product, team or service, it should be universally great. Your audience should be able to relate to the story in some way.
Characters and their struggles are the heart of stories
If your brand stories aren’t including people in some shape or form, they’re not going to resonate. Every hero character comes up against a struggle–whether it’s Anna and Elsa in Frozen battling against eternal winter, or Shrek gaining back his swamp, we all root for the hero to get their resolution.
If your story is focused around a product rather than a specific person, add some personality and ensure there’s a human element. Nobody relates to a physical product or service, they relate to the stories of how it can better their lives.
Imagine if Harry Potter went to a standard school or Kevin MacAllister’s parents had counted their children before getting into their car? Children’s movies are fun, they spark imagination and engage the audience.
By injecting passion and enthusiasm into your brand story, people resonate with your story and you stand out amongst all the clinical sales pitches. However, it’s important to get the balance right. If it feels forced and artificial your audience will smell that a mile away. Experimentation and authenticity are key.