January 31, 2016

WHERE STORYTELLING ORIGINATES FROM

Last week I did a keynote speech on Storytelling. I talked to a European group of marketing directors. It was an inspiring session and a lively debate. But after a couple of minutes I got the impression that everyone was talking about something different. All used the term "Storytelling" often and naturally. But when you listen carefully it was clear that everyone had not only a different view on this topic, they also had a different definition of "Storytelling".

What do you mean by "Storytelling"?
It reminded me how important it is to clearify the definition of "Storytelling" as there are hundreds of definitions out there. I´ll try to simplify this conversation by using four, well, five different definitions. 
Hopefully you detect your own definition in the following and you are inspired by one or two others:

1. Rhetoric Technique
The simplest practice of "Storytelling" is within speeches or presentations. In your next speech sprinkle in some little anecdotes - scenes from your personal life, incidents that happen to you lately, extrodinary or odinary observations etc. Present this tiny little "mini-stories" with a simple, active and bold language. This will turn your talk into an individual, emotional and highly memorable speech. "Storytelling" is a very effective rhetoric technique, helpful to everyone who has to speak in front auf others. Leaders benefit from this technique most. Steve Denning has writen a wonderful and very inspiring book about leadership stories. One take away from his "Leader´s Guide to Storytelling": Leadership-Stories must be 1. true, 2. have to have a positive and motivating end, 3. have to be short so they can be repeated easily. 

2. Narrative Journalism
Journalists use the term "story" all the time. So is "Storytelling" another word for journalism? Well, yes and now. Any journalist searches for news. Those with the highest attention are called "big stories". That´s what drives a journalist - to find a story like "Watergate" or any "-gate" . But that´s not the only connection between "Storytelling" and "Journalism". "Narrative" journalism, a specific form of journalistic writing, is becoming more and more popular. In comparison to an objective writing style, "narrative jouralism" presents a topic through the lense of an involved protagonist. There are fans and critics of this form of journalism. Critics expostulate that narrative jouralism is too subjective, too simple and tabloid. On the other hand: the audience loves this stories, so the press gets used to it.

3. Corporate Stories
What´s the heritage of this brand? Where does a corporation comes from? This questions can be answered with a Corporate Story. So yes, the term "Storytelling" is associated with Corporate Identity. Vison, mission, brand values - all this play into here. The best footage for great corporate storie are the men and women who founded a company. Most they started their business in a garage (or small pharmacy) and turned it into a multmillion brand. That´s the most popular story-archetype: from rags to riches. See Steve Jobs for Apple, Dr. John S. Pemberton for Coca Cola or Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz - founder of Mercedes-Benz.

4. Drama
Hey, we should have started with this definition: storytelling at its core. Novelists and script writers do "Storytelling". It is an art form and a knowledge sharing system. Since 40.000 years mankind works with stories. The first cave drawings are a proof point that already in the early days we used stories to capture information and hand it over from generation to generation. Fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood are more than 5000 years old. The Grimm Brothers only collected them intheir famous book of "Kinder- und Hausmaerchen" 1812.  The ingrediences of a great story are a "main character", a "conflict" and a journey. But most important stories encourage their audience to immerses into new worlds and unleash their fantasy than no other medium. 

5. Structures and Blueprints
At least I want to mention one more category or field where the term "Storytelling" or "story" is used very often. In my opinion: too often. Over and over the word "story" is used instead of "content", "structure" or "composition". Aristotle was the first to define three key elements of a story: Beginning, Middle and End. The German author Gustav Freytag described the structure of a drama in his book "Techniken des Dramas" 1863 as a pyramid or arc with five stages: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Resolution. Therefore the term "story" helps to define the structure or composition of a piece of work (e.g. an advertising spot, a press release or an online video). It´s not so much about the content itself, it´s more about the journey the audience is taken on while watching or listening to the piece of content.

Is this helpful? I do hope the next time you talk about "Storytelling" you  clearify upfront what you are talking about.

January 25, 2016

GESCHICHTEN SIND MITTEL DER WELTDEUTUNG

"Der Mensch braucht einfach Weltdeutungsbrillen, die Orientierung geben. Es braucht kulturelle Praktiken der Vereinfachtug, um in der Komplexität der Welt zu bestehen." Ein herrliches Zitat von der Literaturwissenschaftlern Stephanie Wodianka über die Funktion von Mythen und Geschichten. Sie leitet das Projekt "Metzler Lexikon moderner Mythen" an der Universität Rostock und erklärt im Interview mit der Süddeutschen Zeitung, was wir von modernen Mythen und Asterix lernen können.

