As the Fourth Industrial Revolution rapidly changes how people live, work, and communicate, the human currency of storytelling has never been more important nor the tools more varied. CW members can learn about these tools for a discounted rate at an upcoming event run by StoryLab. Its Director, Shreepali Patel, shares her perspective in this guest blog.
In an increasingly cluttered and noisy communications landscape, it is critical for organisations of all types to be able to tell purposeful, engaging stories that get attention and build understanding, action and advocacy.
Whether you are telling the ‘big picture’ origin, purpose and change stories or more granular stories about products, services, research, CSR; whether you are seeking to connect with customers, employees, stakeholders or supporters – the pillars of great storytelling are the same. It’s a meaningful narrative, communicated through the most effective forms and channels, to generate cognition, emotion and action.
Steve Jobs put it perfectly when he said, “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.”
At StoryLab we are concerned with the WHAT, HOW and WHY of storytelling. Storytelling may be as old as mankind but emerging technology presents us with a raft of new creative, content and platform opportunities. We adopt an immersive and participatory approach to storytelling that combines traditional forms of art, film, performance and photography with emerging technologies like 360, data visualisation, soundscapes, and VR.
Experimenting with novel types of creative and technological convergence allows us to communicate diverse perspectives, deepen narrative experiences and deliver real world outcomes. This is what connects our varied research projects - from immersive films documenting the experience of a new born in critical care and complex first-person narratives told via multiple screens, to in-situ soundscapes and 3D data visualisation engaging people with the realities of their cultural heritage.
As part of our research, we work alongside diverse representatives of the future audience of Gen Z-ers, which keeps us on our toes, testing innovative approaches to move forward. These rising generations are natives in the new landscape – they have grown up demanding transparency and expecting to be part of the story, and they are increasingly intolerant of inert, self-serving narrative tropes.
The criteria below are a good starting place for future-fit storytelling:
- Authentic – find the genuine stories that represent what you do and how and why you do it. Be transparent - show, don’t tell. Seek to surface unheard voices and enable diverse perspectives to replace the singular party-line of old.
- Experiential – think of ways to amplify the individual narrative experience. How can you gain attention and make the story more powerful using immersive techniques that engage the five senses and deepen engagement and emotional response?
- Interactive – don’t leave your audience out of the story. Let them choose a pathway, power a piece of technology or step into the picture or film. It can be as simple as answering a question, entering a piece of data or choosing/recording a response.
- Multi-modal – maximise efficiency, reach, accessibility and longevity by designing story pathways that use several different modes of activity and platforms over time. Think about supporting and evolving a core, lasting piece of rich narrative content.
- Meaningful – all great stories start with purpose. Why this narrative? How does it support our values? Who do we want to connect with? Why should they care? What do we want them to feel and do? And then how will we measure our impact?
The key is to remember that not everything makes a great story, but that everything has a great story in it if you craft it well. Stories are still the best way to connect with others and get ideas out into the world and with the new tools and platforms available to us we are really limited only by our imagination and invention.
Transformational Storytelling Workshop
On Wednesday 29th January 2020 StoryLab is running a full-day training course combining theory and practice to help communicators and marketers develop diverse, multi-modal stories with impact. The workshop includes a hands-on immersive technology session so places are strictly limited to 18.
For more information or to reserve a place click here. Early bird tickets are available until 15th November for £175 for CW members.
To find out more about the collaborative work at StoryLab or enquire about a bespoke LABORATORY session - where our award-winning creative and technical team works with an individual organisation on innovative story discovery and development – firstname.lastname@example.org