November 2, 2017

IAB Engage: storytelling

The IAB’s annual Engage conference didn’t fail to deliver on great content or inspiration. Account Director, Alastair Kidner, has looked to summarise his key takeouts from the day. Part three looks at storytelling. The final big take-outs from the Engage conference revolved around the idea of storytelling, particularly in lieu of the other two big themes discussed earlier. This seemed to be a rallying cry against solely pinning hopes for marketing success on the likes of Machine Learning and AI, with a call for marketers to consider how brands should look to open up a two-way discussion with customers, rather than a one-way dictation. This was evidenced no better than by Jennie Price from Sport England (‘This Girl Can’) where they first worked closely with data to draw meaningful insight, but then stepped back so they could then use this to inform on a strong, emotional narrative.

Emily Somers from McDonald’s (‘Myths, Misinformation and McDonald’s’) actually centered her entire talk around storytelling, discussing how it was essential to tie in this technique to tell their own fact-based narrative with the right storytellers who would elicit trust in the younger generation. Katy Newton from Media Innovation (‘Hocus Pocus – What VR can learn’) took this a step further, framing her concerns for the future of Virtual Reality as a marketing tool around whether the correct steps were being taken to ensure that brand stories remained intact. Her allusions to magic tricks were particularly effective, highlighting that for magicians it’s all about the audience, that ‘confusion is not magic’ and that this shouldn’t be any different for Virtual Reality marketing attempts.Finally it was left to the incredible experiences of David Walsh from The Times to highlight the power of storytelling. Against the backdrop of fake news and this new ‘easy way of storytelling’ he ushered a caution against such practices by describing how telling a story about an ugly truth should always win against telling a story which turns into a beautiful lie.Read part one and part two. Alastair Kidner, Account Director

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