January 22, 2016

Hi everyone,

how was your week? Do you need some optimistic stories to start next week? Here are 3:

1. Listening to news these days can be very depressing. Violance, climate change, financial riscs … the world is shaken and things look pretty bad. But it isn´t that bad: Steven Pinker spreads some optimism in his response to Edge.org. Every year Edge.com asks philosophers, scientists and authors about their view on the world with a specific question. This year they ask: “What do you consider the most interesting recent (scientific) news”. Pinker´s answer is surprising: “Data proves: progress in many areas has actually occurred.” Read the good news!

2. “Colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.” – Are you a Numbers cruncher? So here are 37 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2016


3. Is Creativity Guru Teresa M. Amabile wrong and "time" isn´t the biggest challenge we are face with when it comes to creativity? A street survey done by Robert Gerlach in New York and San Francisco gives a surprising answer: co-workers are most important to spark new ideas. No matter how much time we have. Read more about this surprising news.






IT´S YOU, STUPID! COLLEAGUES IGNITE CREATIVITY

Have you ever asked yourself where ideas come from? Why, where and when we are creative? Robert Gerlach, creativity coach, has asked this question: on the street in New York and San Francisco. And he got some surprising answers.


Too many distractions

But first start contrawise: when is it difficult to be creative and what hinders us to have good ideas? The numbers in Gerlach´s study are pretty clear. Most annoying for creatives are distractions. 47% said that they are not able to think out of the box, when phones are ringing, emails popping up and so on. Learing: shut down distractions!

Second reason for not being creative - far behind "distractions" are time limits and stress. "No time" was the answer for 28% of responeds as well as "being too focused" (26,9%). Learning: take your time to look left and right, beyond and above the challenge you are brainstoming on. Finally 18% are missing a creative atmosphere. Here are the numbers:

Why don´t you have your best ideas at work?
1. Too many distractions 47.1
2. No time 28.2
3. Too focused 26.9
4. Stress 24.3
5. No creative atmosphere 18.6
6. Other* 11.7

Its you, colleague!

So far the bad news. Good news are that it´s so easy to come up with ideas, if ... yes if you are surrounded by the right bunch of people, your colleagues. When asked which ressources are helpful to get new ideas, 47% answerd that they are inspired by their co-workers, followed by a creative atmosphere (29%).

Why do you have your best ideas at work?
1. Inspiring co-workers 47.7
2. Creative atmosphere 29.1
3. Creativity is required 27.9
4. Time to ponder 20.9
5. Other* 18.6
6. Not an office worker 1.2

So now it´s up to you. Look around and find the best co-worker in your office for a brainstorming. And surprising news: this is not the "most creative person" in the room. It´s the colleague you trust most. This buddy you feel comportable with when expressing a "stupid", crazy idea. The friend you can spin around an rough thought and you are not affraid to talk to even you are not sure whether it´s right or wrong. So go, find him or her! 
And have a look into Robert Gerlachs findings. Or listen to him on this MorningShow.

January 21, 2016

EVERY STORY NEEDS A HERO


One of the most important elements of a true story is: the hero. A individual - a person or even a thing - you can identify with. A main character who grabs your attention. You want to know more about this person, you follow this person into his or her world and life. You are interested which challenges this character is face with and how he copes with them. The concept of having one "main charakter" makes a hugh difference to the ordinary why how marketing and PR speaks to their audiences. Not the product itself is the center of a story, neither a unspecific "target group. Its the specific fate of a single person.  Joseph Campbell was the first emphasize the importance of a hero in a story. Analysing thousands of  stories and myths around the world he came up with a fascianting insights: there is only one story which we tell on and on. The story about a hero´s journey. The story about a character who leaves his comfort zone, masters adventures and who comes back into his world: changed. Matthew Winkler has illustrated the insight of the hero´s journey, so you should definitely should watch his video and contribute to Joseph Campbell´s idea: What makes a hero.

January 18, 2016

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a great weekend so you deserve some great stories to get ready for this week:

1. Vincent van Gogh never got any shares or likes. Not because Facebook & Co didn´t exist around 1880. No, van Gogh was not interested in popularity. He didn´t strive for applause or fame. He was only interested in his work. Video essayist Adam Westbrook reminds us all with his latest well crafted film about Vincent van Gogh what creativity really is: hard work. Watch it before your next brainstorming.

2. Want some Swedish wisdom? There is always some mystery around Swedish creativity, right? Why are there so many big ideas in this small country? Well, some of them the Swedish creative are smarter than the rest of us. Let´s take Jesper Åström, who cracked the code of Viral videos. In his opinion it´s all about “the story behind the story”. Read his blog post from 2014 – still relevant how to get a video going.

