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  • Drury Bynum


I had this friend Craig who was an incredible runner. He could cruise through 10 miles like it was nothing. But he always ran alone. Whenever we'd ask him, 'Craig, when are you finally going to run a marathon?' He'd get this look of panic and change the subject.

I think deep down, the thought of running 26.2 miles terrified him because it meant putting himself fully out there. Baring his soul and pushing himself to his absolute limits in front of everyone. That's something most of us avoid at all costs.

But then one day, Craig was out for a casual run when suddenly other runners started passing him. Before he knew it, he was in the middle of a 10K race! At first he was embarrassed, but then, as he said, 'the spirit took him.' He started running with the pack, encouraging the other runners, cheering them on. Eventually he dropped to the side and became a spectator, something he never cared to do before. He said the whole thing was like a religious experience. 

Craig was hooked. He started entering and competing in races regularly and became a huge part of the running community. He says his life has been transformed working with others towards the same goal—he’s set to accomplish things he never thought possible.

If you identified with this story, you probably recognized an emotional need in Craig that you share with him. The need to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I call this the “empathic mirror,” when you see someone on screen and say "I feel what they feel." That's what pulled you into the story. You were running along with Craig, wanting to see how this emotional need gets resolved. 

That's the real power of storytelling for brands. When your stories can address these core emotional needs we all share, it's like an invitation to join the journey. To keep watching because you're hoping they find what you're after. When brands tap into that, that's when the building of loyalty begins. The viewer thinks "This brand really gets me." 

Now imagine Craig's transformative story playing out as a documentary-style brand video. Companies across industries could tell this kind of story. Obviously it would work for fitness apparel or tech. What about a social media app? Or an ad for a city? Or a health care brand with a mission to enhance the health of communities?

When your brand storytelling makes viewers think "This company gets me" by mirroring the shared emotional experiences that unite us all, that's incredibly powerful marketing that builds loyalty far beyond just selling a product.

We are Shine Creative, a video production company with a mission to connect brands to audiences authentically through emotionally driven video. If you'd like to work with us, please email us


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