May 12, 2021
Storytelling

How to use digital storytelling at the office without breaking the bank

A step-by-step plan how to build your story and busted myths about office AV solutions.
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Why traditional presentations should belong to the past

Remember PowerPoint presentations? I mean, do you really remember them? Perhaps some facts or figures jumped out and stuck in your head, but the chances are that you only recall a tiny percentage of all those boring bullet points, bar graphs and – yes – actual paragraphs projected onto a screen.  

Producing a good quality ‘visual aid’ was once seen as a benchmark of a good quality presentation, but now we understand that the impact is not as big as we thought. In some cases it may actually impede our information processing and retention by splitting our attention between two distinct ‘plotlines’.

For a long time, bullet-point slides were considered to be a visual storytelling aid. It was assumed that the information was processed in the visual part of our brain. This, however, turns out to be a corporate myth.

So, while you’re standing there talking, the audience is sitting and staring at your bullet points - not ‘taking in’ either the facts on the screen, or the context given in your speech.

For a long time, bullet-point slides were considered to be a visual storytelling aid. It was assumed that the information was processed in the visual part of our brain. This, however, turns out to be a corporate myth.  

The link between sensory experience and memory

Our brains are wired for multi-sensory inputs, and we weave these together to form an internal story of ‘what’s going on’. We anchor our memories with different sensory experiences too – this is why smells can be so evocative. 

The human brain is particularly good at processing visual information. For a long time, people therefore believed that using visual aids with your oral presentation would make it more memorable.

However, data and diagrams are not visual information. They are numerical, textual or contextual information in a visual wrapper. It actually takes work to understand it. The information it contains needs to be unpacked and processed by the same parts of the brain that handle numbers, text and verbal data – which means your attention is split between trying to understand what you see and to understand what you hear.

So, although a compelling visual aid can help make things more memorable, they will most likely have the opposite effect. 

Today, digital storytelling is seen as the gold standard for engaging audiences. With a cohesive, unified ‘plotline’ to follow, the brain is easily able to weave together the different elements into a memorable experience.

Unlike a ‘traditional’ presentation, a digital story will come already unpacked, and served in the most digestible form. Even facts and figures become memorable when they are presented in this way – it is basically the same trick mnemonists use to memorise long strings of numbers or playing cards in a deck – they turn it into a story.

An immersive storytelling experience can do things a regular presentation simply can’t, like showing your clients what your product will look like in store, in real-life situations, or visualising an entire product range before prototypes are even made. ‘Narrowcasting’ a brand message becomes even easier with this medium, as different versions of experiences are more easily produced and served to selected audiences.

It is now even possible to turn your office into the ultimate stage for your storytelling

This might seem like a serious challenge, but you can really engage with your target audience by creating inspiring business stories. It is now even possible to turn your office into the ultimate stage for your storytelling performance, without prohibitive cost.

Upgrading your office communication for immersive storytelling

You don’t need to ditch your current Audio-visual (AV) equipment to create a digital storytelling experience with sticking power - at least not yet. Most offices will have some kind of screens for displays, but it’s what you do with it that really counts.

A more powerful AV setup will certainly help – but only if your brand story is up to scratch to begin with. Even if you already have an established brand story, you should regularly review this so you keep up with the zeitgeist. Times change, and so do people. Both marketing and management have a role in defining this brand story, because everyone needs to be in alignment.

Having a sound grasp of your brand story from the outset is a must. Your story begins from the first moment your clients encounter your brand, so each touchpoint needs to incorporate your brand identity, using visual and auditory cues. You’ll need to review and upgrade your office communication strategy too. Then you build a step-by-step plan for how you will build your ‘stories’ in the future.

Step 1: Get your story straight

Your brand story is your identity – it is how clients and employees will see you. Your first step should be to distil and define it, so it is crystal-clear. This will help ensure it pervades everything you do, from internal office communications to ambient music in the reception area. Think about your goals and ideals (as a company), and about the emotional reason people should support your enterprise. Consider your origin story and challenges your company has faced.

Having a clear understanding of what represents your company visually will help you maintain the same brand image in the future too.

Step 2:  Visualising your story

People remember 80% of what they see, 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read, so having a clear ‘brand story’ visualisation is key. Select emotive visuals that will support your brand story. This will help your company message stick. Having a clear understanding of what represents your company visually will help you maintain the same brand image in the future too. It can help you choose other supporting elements (like music). Again, this doesn’t need to be exclusive to immersive presentations – it can extend to the pictures hanging in the foyer and office space too. Everything people can see, hear, and feel in your office can support your brand identity.

