The age-old approach of advertising through storytelling is rapidly changing the face of marketing. While there’s nothing new in trying to sell a product through storytelling, what is changing is the way many advertisers are doing it.

For decades if a company could afford video production, the cost of airtime was often outside the scope of their budget. But the popularity of YouTube, Facebook Live, and other social media platforms is changing how companies are reaching their target audience. And video is a big part of that.

At UNITE 2018, Christian storeowners will receive free guidance and resources from some of the nation’s leading experts to help them harness the power of video to connect with customers and lead them into their stores.

According to Statista, direct mail—one of the oldest advertising methods—is predicted to lose more ground to television and digital advertising in 2018 than in years past. At more than 36 billion dollars spent in 2016, direct mail still sits at the top of the pile for advertising dollars. But many companies are turning over bigger portions of their advertising focus to video and social media platforms. In 2016, TV advertising took a $20.8.billion share of the advertising dollars, with digital advertising narrowing the gap at $17.3 billion.

Those numbers, according to some experts, show a significant shift in not just where advertising dollars are being spent, but how.

A recent LinkedIn forum with participants from video production companies across the nation cited the growing number of companies exploring ways to create a more personal connection with their customers through video. Some producers in the discussion noted that for many companies, including video elements in their advertising campaigns is a first.

Stan Black, an award-winning video editor says, “Creating stories in video around products and companies is often the most interesting and memorable approach for the consumer.”

Black, who has worked on numerous nationally-acclaimed television shows, film projects, and commercials, says the surge in videos being watched online has created an unprecedented demand for companies interested in telling stories through video.

A recent article by Kit Smith echos the popularity of video, noting that more than 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute—and more than a billion hours of YouTube videos are being watched every day, with more than half of those on mobile devises.

Black says he believes companies that are not utilizing YouTube and other video-friendly platforms are missing a unique opportunity to connect with their customer.

“Most companies have a unique story to tell, and customers often have compelling stories about the products they love. Capturing those stories, even on a smart phone, can be very effective,” says Black.

Black and other video experts will be joining CBA at UNITE 2018 this summer to help storeowners learn about ways to create their own video stories utilizing free social media platforms. Black is also among a team of editors building free downloadable video pieces that will be available at UNITE to CBA members.

Black and other video producers and editors will be onsite in Nashville, working directly with storeowners for free as part of a strategic alliance with CBA and the Roush Foundation.