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Emerce eDay teaches us about Storytelling

In this article, we look back on a packed Emerce eDay in Amsterdam. We present three stories of people who have their own unique and creative approach to the concept of storytelling.

One of my favourite presentations was that of Shane Meeker (Procter & Gamble) entitled “Storytelling for Brands, Business and for You”. Meeker kicked off his presentation with a personal story about a trip to Disney World. He and his family had just arrived at the park when his young niece, squeezing a packet of ketchup, was suddenly covered in the contents. Immediately after, a concierge approached her and handed her a pass. A pass that would give her any dress she wanted so she would not have her picture taken in dirty clothes.

“Disney really understands a good story,” said Meeker. “What we remember about our trip to Disney World is not the awesome roller coasters and other cool rides but the story featuring the concierge. This story is so powerful because it spread through word of mouth.”

But how should a company present such a gripping story? Meeker gave an example of the hero, the obstacle and the treasure chest. “These are the basic components of a good story. The more extreme the obstacle, the bigger the treasure chest.” He recommended companies to take up the fourth role in such stories, namely that of the mentor. The party that helps, gives advice and always jumps in right before the obstacle. Sort of like Professor Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books and Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Virtual Reality Storytelling

Geert-Jan Strengholt (concept developer at VPRO) talked about the various forms of virtual reality and how to get people really involved. In an ideal situation, viewers are part of the virtual reality, are able to initiate an interaction and even influence the outcome.

The world has witnessed the introduction of Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google cardboard, Microsoft holo lens, Playstation VR, among many others. However, although technology is developing at a rapid pace, the content is lagging behind. Currently, content is very much free of obligation and users are consequently unable to establish a direct involvement.

In order to get the best out of virtual reality, Strengholt came up with the concept ‘peepshow’ for VPRO. The installation was placed on the festival site of Lowlands to introduce people to the virtual reality world. VPRO has published a video about the installation on their website.

Rise of the Drones

Ben Kreimer (Buzzfeed) is a famous journalist who tells unique stories with drones. Kreimer uses a drone of his own modification with which he can capture 360-degree videos. He also makes models based on the footage captured with the drone. A good example is a 3D map of the archaeological area ‘Antiochia ad Cragum Roman Mosaic in Turkey.

With these 3D models, Kreimer aims to evoke stronger feelings of involvement in his readership. For instance, he has made a 3D model of the garbage dump in Nairobi, which gives viewers insight into the pollution issue and the consequences. This model also made it clear that waste, much of which is toxic, ends up in the Nairobi river, thus endangering the areas along the river.

It was refreshing to see the speakers’ individual and creative approaches to storytelling. I found Emerce eDay 2015 a truly inspirational day with interesting talks!

October 13, 2015

This article has been published in Dutch on DutchCowboys.