Launched in 2014’s bestselling book Storyscaping, our strategic approach has continued to fuel powerful thinking about brands and experiences at the intersection of story and technology. Our Storyscaping approach is a way of looking at the world that we have refined into a powerful model for working with brands, people and technology. Storyscaping’s principles guide how we create worlds, and we have had the opportunity to create some great ones in a huge range of sectors over the years. Born from our unique expertise in technology and storytelling, we are excited by the results that it has helped us, and our clients, achieve.
The Storyscaping approach’s two key components are the “Organizing Idea” and “Story Systems.” Inspired by the Organizing Idea, this approach transforms a great storyline into an immersive Story System, where people enjoy connecting with and participating in brand stories. It teaches us to delve deeper to understand consumers and, with that knowledge, craft opportunities for them to invite brands, products and services into their worlds — thus creating Shared Stories and building brand loyalty.
The Organizing Idea
An Organizing Idea does just what its name implies. It organizes. It’s a strategic idea that guides and organizes the interactions between consumers and brands that transpire across all channels, to build emotional connections and inspire behavior. The very premise of what content you create, curate, or associate ought to be considered relative to your Organizing Idea. A good Organizing Idea gives purpose and tangibility to how a story is communicated, expressed, delivered and experienced. Organizing Ideas are built from the insight and knowledge gathered during research about brands and their desired consumers. Without a connection to the Brand Purpose, the Organizing Idea is just an idea — and probably a random idea at that.
An Organizing Idea is the statement of action that defines what the brand must do to change consumer behavior. Marketing has long been dependent on the power of a great idea. And while great ideas are critical, it’s more important than ever to create systems in which ideas can live. The proliferation of channels, the power of microaudience targeting and the necessity of supporting multiple stories by and about every brand makes having a system essential to executing strategies. By establishing organizing ideas — not just big ideas — and thinking about systems that live in experiences and stories, brands can drive effectiveness on all levels of consumer engagement.
The second powerful aspect of the Storyscaping approach is the Story Systems emphasis, which enables the development of complete platforms for marketing, or as we like to say, “worlds of experience.” Organizing Ideas create great experiences when they are realized as part of a dynamic, multi-dimensional Story System that stretches across many channels and touchpoints, with well-tuned variations and adjustments.
The systems approach envisions content and experience as parts of a holistic, enveloping system rather than as components of a deterministic, linear journey. This is perhaps best expressed in the idea of an Experience Space. The Experience Space is a three-dimensional representation of the physical and virtual places where brands and consumers meet. It helps define the role of channels, the storyline connections and the types of experiences that matter.
The Experience space connects consumers and companies across (potentially) hundreds of channels.
Planning potential connection points across an Experience Space is key. It’s how marketers map all the possibilities to then narrow down the options by identifying the most effective brand-consumer connections. This canvas also helps them develop the technologies and platforms that connect the many points of the consumer experience.
By understanding the whole space of possibility, you can build interactions that, as the saying goes, end with a comma rather than a period (or “full stop”). A system’s aim is to allow every interaction and connection to inspire connections to other useful pieces of content or great experiences.