3. Have you ever gotten a Client Briefing for a corporate or brand story which was precise on it´s desired emotions? We and our clients spend so much time and efforts in defining key messages, insights, benefits, USPs and and and. But we very often miss the point that emotions are the driver of a story – and are the key to success for videos online. Don´t you think? That´s what´s the blog post "Straight to Heart" is about


January 17, 2016

VIRAL VIDEOS GO STRAIGHT TO YOUR HEART


Some stories are better than others, of course. And some videos are more viral than others. But what makes the difference? Media experts around the globe try to crack the code "how to become viral". We know it´s a matter of timing (the first 3 days are key!) and a matter of communities (find the "Super Sharers", who are responsible for 80% of shares. 9 % of all internetuser share a video everyday. Go straight to this folks!). But all overall it´s a matter of the story (ok, or call it "content") and the feelings and emotions which come with this story.

Emotional Creative Brief
Have you ever gotten a Creative Brief which was precise and specific about the emotions a marketing or corporate story should address? I can not recall a single one. Most Client Briefings are clear and in detail about key messages and product benefits but vague when it comes to feelings and emotions. Marketing and Corporate Comms Managers as well as spokespeople started their career to inform customers and key audiences about their corporations, brands and products. They don´t see their job in getting people to laugh or move them to tears. 

But that´s where a story really gets interesting - and successful. Have a look into the a story made by doog food brand Purina called "Puppyhood" - produced by Buzzfeed, which got 5 Million downloads in six weeks in May 2015. The ad tech company Unruly analized data of 430 Billion views and 100.000 users to understand why this story became such a hype. 

Stop: First you have to watch it: Puppyhood.
Cute? Absolutely. But it´s more than just "Cute". Unruly got feedback from the audience on more than just one emotion. They found a minimum of 4 different emotions: Heartiness (58%), happiness (56%), hilariousness (31%) and surprise (10%). 

Key Learning
it´s not only one emotion why an audience sticks on a story. Its the mix which attracts us. A successful viral video is an emotional roller coaster with ups and downs - a speed dating platform with different kind of emotions. And thats also the reason why the structure of a online video is quite different to Aristotle´s classic triangular and Gustav Freytag´s drama structure of 5 acts. Great videos do have a exposition like every story, but they kick off super quick - in 2 to 3 seconds and string together a couple of story highlights before everything comes to a surprising twist at the end. 
 

Images from Petra Sammer "Storytelling", O´Reilly, 2014.

7 TIPS FROM KURT VONNEGUT FOR STORYTELLING


Who is better than Kurt Vonnegut to tell us, what a "good" story is. His advise is sharp and smart. And is summarized in 7 tips:

1. Find a Subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.

Gavin McMahon has done a beautiful presentation around Vonnegut´s advise. Have a look into "Storytelling tips from Kurt Vonnegut".

January 15, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: STORYSCAPING


Storyscaping“ is a beautiful designed book, written by Gaston Legorburu, World Chief Creative Officer of SapientNitro and Darren McColl, World Chief Strategy Officer of SapientNitro. That´s the agency behind the award-winning campaign “The Best Job in the World” and the heafty job titels of both authors say everything about the deep thinking in this book.

Although the headline of the book is a bit misleading. It gives the impression that this book is purely about storytelling. Yes, Legorburu and McColl help you crafting a great story. But after reading all 244 pages, 2 parts and 13 chapters my impression is that it is much more about “brand experience” than “storytelling”. But maybe that´s also the reason why Legorburu & McColl came up with the artificial word “Storyscaping”. A quite unusual word and - sorry - but I don´t fall in love with it – even after reading the whole thing.
Legorburu and McColl unveil a lot of insights around advertising, communication in general and how to come up with a state-of-the-art campaign. Of course they talk about Sinek´s Golden Circles (“Start with Why”), they refer to James Cameron´s work such as Terminator, Titanic and Avatar and they quote one of my favorite comedy movies: L.A.-Story.

Over all I love the idea of having an Organizing Idea instead of a Big Idea and Legorburu & McColl´s preference for Systematic Thinking instead of randomly picking an insight. There are some cool, easy to use, pragmatic tools which marketeers and also PR people can use right away such as a”4-Step-Box to create Consumer Connections” or a “Insight Mining Map”. 

The last chapter is a little bit too much “promoting their agency”. But hey, that´s the job of these too gentlemen. Overall is´s a great sneak preview into the way of working of a successful agency like SapientNitro and we should be thankful for the opportunity to look behind their curtains. My favorite quote: “The first step to a great insight is having a very clear view of consumers.”






