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To tell that sea cucumber dinner story on social media, video is best

Writing is good. Video draws people in.

It’s what’s for dinner. Rene Redzepi holds sea cucumbers that will end up on Noma dinner plates. (Photo courtesy of Redzepi’s Twitter feed)

What will it be for dinner tonight? The meaty, slimy sea cucumbers that look like a giant pickle experiment gone bad?

Maybe you’d like the sea snail broth served in a surprisingly large Faroe Islands snail shell, the lip garnished with minced pickles of oregano buds, elderflowers, and lemon thyme. Don’t forget the delectable dessert of fermented pear and roasted kelp ice cream.

Or perhaps it will be something different altogether.

Your dinner is set before you at the world-famous Noma restaurant on a frigid winter evening in Copenhagen, Denmark. You peer out the window of a converted Danish Navy warehouse, your eyes drawn to the shimmering lights reflecting off a small lake pounded by a steady drizzle.

You are extraordinarily lucky; after a long hiatus, what’s considered the world’s greatest restaurant run by the renowned and incomparably imaginative chef, Rene Redzepi, is reopening and you’re here at Noma on opening night. Dinner tonight might run you $867, which includes a tip, but it’s a mind-blowing gastronomical escapade.

For dinner, you’re presented barbecued cod with a mushroom-fennel-seaweed glaze. It’s tantalizing, no? So are the assorted condiments composed of ants — yes, ants — horseradish sauce, and a powder made from fennel, saffron, and horseradish.

Dessert awaits. Surely the plankton — yes, plankton — mousse cake flavored with black-currant wood and a milk crumble glaze will be heavenly.

So what could make this experience better?

Video. A good storytelling video goes with social media like fermented pear goes with roasted kelp ice cream. Or something like that.

When the Wall Street Journal visited Noma for its much-anticipated grand reopening in February, its writer deftly captured the experience in the written word and told a great story. WSJ article

That video, though. WSJ video

It captures both the culinary grandeur and the mystery of Noma, taking you behind the scenes to witness the glorious sea-to-table meal-making. You feel the tension of Redzepi’s desperate attempts to finish construction for opening night. He sweats out the details even as the cornucopia of spiny sea urchins, sea cucumbers, snails, and gargantuan purplish crabs with bleached underbellies that are like something out of a sci-fi novel await transformation into tasty victuals.

When it comes to social media storytelling, video is king. Renowned marketing and business guru Gary Vaynerchuk described video as the “single most important strategy in content marketing.” And that was three years ago.

“No matter what you’re selling,” Vaynerchuk wrote, “no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for the biggest video platforms, you are going to lose.” Vaynerchuk riffs

More recently, Inc. magazine touted video’s dominance in social media. Here’s the staggering social media video numbers, courtesy of Inc.:

YouTube: More than 5 billion video views are watched each day

•Facebook: Around 500 million people watch Facebook videos every day

•Twitter: 82% of Twitter’s audience watches video content

•Snapchat: says they generate 10 billion video views every single day

It’s obvious video dominates social media content. And storytelling is the relationship builder of social media video.

At least that’s the conclusion drawn by Rebecca Pera and Giampaolo Viglia. Pera and Viglia wrote in Psychology & Marketing that the experiential value of video storytelling transports viewers emotionally into the storyteller’s world. Viewers are moved to action beyond a vicarious role taking process. Experiential video

Video storytelling in social media is “more successful at creating a stronger affective response or emotional connection with the brand,” according to Kesha K. Coker, Richard L. Flight, and Dominic M. Baima, writing in Marketing Management Journal. Emotional video

Perhaps the most intriguing finding of Coker, Flight, and Baima is that heavy social media users respond more favorably to storytelling videos. Consider this in the context of Ogilvy ad agency’s findings in a recent survey that 68 percent of the respondents watch more than 30 minutes of video a day.

So maybe you’re not at Noma, telling Redzepi’s story via video through the saltwater lens of sea cucumbers, snails, and seaweed. Wherever you are, though, you can be sure that video will tell the story best, reach the biggest audience, and move them to action.

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