February 16, 2017

REALITY REALLY? INFOGRAPHIC VERSUS PHOTO


The first infographic was published April 7, 1806 in the London Times. It displayed a floor plan. A plan of an apartment where a murder happened. And the Times published the drawing because photos had not been available as they would have been too expensive.

Today infographics are not a makeshift for photos anymore. Oh no. Since the last ten years the creativity around pie and bar charts exploded. Big and new sources for data nurture more and more visual displays of facts and figures.
Graphic artists fought hard for awareness, recognition and appreciation for their profession. They fought hard for more and more media space. Infographic artists are seen pari passu to photographer.

But there is a clear difference between graphics and photo. Not surprisingly. But what´s this difference about? Both – graphics and photos - strive for attention. Both give you more than information. Both delight us as recipient with visual storytelling.

„A photo keeps record of reality. An infographic can reinterpret reality. So we need both.” says Stefan Fichtel, founder of Berlin agency „ixtract“ in an article in Sueddeutsche Zeitung about the rise of infographics in media.

Hieram Henriquez has done a brilliant analysis on the “Importance of Infographics in Journalim”. His work from 2014 is worth a read: The Importance of Explanatory Infographics in Journalism

Therefore the art and profession to create relevant infographics asks for a complex set of skills as Steve Dueness, graphic director of the New York Times explains: “My point is that information graphics are not just art. They're a combination of art and journalism and a little bit of science. A background in art won't hurt. It helps if you can draw, but it's also important that you are a fast researcher, and you know the ins and outs of a variety of software packages or programming languages." (Photo: https://unsplash.com/)

February 15, 2017

CREATIVE DATA: WOW, OH & AH


“Was heute zählt ist weniger die Menge an Daten, die ein Unternehmen sammeln kann, als vielmehr seine Fähigkeit, Zusammenhänge zu erkennen und Daten sinnvoll zu nutzen.” Die Diskussion rund um Big Data biegt jetzt endlich ein in die qualifizierende Runde. Längst ist klar, dass wir jede Menge Daten erheben können. Doch bisher sind so viele Unternehmen und Marken schuldig geblieben, dass sie diese Daten auch sinnvoll einsetzen können. Einige bunte Infographiken erweckten unser Aufmerksamkeit – zusammengestellt durch kreative Daten. Und auch einige Produkte beeindruckten, da sie mithilfe gesammelter Daten entwickelt wurden. Aber so wirklich Überzeugendes war bisher nicht dabei. Da fällt positiv auf, dass Unternehmen wie P&G oder Unilever nun ihre eigene Marktforschung auf Vordermann bringen und deren Fähigkeiten, Daten einzutreiben und zu analysieren, neu nutzen. Keith Weed, Marketingdirektor von Unilever, berichtet in der Harvard Business Review über die Umgestaltung der unternehmenseigenen Marktforschung in eine „Insight Engine“. Kampagnen wie „Like a girl“, deren größter Verdienst ist, Insights in beeindruckender Weise zu visualisieren, basieren nicht auf einem zufällig entdeckten Insight (= a fundamental human truth), sondern auf der strukturierten Forschungsarbeit der firmeninternen Researcheabteilung.

3-Phasen Model einer Insight Kampagne
Sogenannte Insight-Stories und Kampagnen basieren auf einem klaren Muster: WOW – OH – AHA.