People want to work with other people, not just a corporation – so making a resonant emotional connection will form a rock-solid foundation for the future.

Step 3: Linking your story to your customer/employee journey

Ever meet someone you just clicked with? Shared interests, hobbies, experiences, and struggles – all these help us form strong connections with other people. This is what you want to recreate by linking your brand story to the audience’s own experience or journey. People want to work with other people, not just a corporation – so making a resonant emotional connection will form a rock-solid foundation for the future. You can narrowcast to targeted groups more effectively when you can digitally customise and connect your brand experience to the audience’s own journey. Consider what makes your target audience tick, and make sure the connection to their own journey is obvious.

Hyro Stream IX

Step 4: Picking your (AV) medium 

Remember, your visual story is more than just a presentation – it is the whole way your brand presents itself. Each touchpoint should align, but they should also guide toward the main message: “The Big Show”. For this we need the right AV technology, and a well-crafted and targeted digital storytelling experience. The more immersive the experience, the more possibilities it has - but you have to be realistic too. There are some amazing AV setups available, but they need to fit within your budget and your office space. As the Hyro Stream IX demonstrates, you can pack a powerful punch in a small package. Using the Hyro software, you can actually use any AV display medium you choose. Short-throw projectors are also great options if you can provide the enclosed space and screen. Want to really impress? Then an Immersive Experience room will take your audience on a journey they will not forget.

Every touchpoint that you have with an employee or a customer as they move through your office, provides an opportunity for storytelling. 

The multi-functional qualities of a good AV setup should be more widely acknowledged. They can be used for all kinds of communication, including internal messages, training, and webinars. Using a powerful visual story will make it more effective, so your AV investment can be used to squeeze the most from any kind of message. 

Every touchpoint that you have with an employee or a customer as they move through your office, provides an opportunity for storytelling. 

Having powerful AV technology will really drive home your digital story, but it is even more powerful when that journey is supported by visual, auditory or olfactory elements throughout your office. Just remember to be consistent with your brand story throughout. You have so many opportunities to cultivate your identity, throughout your office space and with every communication and touchpoint you have with clients (and employees!).

Busted! 2 Big Myths about office AV solutions 

There is a lot to choose from: standard TV screens, projectors, and 360° immersive experience rooms, and more besides. Remember, the goal is to grab attention and communicate your story effectively - not to throw a bunch of money at big fancy screens.   

There are 2 major myths about AV solutions for companies that need busted – right now:

Myth #1: AV solutions for interactive and immersive storytelling are immensely expensive.

No. You don’t need to spend big to have a big impact. The biggest effect is seen from a powerfully constructed digital story, through whatever means. The best investment is actually in storytelling software that can adapt to any AV technology. Now, and in the future.

You can even use a simple touchscreen to engage with your customers, if the right software is used.

Using a versatile storytelling software solution like Hyro, you can use and re-use existing digital assets in a multitude of ways. The chances are you already have a lot of material on file, which makes this a budget-friendly way of starting to build a more interactive experience. After auditing your existing content (and discarding anything that isn’t ‘on message’), you can see where the gaps are and focus on those.

Hyro re-using existing AV at Microsoft office

You can also ‘step it up a notch’ using an immersive offensive that you take to your audience. An immersive experience truck can bring a fully-interactive and multisensory experience directly to your clients - and the best part is that this can be rented or leased. 

Myth #2: AV solutions are difficult to manage and require a lot of technical support.

A well-planned AV solution should be easy to operate. It’s true that in the past customised solutions have been a pain to operate, meaning that the utilisation rate is often lower than it should be.

Those days are behind us now, and intuitive plug-and-play systems are now the norm. Once it’s all set-up, it’s done. This means you can focus on what has the biggest impact, instead of worrying about the technical aspects.

Again, with the right software, digital storytelling becomes easy. You can construct engaging experiences, work collaboratively in the cloud, and show these experiences to a multitude of different audiences via different means.

Putting storytelling into practice at the office 

Could this meeting have been an email? Your corporate communication should always be more than just information exchange.

With a carefully-constructed visual brand story, it can be an experience that is memorable and joyful for the audience. We know from how the brain processes and stores information that building a rich story is key to making it memorable.

With a strong visual story that begins when they first step through the door, we can inspire and engage the audience.

Need a helping hand in figuring out the best ways to integrate visual storytelling at your office? Get in touch with us! We’re more than happy to show you the different possibilities and discuss the best strategy for your business.

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