So you’ve made a video. And you’re disappointed that it just sits there, with few viewers and little discussion. Why do so many videos made by companies and organizations fall flat? In many cases, its because they lack an essential component of effective storytelling – conflict.

Think of any story you love and you’re sure to find conflict at its core. That’s what Mike Edgell, the Video Creative Director at 76BrandFilms, tells Martin Waxman and me in this week’s episode of Inside PR.

What are the essentials of storytelling? A hook, context, conflict, build, and resolution. Omit any of these and the viewer is lost, the narrative falls flat. Of these, the essential component, the one that drives the story, is conflict. And this can be a problem for brands who hear the word conflict and immediately run the other way. Who take a black and white view of conflict.

In fact, conflict arises in virtually every situation and with a nuanced approach, it can be built into virtually every video story. So, how does a brand do this? Mike has some tips.

1) Find a conflict that the organization can overcome. An internal challenge can ring true and does not run the risk of pitting the organization against outside forces.

2) Have empathy. Be sure that the conflict relates to the interests of your target audience. Don’t start with what the organization wants to talk about. Start with what the audience fears, wants and cares about. If tell your story with the audience in mind, your content stands a higher chance of resonating with them.

3) Finally, make sure your conflict has some significant risk. There has to be a consequence to failure. Otherwise, why should a viewer care about the story? This risk can embrace both the loss of something and the continuing absence of something desirable. In both instances, tension can be built up and the situation resolved, providing the audience with a satisfying experience.

Simple rules often overlooked.

Listen to the full podcast as Mike develops these ideas and illustrates them with real life examples of videos that met the challenge of incorporating conflict to engage audiences.

Gini Dietrich fans, don’t despair. Gini couldn’t make this week’s recording, but she will return next week.


We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.


  1. Thanks for sharing this podcast. It’s so true that videos need authentic tension to keep viewers watching. I’ve written before about other ways to show tension. One is to show a process The conflict with any process is will is work this time. Will the process have the desired affect? How do ensure it does — usually it’s through grit, precision, and artistry.

    Another way to show conflict is to show someone who is obsessed. People who are obsessed have conflict built into their story. They know they shouldn’t be so obsessed. They know it’s not normal to be so engrossed in one thing. But they just can’t help themselves.


  1. The conflicts in video storytelling | LEWIS PR
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