Staff Reporters
Feb 26, 2021

Campaign Crash Course: How to tell engaging short-form stories

To round off a week of creativity-themed content during Spikes Asia X Campaign festival, this Crash Course provides useful tips on how to build story arcs and create thumb-stopping campaigns for short-form.

Welcome back to Campaign Asia-Pacific's Crash Course learning series, in which you will learn valuable lessons and practical business tips on trending and essential topics from industry experts in just five minutes. Think of it as a mini mini MBA, if you will.

Lessons will cover the breadth of the marcomms industry, including technology, creative, media, strategy, leadership, diversity and inclusion and more. We'll start off by introducing you to larger topics and delve deeper into specific elements in the future. This series is designed to be useful to C-suite executives as well as those just starting out in their careers.

The lesson

The 20th lesson in the Crash Course series will investigate how brands can pack engaging and thumb-stopping stories into short-form video content. Short video platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have become enormously popular among internet users in recent years (both Instagram and TikTok are estimated to have 1 billion monthy active users around the world), making them attractive targets for brands.

But the brevity of their content requires new approaches to storytelling. Where traditional storytelling arcs feature a slow build up to a peak followed by a resolution, in short-form the rules are flipped. Brands need to engage consumers right from the start and continue to find ways to keep emotional responses high throughout the duration of the story in order to maintain user engagement.

BBC StoryWorks has used facial coding and neuroscience techniques to track emotional reactions and memory recall to brand films in order to deduce the components of an effective short-form story, learnings which it will share in the following lesson.

In this lesson you will learn:

  • How to deduce the right length for a short-form story.
  • How to drive engagement and memory from an audience.
  • The relationship between the frequency of story peaks and memory response.
  • Which filmmaking techniques spark powerful emotional responses.
  • How to tie your brand to a story without being too overt.

Your teacher

Nicola Eliot is the APAC vice president of BBC StoryWorks, the in-house production studio of BBC Global News. StoryWorks produces content for brands across TV, online and social platforms, and Eliot has led the studio in the region for nearly six years, as head of content, director and most recently VP. She has created content for brands such as Huawei, Standard Chartered, Alibaba, Microsoft and IBM. Eliot featured in Campaign Asia's 40 Under 40 2019.

Prior to joining StoryWorks in 2014, Eliot held a marketing and communications role at Imagine Group in Singapore for nearly six years, where her passion for brand storytelling first began. Eliot studied marketing and psychology of business at university.

The quiz

After you watch the above video, test your knowledge of short-form storytelling with this quiz:

Campaign Crash Course is an ongoing series with new courses to be released on Fridays. We are always looking for feedback and ideas. Have a suggestion or want to take part? Complete our feedback form or email our editors.


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