Storytelling in the Digital Age

Some time ago, my little son was sitting in our living room playing with his toy cars. He loves those and separating him from them, when he is re-enacting a dramatic race is all but impossible. That day, though, something was different. I had just installed an app on my smartphone with which I could magically (to him, anyway) make a dragon appear. So, I asked him whether he wanted to see an awesome magic trick. Sure, he did. He came over and looked at my smartphone, when suddenly the dragon appeared out of nowhere and went flying across the room.


Now imagine the face of a nonplussed four-year-old boy and you’ll know what I was looking at in that moment. And I, of course, became a great magician in that little boy’s eyes. True story. What happened there? An alternate reality met the actual reality – I used the digital advantages of an app in combination with Augmented Reality in order to make myself a teller of magical stories. And you can do the same. Don’t believe me? Watch:

Digitalization offers many new perspectives for presenting products, brands and services in an entirely new context. Even though we’ve long arrived in the digital age, we are just now becoming aware of some useful technologies and concepts, which are eagerly awaiting their big entrance. One such concept is the link between storytelling and digital opportunities.

Storytelling meets Augmented Reality

Telling stories is one of the oldest methods of getting your point across. You will doubtlessly still remember some of the stories you were told as a child. They were fascinating, emotional and full of pictures and emotions, conquests and defeats. Storytelling on a business level uses the exact same building blocks in order to more effectively communicate with their audience.

An interesting opportunity to make your storytelling even more sustainable with the help of digital content is presented in the form of Augmented Reality. This combination allows for an effective presentation of complex products or services in showrooms, at trade shows and the like.

Many people will thus be wowed by your creatively told stories – they might even be in absolute awe, like my son. Together with a gripping story, your interaction with your audience (or in the best case, your customers) will become a highlight they’ll likely remember for a while. Also your marketing and sales divisions will be livened up quite a bit when digital and actual realities mix. Why? Because you create a unique experience for your clients which are fun and entertaining – it really doesn’t matter which industry you’re in. Use it for trade shows or any other kind of visualization.


Storytelling meets App-Marketing

Nowadays, mobile apps are pre-installed on every smartphone and on many smart TVs. News, weather forecasts, the latest info on the stock market or opportunities to shop online – they have truly become a part of our lives. Apps offer many ways of communication, of bringing people information. Many companies, of course, have already grasped this opportunity and use app marketing in order to better target their online community. So how can we combine this with our age-old storytelling?

Well, a little bit of it depends on how you tell your stories. For me, storytelling always means getting my point across in an entertaining and playful way, in order to communicate it more effectively.

So you see, it’s not only about providing the facts and info concisely and in one place, but also about letting the users experience your brand, products and other contents with the help of an interesting and memorable story.

One place to do this within an app is the tutorial which is the first thing your users will see when they open the app and which explains all the necessary functions. Maybe you want to use this opportunity to show them a video that tells a story as opposed to a few simple functional illustrations. You can find more on how an app is created here, if you’re interested.

Another example is related to the dragon I showed you at the start. We created it within the context of an Augmented Reality campaign for the Australian youth organization “uConnectHealth”. Visitors to a street fair could take photographs with the dragon and other 3D creatures, which were actually used to draw attention to various health topics especially important for young people. So instead of simply being told some facts about health, they did something they enjoyed and learned a few things in the progress.

With text, pictures, audio and video contents available in your app, you can thus tell gripping stories about your products, brands, services or whatever else you want people to know. Especially the latest developments like Google Tango or Apple’s ARKit (which will be publicly available in fall), which use depth sensors and other cool features, help you to create even more interactive experiences and tell your story somewhere between the real and the digital world. Visitors to trade shows or museums, for example, can thus gain new insights or perspectives from the comfort of their own smartphones.

And all of your content can, of course be liked or shared on other platforms directly from the app. Also, for the marketing aficionados among you, there’s one more important buzzword to mention here: retargeting!

Where do we go from here?

In the digital age, solutions like Augmented Reality visualizations and apps give you a whole new range of storytelling opportunities. And the same is true in reverse – people will always love stories, identify with them and like to consume entertaining and interesting content. So, it’s just a question of how we answer this call for stories. How can we create a continuous narrative spanning the real and digital worlds? Well, I think using what the ongoing digitalization has to offer in terms of integrations, interconnectivity and interactivity together with our best storytelling abilities is a pretty good start.

Companies who already use storytelling to market their contents or plan to do it in the future will not only find great added value in the possibilities of the digital age but might enter an entirely new dimension in their communication efforts. The combination of a method we have been perfecting since the stone age and the new digital multimedia world is only the first level of a long-lasting development process we are right in the middle of. Are you already a part of it as well?