With the increase in technological options and channels, stories remain relevant today as they ever have. Stories are hardwired into the human brain. Darren McColl, global chief brand strategy officer at SapientNitro, explained, "A lot of this is instinctive. Stories are the structure. Stories are how we make sense of the world and our place within it." McColl highlighted the importance of storytelling and crafting tales for our audiences at the iMedia Agency Summit. "As marketers, we leverage stories to change perceptions and shift behaviors," McColl said. Today's consumer isn't satisfied with being told a story. They want to be part of the story. Stories are no longer linear. McColl's showcased how the Harry Potter series of books has expanded to include movies, games, and even a theme park -- each with a completely different experience. Stories are now systems. Taking the Harry Potter example further, McColl explained Pottermore, a deeper community experiences, and the Harry Potter Alliance, a community charity that takes its mission to heart so much that it took Warner Bros. to task for using cocoa produced with child labor in Harry Potter-themed chocolate sold at its theme parks. Storytelling is the sharing of events with words, images, sounds, and/or experiences -- sometimes with improvisation or embellishment. "It's a dimension of marketing that we have all an opportunity to evolve," McColl said. We learn more from experience, and there's a shift from stories told to stories lived. And there's an opportunity for participation we can now engender through technology. Marketers need to focus on:
- Conscious events
- Creating voluntary and sensory attention
- Driving explicit and implicit memory
To build a connection w/ people and things that people aren't connected to naturally, the story has to be amazing. "The content has to be powerfully connected," he explained. Creating story engagement continues to evolve. We must learn to create worlds, not just ads, sites, or apps. We have to think about the world we connect it to. Simply said, the human condition remains relatively unchanged. The world evolves much faster.