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Troubleshooting

How to tell stories in the 21st century

Dave Starling

19 April, 2016 • 

We gathered the innovators to discuss the future of storytelling at Millennial 20/20

Brilliant storytellers gave advice on how to tell the best stories in 21st century at the two-day conference Millennial 20/20 that took place in London on 13-14 April.

We managed to bring together for a panel such great minds as Jon Eastman, TV and Digital Producer Director at BBC, Ash Bhardwaj, Digital Dandy Founder, Tom Burton, Interactive & Tech Lead for BBC Digital Storytelling and Seenit Founder Emily Forbes to give you an idea of the future of storytelling. The panel was led by Rod Banner, the guru in marketing and technology who sold his venture to WPP and leads 3LA.com now.

Emily Forbes explained why it is important to get the word of the crowd. “If you watch a video, and it is one person telling you the story, you might not relate to this person. If it is collaborative, you may have someone who has the same accent as you or have the same age as you. If you have multiple types of people it is way more likely that you are going very closely relate to at least one of those people in the story. It may have a much more powerful impact as well and a much higher distribution because of that”.

Jon Eastman stressed that the technology is not an enemy, but a friend of storytellers.

“Embrace change, influencers, and algorithms. Don’t fear them!”

There will always be a place for a director or a journalist to curate the content. Moreover, instead of sending a cameraman to people and asking questions, you can ask your contributors to share their own opinions. The innovators agreed that you need to have a diversified group of contributors that reflect the audience. You should encourage your contributors to be more creative. If you have the voices you did not expect to hear, it is not a problem. It actually makes the best videos, as Emily Forbes noted.

Today it is important to know both your audience and the differences between platforms. If you know your audience is on Facebook, you have to keep in mind you have only 10 seconds to tell a story. You should not focus only on one platform: the story could be reconstituted for different platforms.

What do these new ways of storytelling mean for business? The consumers have some much choice now, that it is especially important to build trust. And trust leads to loyalty and has an impact on purchase decisions.

We were very happy to see the hall fully packed with people interested in the talk and ready to ask questions. We hope to have more productive discussions on the future of storytelling in the future!

Here is also a video wrapping up the two days of the conference that includes a soundbite from the talk:

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