WAS SELFIES ÜBER UNS AUSSAGEN


„Rund zwei Drittel (65 %) der deutschen Smartphone-Nutzer ab 14 Jahren machen (...) Selfies. (...) Und drei von fünf Selfie-Machern (59 %) teilen ihre Selbstporträts in sozialen Netzwerken.“ Die Bitcom-Studie »Die Zukunft der ConsumerElectronics« versucht das Massenphänomen „Selfie“ in Zahlen zu erfassen. Aber erklärt das die Tsunami dieser ästhetisch fragwürdigen Portaitbilder im Netz?


Ich, Ich, Ich


Am 11. Januar 2000 beschloss der Fotograf Noah Kalina sich täglich selbst zu fotografieren. Immer in der gleichen Pose und mit dem gleichen, neutralen Gesichtsausdruck. Zwölfeinhalb Jahre lang produzierte er jeden Tag ein „Selfie“ und montierte diese zu einem Film: „Everyday“ zeigt die Wandlung eines jungen, glattrasierten 19-jährigen Teenagers zu einem reifen Mann im Alter von 32 mit Vollbart – in 4.545 Selbstportraits. Sicher, ein extremes Beispiel von „Selfie-Sucht“ – aber seien wir mal ehrlich: wir machen vielleicht nicht täglich ein Bild von uns, aber jeden zweiten …? Na? Gucken wir doch gleich mal auf dem Handy nach.

Seit Erfindung der Fotografie 1826 stand der Fotograf immer hinter der Kamera. Der Macher des Fotos war unsichtbar und blieb anonym. Auf Urlaubsfotos war derjenige, der die Fotos schoss, in der Regel nie zu sehen, als wäre er gar nicht dabei. Für eine gemeinsame Aufnahme musste man entweder einen Passanten um Hilfe bitten oder den Selbstauslöser bedienen und schnell ins Bild hechten.
Heute halten wir einfach unser Smartphone vor die Nase und drücken ab. Fertig. Das Bild ist meist schief und verzerrt. Macht nix, es geht ja um den Moment. Und wir müssen nicht mehr einen Fremden händeringend darum bitten, den richtigen Ausschnitt zu wählen und auf den Auslöser zu drücken und auch nicht bangen, dass er plötzlich mit dem Fotoapparat durchbrennt.
Heute sind wir, die Macher, selbst im Bild. Wir zücken den Selfie-Stick, diese unsägliche Verlängerungsstange, und glauben damit unseren Blick auf die Welt zu vergrößern. (Museen wie das Metropolitan Museum in New York verbieten mittlerweile die Anwendung dieser Stöcke, da sie die
Beschädigung ihrer Kunstwerke fürchten.)

Und doch ist das "Sefie" eigentlich keine neue Erscheinung: Kaum ein Künstler, der nicht ein Selbstportait von sich veröffentlichte. Noch bis zum 31. Januar ist in der Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe die Ausstellung "Ich bin hier! Von Rembrandt zum Selfie" zu sehen, die Parallelen zieht zwischen dem Narzissmus auf Leinwand und Smartphone.
Doch sind Handyportraits nun mal nicht für die Ewigkeit geschaffen, wie es so manches Ölgemälde tut. (Mit spitzer Feder kommentiert von Kia Vahland in der SZ unter der Überschrift "Außenansicht").

Besonders heute sind wir von der Tatsache fasziniert, dass wir uns immer und jederzeit selbst ablichten können. Das Selfie wird heute zum immerwährenden Spiegelersatz und scheinbar erkennen wir uns auf den schrägen Selfie-Bildern besser als im richtigen Leben.

Und der nächste Schritt steht schon vor der Tür: Mastercard und Amazon kündigen an, dass wir statt Pincode bald einfach nur noch ein Selfie machen müssen, um zu bezahlen. Ja, wir bezahlen mit unserem Gesicht. So sieht die Zukunft des Selfies aus. Lohnenswert ist hierzu der Artikel von Laura Hertreiter aus der SZ vom 2. April 2016. Hertreiter beschreibt darin nicht nur wie gefährlich es sein kann, ein Selfie zu machen, sondern auch, dass wir Selfies vor allem lieben, weil wir damit Kontrolle über uns selbst gewinnen. Nachzulesen unter "Mach dir dein Bild".

January 11, 2016

Hi everyone,

this week the year 2016 really really kicks off. No excuses. So I thought I´ll start this week by sharing some smart stories:

  1. The GDI Think Tank has published an interesting list of 100 Thought Leaders. Learn about the the world's leading voices, who´s ideas are shared, discussed and linked together the most?
  2. I´d love to have this boss: Ed Catmull, Co-founder of Pixar and President of Walt Disney Studios. He has written a wonderful book about “How to Handle Creatives”. And there is a lot to learn from him.
  3. You want to get 10 extra years for your life? That´s easy. You just have to play games. No joke. Listen to Jane McGonigal´s wonderful TED Talk about the beauty and utilization of games.

