Updated: Mar 22
March 9th, 2023
Written by Alexa Garster / TinDragon Collaborator
As humans, we are always in the age of storytelling—but the shape that storytelling takes often changes from decade to decade, even year to year. Right now, we are submerged in an ocean of short-form content on platforms like TikTok, while also getting our pick of more original series & films from streaming services than ever before.
Not only do people watch on average 17 hours of online video content per week, but 91% of people say they want to see more online videos from brands in 2023. So, in an era with competitive content and an excess of options, how do you make your business stand out? Make it a Cinematic Universe!
That's right, we are referring to THE Marvel Cinematic Universe, with over 30 films and dozens of TV Shows produced in just 15 years, Marvel Studios has managed to rake in over $25 billion from their signature spin on the superhero genre. The good news is, your business doesn’t have to be a big Hollywood production in order to be successful. You just need Brand Consistency.
For starters, let’s clarify what we mean when we say your business is a cinematic universe. We’re talking about a brand that can balance standalone works within an overarching shared, stable vision. The development within that shared vision can be contributed to by different writers, artists, directors, and production teams. The overall brand identity remains constant.
It’s crucial that customers understand what your business is about and what they can reliably expect from it. In order to achieve this, it helps to establish and define brand guidelines. The overall look-and-feel of your brand, how it presents to the public. This could include anything from:
- Brand color palettes
- Mission statements
- The tone of your company's voice in the public
It helps to create a branding document or manual that outlines these elements as they relate to the vision and values of your brand. Film & TV series have something similar: a show bible, which helps actors, writers, and directors maintain the feel of the show throughout episodes, seasons, spin-offs, etc.
Marvel is many things—mainly, an unending supplier of pet names. No, but seriously: it’s a Film & TV studio, a comic book publisher, and a video game enterprise! An entertainment machine! These divisions all consistently adhere to Marvel’s overall brand guidelines. As a business, Marvel knows what their customers want from them—and they deliver. The image, voice, and message of Marvel is always dependable, which satisfies longtime fans and entices new fans.
So, let’s first talk about your brand’s image. This refers to a customer’s perception of your brand. It’s where the strategic actions on your part meet how a customer feels about those efforts.
For Marvel, their image relies heavily on its slate of relatable, witty, colorful characters. Marvel succeeds so well, in part, because its customers feel drawn and connected to superheroes that are both engaging and accessible.
We here at TinDragon previously partnered with CALSOAP Los Angeles to create a superhero animated video series, aimed to encourage high-school and college students to unlock their own superhero potential. The coordinators and instructors of this program go above and beyond to assist students and families with financial aid literacy, which inspired us to design animated superhero alter-egos for these real-life heroes.
You can check out TinDragon’s recent Examples of Storytelling blog post to learn more about the CALSOAP League of Los Angeles.
Whatever your brand, whatever your business, one of the most important objectives is to make people care, and one of the best ways of doing that is through cultivating the character/human component. Establish who you are, what you stand for, and who you serve.
Brand Voice & Tone
Then, we have your brand’s voice. Voice defines your brand’s personality, while tone affects how people feel when they interact with your brand. Your voice needs consistency —it can be informative, fun, supportive or sophisticated.
Your tone, on the other hand, will vary based on the situation. For example, Marvel’s voice is confident, playful, and quirky (bolstered by exciting visual effects, and a dynamic soundtrack), but the tone of the MCU ranges from inspiring to melancholic based on how the characters are faring in the story.
Tone should always leave the audience/customer with a distinct feeling or calling. You never want them to finish a video feeling nothing or left confused. For your own brand, you’ll use a different tone to address a customer need than when launching a new product. Customers will come to recognize your voice and appreciate your tone.
Lastly, we have your brand’s message. This is the message that you communicate to your customers through your products and services. The message should resonate emotionally with what your target audience wants and/or needs. It’s a promise that you fulfill through every transaction.
Note that as a brand you’re allowed to have videos with different messages and topics, but the Call to Action should always remain consistent. For Marvel, this is illustrated by its various franchises and ‘Phases’ (with stories that speak to the nature of heroism, family, power and responsibility), while the MCU's central Call to Action—if we look at it that way—is Come Back For More. Back for more action, intrigue and new franchises!
Everything Marvel does is designed to get your butt back in that seat, and they accomplish this through techniques such as post-credit scenes, bringing unexpected characters together, expanding little-known plotlines, and subverting expectations (e.g. hiring indie-filmmaker Taika Waititi to direct big-budget Thor: Ragnarok). All of these steps cultivate curiosity in the customer. We just have to see what happens next!
For your business, some Call to Actions might look like: Contact Us, Subscribe, Learn More, Get Started, Buy Now, etc. It’s fun to be creative and meet the moment, but don’t forget what you’re here to advertise!
Our Post-Credits Scene
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve likely got a heroic drive to make your business super! As our own post-credit scene, we invite you to envision a strategic partnership with TinDragon Media. Nobody can do it alone, and strategic partnerships are essential to a brand’s success. To promote Endgame, Marvel partnered with brands like Audi, Geico, and Ulta Beauty!
So, TinDragon Media is here for all your Los Angeles production needs (and in Pasadena, too!). Budgeting, videography, corporate film, branded content videos, post-production, and more—we’ll assist you faster than you can say “I am Iron Man.” Schedule a call with us today!
About Alexa Garster
Alexa Garster is a freelance writer & producer who partnered with TinDragon Media as a scriptwriter for the Gear Up OUSD and Gear Up Dougherty projects. She’s a twin, a cat-lover, an Oxford comma aficionada, and had her first feature film premiere on the Hallmark Channel in 2021.