Every age has its innovative format for storytelling. The oral tradition proceeded to innovations like the printed book’s texts and illustrations, to proceed to moving image and sound in the form of film, radio and TV. What is significant is that the power of a good story independently of format can move mountains and breakthrough walls. The energy that drives pioneering stories are an engaging mix of aesthetic, logic and dreams that are possible to achieve or not. Today, in the digital age, the innovation is that the receiver takes a further step into the story by interacting within it.
Steven Spielberg about the power of storytelling
“The most amazing thing for me is that every single person who sees a movie, not necessarily one of my movies, brings a whole set of unique experiences. Now, through careful manipulation and good storytelling, you can get everybody to clap at the same time, to hopefully laugh at the same time, and to be afraid at the same time.”
It is then the personal unique experiences that are engaging, while the careful manipulation should appear on different points in the story to create shared reactions. The purpose with this type of reactions is to spread from human to human. In the digital world this is called viral marketing, in the old word of mouth.
Digital storytelling from reactions to interactions
Businesses storytelling is aiming to transform interest to engagement and further to purchase, and even further to feedback and the beginning to a good customer-relation. The stories should thereby communicate the brand’s values and content at same time as it forms the foundation of a sales-process. In earlier ages the purpose of such stories has been to trigger reactions while in the digital the receiver by themselves can interact in the storytelling when using the new technology. To use the digital story is thereby a method for interaction, where the possibilities not only consist of triggering reactions but also make it possible for the receiver to change and improve as well as learn by doing. The unique mix of experiences increases and is deepened in this way also engagement.
How to choose format and tell the story?
For businesses and other organisations the target group for the story is crucial. Digital storytelling is often the most engaging in general, but not for all target groups and messages. The medium is still a vital part of the message as Marshall MacLuhan explained in his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man from 1964. This idea is probably even more accurate today than back in 1964. Especially since there are more diverse line of formats with different characteristics and abilities to engage different target groups.