THE ENDLESS STORY

Storytelling in games is slightly different. In our enthusiasm about Joseph Campbells world-formular "the Hero´s Journey" we might forget that not every plot of a computergame follows his rules and there are good reasons for breaking these rules.

In his book Present Shock Douglas Rushkoff calls  this the "Narrative Colaps". At the dawn of the 21st century he sees the end of linear stories. Why? Well, since the 50s remote control has teached us how to interrupt tv shows, to jump from channel to channel and from story to story. We got used to switch from plot to plot and learned to anticipate ordinary story lines. Today it looks like that we´ve overcome Aristotle´s plot structure or Gustav Freytag´s dramatic arch or pyramid. Looks like that we are bored about this old paradigm. So have we already seen to much?

In fact modern stories in social media and games seem to be the opposite of traditional storytelling. In "the old days" we hang on a story as long as possible, we followed a hero on his journey, his call for adventure, his quest and trials. We read a book as quick as possible to find out how the hero´s journey might end, to learn how the hero will cope with all the mess and how he will return to his old world. Whether it´s a happy or a bad ending.

Storytelling in games is different. Joseph Campbell´s "Hero´s Journey" get´s a slight different interpretation. What´s different is the exposure of the "ending" of a story. While in traditional storytelling the recipient wants to know the resolution as soon as possible, the gamer in contrast wants to avoid it. The principle of a modern game is NOT to come to an end. Rushkoff calls this the "endless story" - somehow described by Michael Ende in his novel "Neverending Story" and analysed by James Carse in his theory about "Finite and Infinite Games". 

The Gamernetwork Extra Credits is doing a great job in explaining how the Hero´s Journey is still used in Video- and Computergames - you should know that Game-developer see Joseph Campbell´s theory more as a a framework than a rule. Two videos explain these differences: "Hero´s Journey" Part 1 - Part 2.

January 08, 2016

HOW TO HANDLE CREATIVES

Ed Catmull, cofounder of Pixar, has written a book. You know it already, right? "Creativity, Inc. - Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True Inspiration" is a very inspiring book as the man himself. Here are my favorite quotes from Ed:
  1. "Ideas come from people. Therefore, people are more important than ideas. (...) Find, develop and support good people, and they in turn will find, develop, and own good ideas.
  2. "Mistakes are part of creativity. (...) "To be a truly creative company, you must start things that might fail."
  3. "(...) we need to free ourselves of honesty´s baggage. (...) One way to do that is to replace the word honesty with another word that has a similar meaning but fewer moral connotations: candor."
  4. "Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them so - to go, as I say. `from suck to not-suck.´ (...) Creativity has to start somewhere, and we are true believers in the power of bracing, candid feedback and the iterative process - reworking, reworking, and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its throughliner or a hollow character finds its soul."
  5. "Telling the truth is difficult, but inside a creative company, it is the only way to ensure excellence."
  6. "Management´s job is not to prevent risk but to build the ability to recover."
  7. "Our job is to protect our babies from being judged too quickly. Our job is to protect the new. (...) Part of our job is to protect the new from people who don´t understand that in order for greatness to emerge, there must be phases of not-so-greatness."
  8. "The key is to view conflict as essential, because that´s how we know the best ideas will be tested and suvive. You know, it can´t only be sunlight. It is management´s job to figure out how to help others see conflict as healthy - as a route to balance, which benefits us all in the long run."
  9. "If you don´t try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead."
  10. "Craft is what we are expected to know; art is the unexpected use of our craft."
  11. "Art challenges technology, technology inspires art." (John Lasseter)
  12. "In my experience, creative people discover and realize their visions over time and through dedicated, protracted struggle. In that way, creativity is more like a marathon than a sprint."
  13. "We human like to know where we are headed, but creativty demands that we travel paths that lead to who-knows-where."

THE MOST RELEVANT STORIES

"The most relevant stories connect on a personal level," Beth Comstock, Head of Marketing and Innovation of GE claims that in a world where machines are talking, more people want to talk. In a world where we are bombarded with information, simplicity is important. And in her opinion stories are the key to success as they make conversations much easier. Especially for companies with complicated products and services who want to be memorable and easy to understand. Whatch her talk about "Personal Connections in Corporate Storytelling" at the Future of Storytelling Summit 2014.

