Paul Davies

UK CMO
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The Perfect Marriage of Art and Science in Storytelling

There’s no doubt that consumers are over exposed to marketing messages. Every day, at a whole host of moments, there’s a brand competing to engage with you and grab your attention. It’s a noisy world out there, and as such, brands are having to up their game.

As an industry we have some fantastic technology and tools to help marketers make sense of our audiences and how to gain their affection. That said, I’d hedge a bet that we’re all getting a bit distracted – you might say slightly dazzled – by over complication jargon and buzzwords. It’s important, but without the great ideas, marketing science is left a little high and dry. We need to avoid the danger of starting to undervalue the art and creativity that lies within our discipline.

The good news is that neuroscience now confirms what many marketers have been hedging their bets on for decades. Emotional storytelling is the answer to cutting through the noise in a way that improves brand recall, advocacy and referral. Why? I’m no neuroscience expert myself, but I happen to know a few, so here’s what I’ve gleaned from them.

It’s all about the left brain / right brain notion. Left side dominates in language, processing what you see and hear. When you need to retrieve a fact, your left brain digs it up from your memory. Your right side is in charge of movement, face recognition – registering the emotion and the ‘feel’. But one cannot function without the other. Put very simply, the left side feeds the data which helps the right to be creative.

It means the ultimate storytelling catalyst is still the big hairy creative idea. We need it to capture audience minds and spark passion and intrigue. Emotion kick starts a response. Combine it together with the insights that underpin the idea and you marry the art and science to create something personal, unique and memorable

Memorable storytelling needs to be interactive. This where technology and marketing science comes into the equation. It should stimulate a person’s imagination to create an entirely personal experience. But to motivate participation, the experiences created need to be more interactive than ever before.

Technology and creativity are today inextricably linked in more ways than one. The art and science of storytelling relies on the art of the medium and the message, with the science of the delivery and the personalisation of the experience.

Technology is mass media’s new best friend in many ways. Reading the IAB’s most recent AdSpend report almost half of online display ads were bought programmatically last year. But the art and science can’t exist without each other. Without genuinely great stories at the heart, there are no great campaigns, there are no moments to capture audiences’ hearts and minds, and there would be nothing to programmatically amplify. We brought this to life last year with a live OOH campaign for Cortana, our digital personal assistant, which delivered changing daily messages, deeply personalised to a number of factors such as weather, location etc. We also got into a little debate about cricket with a local resident, Chris, from Edinburgh.

We need to celebrate the opportunities the two together create, not address them in silos or worse, at the expense of each other. Isn’t that the secret ingredient to a happy marriage? We need to celebrate the opportunities the two together create, not address them in silos or worse, at the expense of each other. Isn’t that the secret ingredient to a happy marriage?

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