Strategies & Tactics

Standing Out With Storyliving

February 4, 2019

[shutterstock]
[shutterstock]

Do you ever wonder how to make your stories stand out from the zillions of messages that your audience receives every day?

With the average person receiving 10,000 messages a day, it’s no wonder we need to secure a superb creative team that can keep up with our diminishing attention spans! Messages don’t stick with people as easily as they once did and, oftentimes, brand promises are disregarded or misunderstood. This, paired with the rise of AR/VR tech, the decline of brand trust and the fact that storytelling has been the buzzword for several years now makes us rethink how we approach storytelling in 2019. How do we craft our messages so that they are still authentic, outstanding, engaging and meaningful?

Identifying great stories and picking the best talent to tell those stories are essential, but it’s still not enough for Gen Zers who are seeking an immersive experience. Organizations and brands ought to consider stepping up their storytelling game by augmenting these stories and bringing them to life. Instead of telling a story, you should demonstrate how that story is relevant by making it a real experience. Involve your audience by “storyliving.”

Storyliving, which was coined by Google in a study in 2017, is a way to enhance a brand’s authenticity, drive change and live the brand story in real life. It allows your audience to engage with your brand in a meaningful, impactful and disruptive sensory experience.

How do you get started? Here are three ways to help you step up your storytelling game and get in the storyliving mindset:

1. Develop a 360/VR content strategy.

You can boost your audience’s awareness and engagement if you incorporate immersive experiences like 360-degree pictures. Why? It’s because we view VR messages and stories in a much deeper, more meaningful way. VR creates the platform for multisensory communications — not only do users read and see but they also feel, hear and touch, creating a stronger connection between branded message and customer experience.

The more interactive and immersive the experience is, the stronger impact your brand message will have on the user. According to Medium, 70 percent of marketers who have used 360 videos say it has increased engagement. The University of Maryland also found an 8.8 percent improvement overall in recall accuracy while using VR headsets in another recent study. So it works!

2. Educate and challenge your audiences.

A major advantage to VR or AR is that they allow brands to bridge geographic distance gaps and provide an insight to the realities of other cultures and communities across the globe. Organizations can leverage the ability to connect with publics and provide the platform to convey, develop or provoke empathy and understanding. Audiences take VR messages and stories to heart in deeper and potentially longer-lasting ways.

3. Go for the feels.

One of the greatest advantages of a VR headset is that the viewer enters a space where there aren’t any distractions or interruptions. It is a completely controlled but sensory-rich environment where the users seek and achieve desired sensations or emotional states, which can help with emotional management.

For users with busy personal or professional lives, Google’s study found that VR can offer a space to experience solitude and connect with the inner self and emotions from the comfort of the office, bed or couch. For busy parents who are longing for a break, VR can offer a kid-free space to relax and de-stress while the kids are at school.

If you think about this in the communications and marketing context, it can open a new world of opportunities for brand placement and collaboration, expanding the emotional impact of storyliving not only for your brand and audiences but also for others whom you work with. 

Andrea Gils

Andrea Gils, a native of Uruguay, is the marketing and communications manager at the University of Kentucky International Center. She was on the PRSA New Pros National Committee in 2016, currently serves on the PRSA National Diversity & Inclusion National Committee and is a Champion for PRSSA. Connect with her on LinkedIn: andreagils.

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