FARBEN SIND NICHT SELBSTVERSTÄNDLICH

Ihre Lieblingsfarbe? Wann haben Sie sich das letzte Mal ernsthaft mit Farben auseinandergesetzt? Bei der Frage Ihres Kindes, welches denn Ihre Lieblingsfarbe sei? Oder bei der Diskussion mit Ihrem Ehepartner, ob man denn nicht auch einmal eine der eigenen vier Wände bunt streichen sollte, denn das sei ja jetzt im Trend. Die Müllers und Meiers haben das jetzt auch auch. Oder aber die Frage nach der Farbe kam von Ihrer Marketingagentur, die wissen wollte, ob man das Corporate Logos nach dreißig Jahren vielleicht mal frisch überarbeiten sollte.

Farben sind nicht selbstvertändlich: Farben sind uns meist selbstverständlich. Die meisten von uns beschäftigen sich nicht wirklich aktiv damit. Erst die Abwesenheit von Farbe zeigt uns ihre Bedeutung. Neil Harbisson wurde diese Bedeutung erst als junger Mann bewusst. Seine Welt bestand lange Jahre ausschließlich aus Schwarz, Weiß und verschiedenen Grautönen. Harbisson leidet unter Achromatopsie. Er ist komplett farbenblind. Doch obwohl ihm die Ärzte sagten, dass er nie Farben sehen werden, erschloss sich die erstaunliche Welt der Farben für Neil Harbisson. Während seines Musikstudiums lernte er einen jungen Ingenieur und Kybernetiker kennen, der ihm half ein Gerät zu entwickeln, das ihm ermöglichte Farben zu … hören! Ein Computer, ausgestattet mit einer Kamera und Kopfhörern, registriert die Spektralwerte der Farbe und übersetzt diese in bestimmte Töne. So kommt es, dass Neil Harbisson heute die Welt als farbige Komposition hört. Die erstaunliche Erfahrung seiner Behinderung und seine neue Welt beschrieb Harbisson in einer wunderbaren Rede auf der TED-Konferenz 2012. „I listen to color“ ist sehens- und hörenswert, denn es erinnert uns an die von uns oft vergessene Bedeutung von Farbe.


Farben sind mehr als nur Gestalt und Aussehen: Farben wecken Erinnerungen und Gefühle. Sie sind Symbole und Codes. Wer sich mit der Kunst des Geschichtenerzählens auseinandersetzt, sollte sich daher mit der Kraft der Farbe vertraut machen, denn Farben können eine Story in vielen Bereichen unterstützen. Hilfestellung bietet hierfür Lewis Bond mit seinem Video „Colour in Storytelling“. Bond erläutert mit einer cineastischen Collage den bewußten Einsatz bestimmter Farben in Filmsszenen und erklärt ausführlich die drei Kernkomponenten von Farbe: Farbton, Farbsättigung und Farbwert. Was passiert beim Betrachter, wenn einen dieser Komponenten verändert wird? Welchen Einfluss hat Farbe auf den Verlauf einer Geschichte, wenn man Farbton, -wert oder Farbsättigung manipuliert? Die Wirkung ist enorm und Bond unterstreicht dies mit zahlreichen Beispielen:


Farben verdichten Gefühle: Das Orange von Uma Thurmans Hosenanzug in „Kill Bill“ ist kein Zufall. Die Farbauswahl der fünf Protagonisten im aktuellen Pixarfilm „Alles steht Kopf“ entspricht genau unserer Vorstellung der Farbe bestimmter Gefühle (Grün ist Ekel, Rot ist Wut, Gelb ist Freude, Blau ist Kummer und Angst ist lila) und im Film „Der letzte Kaiser“ markieren die Farbveränderunge von Rot, zu Gelb und schließlich zu Grün die Lebensabschnitte des Kaisers und seine mentale Veränderung.

Farbe kann Geschichten assoziativ unterstützen: Sie wiegt uns in Sicherheit und treibt die Immersion in die Story voran. Wir tauchen ein in die Geschichte und lassen uns mit dem Blick auf vertraute Farben treiben. Farbe kann aber auch irritieren und unsere Aufmerksamkeit wecken. Sie kann Dinge hervorherben, Einschnitte markieren und dadurch einer Geschichte Tempo verleihen. Achten Sie bei Ihrem nächsten Kinobesuch bewußt auf Farben. Die Farbe der Umgebung, Gebäude, Kleidung Gegenstände - alle visuellen Eindrücke verdichten die Atmosphäre einer Story oder stehen sogar als Metapher für die Gefühlswelt der Protagonisten. Nichts ist in einer guten Geschichte dem Zufall überlassen.

Ein Beispiel? „Colorless Future“ - Der Farbenhersteller Dulux zeigt eine uniforme Science-Fiction-Welt, in der die Farbe Weiß die Macht übernommen hat und alle anderen Farben in den Untergrund gezwungen wurden. Eine smarte Überhöhung des Markenversprechens von Dulux und eine herrliche Analogie für die Bedeutung von Farbe in unserem Leben – nicht in der fernen Zukunft, sondern schon heute. Mit welchen Farben, erzählen Sie Ihre Geschichte?

Sie wollen mehr über visuelles Storytelling erfahren? Dann empfehle ich zwei Bücher: "Stories that Move Mountains" von Martin Sykes und - Sie ahnen es vielleicht - ein Buch, das ich zusammen mit der Graphikerin Ulrike Heppel geschrieben habe: „Visual Storytelling“. O´Reilly, 2015

EVERY STORY NEEDS A GOOD REASON TO BE TOLD

"The process of developing a story is one of discovery," Pete (Doctor, director of the movie `Mosters, Inc.´) says. "However, there´s alway a guiding principle that leads you as you go down the various roads. In Monsters, Inc., all of our very different plots shared a common feeling - the bittersweet goodbye you feel once a problem" - in this case, Sulley´s quest to return Boo to her own world - "has been solved." - This quote from Ed Catmulls book Creativity Inc. describes in a brilliant way what every good story needs to have: a reason to be told. You always should know - from the beginning - what your "Reason Why", your higher purpose, your believe is. What your story will stand for.

You are insecure about the "Reason Why" of your product, your brand or company? Then watch Simon Sinek in his famous TED Talk "How great leaders inspire action". He presents a formula every corporate storytellers should know and consider: What (plot) - How (style) - Why (storyline).

6 ERFOLGSKONZEPTE NARRATIVER BILDER


Bild schlägt Text. Die Kommunikation der Zukunft ist visuell. Dies beweisen die steigenden Uploads ans Fotos und Videos in Facebook und Twitter, der unaufhaltsame Erfolg von Bildplattformen wie Instagram und Pinterest oder der Siegszug von Emojis. Traditionelle Medien und Onlinemagazine wandeln sich in bunte Bildstrecken, die sich mit dürren Bildunterschriften begnügen. Kein einfaches Umfeld für Unternehmenskommunikatoren und Pressesprecher, die sich bisher darin übten, geschliffene Sätze zu formulieren und die passenden Worte zu finden, um Unternehmen, Marke und Produkt gut aussehen zu lassen.
PR wird zu einer visuellen Kunst: Der "Visual Turn" - die Abkehr vom Text und Hinwendung zum Bild - kommt zunehmend in Marketing- und Corporate Communications an. Neue Fähigkeiten sind daher gefordert. Nicht mehr Textkompetenz und Sprachgewandtheit sind die neuen Schlüsselqualifikationen, sondern ... ja was denn eigentlich? Kunstverständnis? Graphik und Scribble-Techniken? Technisches Verständnis für Fotoapps und Filmkamera? Motion Graphics, Filmschnitt und Gif-Animation? Was muss der PR-Profil heute tatsächlich können?

Zunächst braucht er eines: ein Gespür für das richtige Bild. Das Feingefühl dafür, was ein Bild zu einem "starken" Bild mit Viralkraft macht. Das Wissen, mit welchem Motiv man heute die Aufmerksamkeit eines visuell verwöhnten Publikums weckt. Das Gespür für Blickfänger, für Bildmaterial, Foto, Infographiken, Videos, die die Kraft haben aus der Tsunami visueller Eindrücke herauszuragen.

Sixpack des visuellen Storytellings: Die Kunst des visuellen Erzählens im Netz ist noch jung. Doch Marketing- und PR-Profis sollten Ausschau halten nach sechs Bildkonzepten, die derzeit erfolgsversprechend sind.

 1. Hingucker: Bilder, die überraschen, irritieren und provozieren. Bilder, die unsere Sehgewohnheiten durchbrechen. Hingucker sind visuelle Ausrufezeichen. Sie erstaunen und machen uns neugierig. Beim Anblick dieser Art von Bildern stellen wir die Frage "Was ist denn hier passiert?"

 2. Schnellschüsse: Diese Bilder sind reduziert und fokussiert. Sie helfen dem Betrachter auf den ersten Blick, komplexe Dinge zu verstehen. Sie sind minimalistisch in der Darstellung, klar aufgebaut und schnell zu erfassen.

 3. Augenschmaus: Der "Augenschmaus" spricht die Ästheten unter uns an. Augenschmaus-Bilder tun der Seele gut, beruhigen und helfen, den Alltag zu vergessen. Sie sind Stresskiller und kleine Wellnessoasen. Diese Bilder sind optisch sorgfältig gestaltet und erfreuen den Betrachter mit außergewöhnlichen Kontrasten, Farben und Formen.

