As the Internet began to really take hold as both social and business phenomenon in the late ’90s we were presented with opportunities that crossed our paths and compelled us to move into the Dot.Com era (an idea that got funded had a little something to do with it – see One World Journeys (circa 2000) for a trip in the ‘way back machine’).
However, we were neither designers, nor programmers. Our backgrounds were in communications — part journalism, part PR, part marketing and advertising, etc.
So, during an era when everything seemed focused on building the biggest portal with the fastest loading pages selling stuff at the cheapest prices, and shipping it for free, it was hard to break through the noise with our views about the effective use of storytelling-based communications via the web.
But all that’s begun to change.
Here’s why — as a company, our communications mantra has always been along the lines of:
Use compelling digital (i.e. online) storytelling to inspire, inform and influence the internet audience.
We arrived at this vision through the filter of our backgrounds, through our own epiphanies about Internet communications and through learning about the Internet audience. Eventually, we came to embrace the following:
- The Internet offers every opportunity to reach people by appealing to their emotions, in much the same way that quality TV, cinema, radio and print programming has been doing for years; this has informed the “Inspire” part …
- The Internet has become the de facto information resource, at home, office and school, and that combining contextual content with compelling storytelling, enables you to teach people something; this has formed the “Inform” part …
- We believe that if you successfully combine the Inspire and Inform parts you can bring about an action, be it a change in behavior or an opinion, or a desire to donate to a foundation or the desire to purchase a product; this has formed the “Influence” part …
- And finally, underlying all of this, the storytelling — the presentation of content — has to be authentic. Whether for an initiative that’s trying to influence opinions about environmental or health issues, or trying to sell a product, the storytelling has to have a quality of authenticity that is neither forced nor fabricated. There has to be a tangible sense of caring, and a passion for the subject matter. The internet audience is too savvy for anything else.
Today, more than ever, there is a use, and even a demand, for compelling online storytelling.
In this blog, we’ll explore the role of compelling online storytelling. We’ll bring you examples of what we think are great practices. We’ll share some of our own projects along the way and talk about what’s been effective.
We’ll also talk about the role of professionally produced editorial content in the Web 2.0 world of consumer-generated content and social networks.
And then we’ll just see where all that leads us.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned!