This week’s discussion in Digital Storytelling class asked how technology has changed the storytelling process. At first I was a little thrown by the topic, that is until it registered that as marketers, we do nothing but tell a story. Hopefully it’s a story that people want to buy into. The real objective today is how to tell a story that will become viral enough for the Business 2.0 world to want to share it. It’s not as hard as one might think.
First, let me address the question asked in class and then we’ll discuss how the topic affects one’s business. My position is that I believe a large level of one’s use of active imagination has been lost due to the new forms of technological storytelling. Think about it. Technology offers us a list of options that seem as if they’re variables one can choose from (ie. Setting up an Avatar for a game); however, it’s my opinion that they are not true variables. They are items or options that the game designers have preselected for one to choose from. In essence, one is creating the story within the boundaries that have been preselected for us. In simplest terms, it’s a level of being creative within the box.
So then why is it soooo popular? It’s simple. That’s it. It’s “simple”. People are on information overkill and to have a list of prefabricated options (as abundant as they seem) is easier to follow the ‘simple’ than to have to reinvent the wheel. Imagination takes work and in today’s world, who has the time to spend on it? As sad as that makes me, I’ve decided to embrace the fact that if the world is responding the box formula, then it’s my job to help my client do it right.
Before I share how I think this affects Business 2.O, I have one more rant to make about the topic of creativity within the box. That point is one of ‘ownership’. Simply put, when the viewer is handed the prefabricated kit for him to put together the story, he has a whole lot less ownership over the end result. The result is that he then becomes a bigger fan of the ‘disposable’ stories or in this case disposable entertainment value.
Now let’s get down to what really matters. How does this affect business today? More specifically, how does it impact Business 2.0? Easy formula, ready? The more your marketing message has ‘disposable’ entertainment value, the better it will perform for you on a viral level. Huh? You say. Think about it….better yet stop thinking so much!
People want quick, easy to share, easy to understand entertainment. That’s what makes them pay attention and that’s what gets them to want to share it with others. So here’s some more: The more your marketing message identifies the obvious the better. Even better than that, the more your message pokes fun at the obvious, the better. Best of all, push the buck a bit and add a little stroke of controversy and you’ve got a hit on your hands. Nothing too mind blowing, just enough to stir up some emotion, cause people to move on it.
Tip for my Millennial Boomers out there: Get Gen Y to give you feedback. Post your idea on MySpace or even better YouTube a video talking about it. They’re going to know what it needs to become viral…I guarantee it!