 4. Türöffner: Diese Bilder regen gezielt die Fantasie des Publikums an und öffnen gleichsam Türen in eine neue Welt. Türoffner triggern bestehende narrative Konzepte. Sie machen uns neugierig auf die Geschichte hinter dem Bild, sie sind Projektionsfläche unserer Träume und Wünsche, Absprungpunkte für Tagträume, Geistesblitze und Zündfunke interessanter Storys.

 5. Zeitgeist: Bilder, die mit "Zeitgeist" arbeiten, sind kulturell relevant und aktuell. "Zeitgeist"-Bilder sind Referenzen und Zitate. Sie kopieren und kombinieren. Passend zum Zeitgeist des 21. Jahrhunderts sind sie Remixe und Mashups. Sie sind humorvoll und ironisch, arbeiten subtil und subversiv. Sie schrecken vor keinem Themenzusammenhang zurück. Schamlos bedienen sie sich aus allen Bereichen des öffentlichen Lebens, ob Kunst, Sport, Wirtschaft, Politik oder auch Geschichte.

 6. Trittbrettfahrer: Das letzte Bildkonzept dieses "Erfolgs-Sixpacks" hat eine Deadline, denn "Trittbrettfahrer" sind Antworten auf Trends und Memes in Echtzeit. Diese Bilder springen auf laufende Konversationen auf und schalten sich ungefragt in Diskussionen ein. Viele dieser Bilder und Videos sind emotional, persönlich und sympathisch. Aber auch sehr vergänglich, denn die Motive funktionieren nur im Kontext tagesaktueller Themen und Ereignisse. "Trittbrettfahrer" sind Formate des Real-Time-Marketing. Und es erfordert ein sehr hohes Maß an Mut, Spontanität und Agilität, um schnell und effizient auf die jeweiligen Themen aufzuspringen.


Na, ist hier was dabei für Sie? Mehr zum Thema in "Visual Storytelling" von Petra Sammer und Ulrike Heppel, erschienen bei O´Reilly 2015.

WHAT´S YOUR COLOR?

When was the last time, you thought about "color"? When someone asked you about your favorite one? When you thought coloring the white walls in your home? Or did "color" striked you in a marketing meeting discussing the old fashioned logo of your company?
Color your Communication: Have you every thought about the importance of color for communication? If not you definitely should have a look into Lewis Bond´s video "Color in Storytelling". Bond explains why you should care about the hue, saturation and value of each color in your next marketing story. Have a look.
PR-Experts and marketing manager definitely have to learn the grammar of good stories, visual stories. And "color" is a key element. You don´t think so? Here are some proof points:

Color helps the audience to immerge into a story: Well, for a color brand like Dulux it seems easy to tell stories with the power of colors. But is it really that easy? With "Colourless Future" Dulux presents its brand as a visionary storyteller with the courage to compete against Hollywood. Dulux´s Science Fiction story fascinates its audience with the cruel vision of a world where White is the only dominating color. All other colors are banned and have to go "underground". Is this a future we are looking for? See this great story: "Colorless Future."

 Color evokes emotions: To promote its new product Japanese cosmetic brand Lux hacked Google Maps with an App that helps its consumers to paint any street or location on Google Maps in Pink - in a beautiful cherry blossoms bloom pink. So Japanese, right? And which color is better than this to evoke the emotion of calmness and pleasure - like Lux perfumes.

 Colors that support key messages: It´s not by coincidence that the color of the award winning campaign "Tree concert Berlin" is green. Berlin is a green city. But everyday it loses 2000 trees which are affected by the polution of the city. To safe these trees the NGO "Friends of the Earth Germany" with the help of BBDO and Ketchum Pleon came up with a donation program. Have a look into the case study and see yourself who color supports the idea and the key message.
Color is a beast: "It´s save to say that color is a very complex beast." - says graphic artist Mark D. West in his book "Stories that Move Mountains". He explains how meaningful color in different cultures are and how sensitive Visual Storytellers have to be using specific colors. But it´s not only the cultural context - Eastern or Western - which make colors complicated. It´s the usage, meaning and association of the color itself - in any culture.



Just take Red ... Red stands for blood, danger and anger (Have you seen the character "Anger" in Pixars latest movie "Inside Out"? He is so red!). But Red also stands for fire, warmth, passion and love. That´s why Visual Storytelling can´t be done just with a simole checklist of color codes. Every story has its unique context and its individual code. Marketing- and PR-experts have to dive deep into the tool box of Visual Storytelling with all its colors and learn how to use them. So: What´s the color of your next story?