WOW: Unternehmen und Marke begeistern durch die Visualisierung eines Insights, mit dem sich die Zielgruppe identifizieren kann (Instrumente der Kommunikation sind: Above the Line / Advertising / YoutTube / Spectacular / Stunt / Outdoor)

OH: Die zweite Stufe einer Insight-Kampagne zündet durch überzeugendes Engagement und einen klaren „Call to Action“. Die Zielgruppe wird zum Mitmachen aufgefordert und ihr wird auch ein klares Produktangebot gemacht. (Instrumente der Kommunikation sind u.a. Social Media / Gewinnspiele / Sampling / Couponing)

AHA: Die ganze Kampagne würde jedoch nicht funktionieren, gäbe es die dritte Stufe nicht … die rationale Unterfütterung. Hier werden die Daten und Fakten hinter dem Storytelling und dem zugrunde liegenden Insights präsentiert (Instrumente der Kommunikation sind u.a. PR / Studienkommunikation / Speaking Opportunities / Influencer Relationship / Bildungsprogramme / CSR Programme)

February 13, 2017

THE BATTLE IS ON: STORYTELLING VERSUS BOTS



Bots, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Programmatic Creativity … Machines are everywhere and it looks like that Marketing and PR will be a matter of Bits and Bytes. So will Big Data beat Big Idea? The fantastic project of ING Bank The next Rembrandt, an award winning campaign from 2016 raised the right question: if a computer can learn all from Rembrandt and create a master piece like the artist himself what´s the benefit of being a human?

If we can teach a machine to be as creative as an artist is there a need for human creative in the future?

We all hope yes. But amazing projects using Virtual Reality, Augmented Realits, Holograms, 3D-Printing in combination with AI speak another language and proof that creative professions like scriptwriting, music composition or painting are heavily affected by Web 4.0.
But I strongly believe there is a future for us creatives. Human creatives.

The more we are confronted with machine talk, with chat bots and standardized mass communication the more the hunger will grow for individual, humanely, emotional stories. There will be a bright future for storytellers who are able to tell a traditional story, inspire with a empathic hero and bring a story arche to a surprising end. The more we get used to chat bots the more we will be suspicious and search for humans to tell us true stories.
So get out there and learn to become a great storyteller. And you´ll have a future in communications.







February 11, 2017

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ... STORYTELLING


There are so many definitions on Storytelling. It´s confusing, isn´t it? Since nearly ten years Storytelling is THE main buzzword in Marketing and Corporate Communications but everyone talks about something different and it looks like there is no end. 

At the last conference I attended I was the fourth speaker to talk about markting trends. I always like to join this meetings as soon as possible to listen all speeches - specifically those before me speech. I also try to embed what I´ve heard before into my talk and help the audience to make connections between different speeches. At this conference - no surprise - all previous speakersmentioned Storytelling somehow and used the term at a specific point. But all of them gave the word "Storytelling" a different meaning. So I skipped parts of my original speech and tried to sort out what I´ve heard:

Storytelling? That´s a format
Facebook promises to present your content as a story. They promote Facebook Canvas is an immersive and expressive experience on Facebook for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products. Same with FB Carousel. Also Multimediaformats such as Storify or Storyful do promise to support your Storytelling. But you should know all this has nothing to do with the elements of true Storytelling. All this platforms, tools and techniques do help you to give content a specific FORMAT. And this is what they call "storytelling".

Storytelling? You mean structur, right?
And be careful when you hear "story" as this term might be used in the meaning of "structure". When someone tells you "the story of this advertising" or the "story of this multimedia projects" starts with ... let´s say "basic elements", then comes an "inciting incident", followed by a "climax and turning point" and the end of this story is a "call to action" ... all this gives you a hint that it´s not "stoytelling" we are talking about. Or well, a sort of. The better word would be structur. The "order" or "sequence" of information. It´s the logic of the content and the context you are giving within the whole "story".

Story? That´s the content, or?
But what we are truely looking for is "content told with the technique of a story". Storytelling is an emotional way of persuasion (in comparision to rational persuastion through facts and figures) and has five elements are key: 1. Every story has a reason to tell (Reason Why), 2. Every story has a hero (a main character), 3. Every story starts with a conflict (and a transformation of the hero), 4. Every great story touches our heart (with Paul Ekman you can work with minimum of six different emotions) and 5. Every great story goes viral (fairy tales have been told again and again since generations - even without the internet!)

So next time you hear "Storytelling" be careful and ask "what do you mean by story"?