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How can digital amplify your story?

How can using digital tools enhance your story? Watch as Gary Hoff gives you examples and tips on how to use tech to boost your narrative.
In this final week, we’re going to look at ways that you can use digital to enhance a story. You want the user to get lost in the story, to really believe it. So you need to make them feel that they’re living it. This is called suspension of disbelief. And using digital gives you a great collection of tools to help to achieve this. Think about all the various techniques you can use with digital. You can use sound, scale, motion, music, animation, location. They can all help you take the story and amplify it. How can you bring all of these different techniques into the devices you’re using on the platform? Think about how to get away from just passive participation.
How can you involve the user instead of just watching a video? Can you use motion so that the footage moves around the user as they move their device? You might be telling a ghost story which is set in a city somewhere. Rather than the user just reading the story on their phone, why not put the audio of the story onto the device and then you could use geotagging, so the user will walk around the city at night time and as they walk past the locations in the story, the device will trigger to play that part of the story that happened in that very spot.
All of a sudden, with the use of sound, location, and participation, the user feels like they’re inside that story. That’s just one way of using digital. In this case, mobile, location, and audio. Very simple techniques to amplify the story.
A great example of this is Droga5’s campaign ‘Recalling 1993’. All a user has to do is dial a number on a telephone box. [PHONE RINGING] Hi.
[PHONE RINGING] 1993 was a war zone in New York. Cabbies would… So they’ve used all of the phone boxes in New York as effectively part of the story. There are 5,000 phone boxes, and they’ve recorded stories from 1993. It was a great time. By using locations specific to the stories, using the audio and the physical phone boxes, they’ve created this immersive experience which then takes the user back to that place in time. It’s effectively like a time machine on every corner of New York. While you’re thinking about all the different techniques you could use to immerse the user in the story, it can also help to think about the reward they will get.
Why should they participate and immerse themselves in the story, what’s in it for them? Are you trying to evoke an emotion? Do you want them to laugh or cry? And crucially for the brand, what action do you want them to take? Think about how to bring this in and how technology in digital might help you achieve this. This all might sound a bit daunting. People are often nervous about how they’re actually going to make something in digital. They might have a great idea but shy away because they don’t know how to deliver it. An unique perspective on the world of The Hobbit by using the new capabilities of Chrome for mobile devices.
Don’t be afraid to collaborate, like team up with people that can write code, that can animate, that work in technology. Build up your contacts just as you would your black book in the film world and bring those people together in the production stage. You don’t have to be someone who can do it all. The most important thing is that you have a great idea and a story worth telling.
Using digital is a great way to immerse your audience in your story and really get them involved in it. There are loads of different ways to do this, but make sure you choose your techniques carefully and think about what you want to achieve in amplifying your story.
Don’t forget that the user is putting in effort here in engaging with your story, so you need to think about what’s in it for them. Once you have a great idea, don’t be put off if you don’t know how to execute it. This course is all about ideas, and as Gary says, you can partner with people who can bring your ideas to life using digital.
If you’re interested in learning more about building your own digital tools, you can explore the collection of Online & Digital courses offered on FutureLearn.
You can have a closer look at some of the digital projects by following the links below. You will have seen some of them already.
Two Minute Task
Can you think of any other examples of innovative use of digital to help tell a brand story, for example websites or apps? Share links to the work below for fellow learners to explore, along with a brief explanation of why you think it’s effective.
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Storytelling in Advertising

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