A Guide to Using Technology to Deliver Meaningful Stories & Compelling Brand Experiences - SoDA - The Digital Society

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A Guide to Using Technology to Deliver Meaningful Stories & Compelling Brand Experiences

by Phenomblue / August 13, 2013

Note: This blog entry is available in English only.

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“We are born storytellers and listeners. We like to be entertained, moved and instructed, to connect with something larger than ourselves.”

— Big Thinking at the Bottom: Storytelling vs. Storyselling

Storytelling is inseparable from the human experience. Stories impart valuable lessons, entertain and delight us, cultivate our imaginations and communicate knowledge simultaneously. Moreover, they provide a useful cognitive framework for navigating new discoveries and experiences, ensuring cultural values and technical knowledge are not lost with every generation. We need stories to make sense of the world our technology continually builds. Without them, one could argue, there would be no progress.

For marketers, knowing how to use relevant technology to tell stories is fundamental to delivering a tangible brand experience. (For an in-depth report on using multiple screens to convey meaningful brand narratives, check out our free white paper, Big Thinking at the Bottom: Storytelling vs. Storyselling.)

In the beginning, stories were simple, didactic vehicles that spread the values of a particular civilization or culture by entertaining and engaging the listener. These stories were likely to start with “In the beginning…” and employ a no-frills, straightforward narrative experience via the technology of the day: the human voice. Usually, they conveyed a single big idea or theme. Our earliest narrative were the artistic equivalent to the wheel or the cart, functional, useful items that laid the groundwork for more complex tools and experiences.

As humans progressed culturally and scientifically, stories — like technology — become more intricate, challenging and better designed. With new storytelling technology like books, radio and film, narratives could now deliver a more immersive experience to parse meaning from an evolving world. They could take place at the speed of consciousness (Joyce), exist entirely as images (Chaplin) or accidentally provoke mass hysteria (Welles). Eventually, the design of a story became just as if not more important than its message.

The evolution of literary and dramatic storytelling can also be seen in the advertising world, which takes its cues from art. We see a similar progression from simplicity to complexity, from top-down campaigns orchestrated to disperse a single big idea through mainstream media, to responsive, real-time, novel interactions between brands and people drawing on a range of multiscreen tools.

Now, with consumers shaping the brand experience as much as marketers do, telling a meaningful story involves the development of platform-specific big ideas from the ground up, i.e., letting your audience shape the narrative, with minimal-yet-strategic guidance from you. It’s not that big ideas no longer matter, it’s just that our increasingly powerful technology has given rise to the equally powerful (if paradoxical) development of big ideas at the grassroots level, where technology mediates stories and interactions. Today, it’s not enough to develop one big idea and push it out to the masses, and then sit back and let the money roll in. Brands must now create big ideas specifically for each platform. Ideas must be transformed into compelling stories told for their distinct, yet interdependent, places in the ecosystem.

Download our white paper, Big Thinking at the Bottom: Storytelling vs. Storyselling, for in-depth strategic insights from our brand experience experts. This free report offers valuable advice for delivering utility and crafting meaningful stories via the devices people use every day.

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