Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The art of engagement

*Source http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4001/is_200310/ai_n9310368/print

Stephen Denning, "Storytelling is natural and easy and entertaining and energizing. Stories help us to understand complexity. Stories can enhance or change perceptions. Stories are easy to remember...and engage our feelings...Storytelling enables individuals to see themselves in a different light, and accordingly take decisions, and change their behavior in accordance with these new perceptions, insights, and identities."

"Stories are how we explain, how we teach, how we entertain ourselves, and how we often do all three at once. They are the juncture where facts and feelings meet. And for those reasons, are central to civilization."

Gardner posits that there are three fundamental kinds of stories: stories of self, stories of the group or community, and stories of value and meaning.

every good story involves the listener in the story, and encourages the listener to interpret and complete the story in his or her head.

stories can be compellingly told with few, or without any, words.

communication design is uniquely situated at the intersection of verbal and nonverbal communications.

Elements of effective stories include:

* Relevance
* A back-story-what happened before,offer opportunities to deepen the relationship
* Something unfamiliar or not known.
* Something explained or made sense of.
* A discourse that is plausible and has the ring of truth (the teller is believable and trustworthy).
* Character. Who/what is the story about? Me? You? Us? A larger community? Values or meaning?
* Progression. A beginning, a middle, and some form of closure that encourages the listener to view the world slightly differently-often translating to set-up, build-up, and pay-off.

* Detail. What specific things or points need to be described more fully and focused upon to increase relevance, resonance, and truth for the audience-to move them to think or act differently?
* A proposal to think or act differently.


"Telling involves.. .contact between teller and listener.... The teller's role is to prepare and present the necessary language, vocalization, and physicality to effectively and efficiently communicate the images of a story. The listener's role is to actively create the vivid, multi-sensory images, actions, characters, and events-the reality-of the story in their mind based on the performance by the teller, and on their past experiences, beliefs, and understandings. The completed story happens in the mind of the listener."7


1. Between and among the "executed" components of content

2. Between the teller and the listener (audience/constituent/prospect)

* http://www.businessweek.com

Enter Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the eccentric ad shop in Miami that's known for using viral marketing and creating nutty characters like the Subservient Chicken for Burger King Holdings Inc.'s ailing franchises.

It famously helped solve Burger King's irrelevancy problem, especially with consumers aged 14-25, with the Subservient Chicken Web site, where a visitor could make a chicken do almost anything on command -- dust furniture or play air guitar.

That simple, inexpensive, wacky idea has generated a staggering 460 million-plus hits in two years and helped Burger King post its first string of positive growth quarters in a decade. The agency's relaunch of the MINI brand helped the unit of BMW surpass sales targets by 80%. Crispin's success has fueled growth in its own staff from 105 in 2000 to 438. As it transforms marketing messages into entertainment time and again, "the agency has been redefining what consumers even recognize as advertising," says rival and admirer Jeff Goodby, co-chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

Crispin's employee handbook says advertising is "anything that makes our clients famous."

German-accented, dominatrix-type blonde bombshell named Helga. She appears in ads with an effete German engineer named Wolfgang, whose message to introduce the GTI hatchback is "Unpimp Your Auto," a swipe at the over-accessorized, high-performance small Japanese cars often dubbed "rice rockets." Billboards for the GTI read "Auf Wiedersehen, sucka" and "Fast as Schnell."

Helga and Wolfgang, says Hicks, are an example of taking an audience to a place they didn't know they wanted to go. "A lot of advertisers try and mirror what the research tells them. What we do is try and make the brand part of the pop culture."

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