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What is storyscaping and how can we apply it in marketing?

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What is storyscaping and how can we apply it in marketing?

Have you heard of storyscaping? In this article I want to explain in depth what this new marketing concept means: storyscaping . In addition, I present you some necessary tools to carry it out: from the main pillars to the organized idea and the Experience Space . Shall we start?

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list_altIndex of contents
What is storyscaping?
And what differentiates storyscaping from storytelling?
The 4 main pillars of storyscaping
Storyscaping applications
Applied storyscaping: examples
What is storyscaping?
When you search for the meaning of storyscaping, you are likely to come across phrases like “stop creating ads and start creating worlds” or “make the customer the hero of the story”. But … where does this concept come from?

Storyscaping was born in 2014 with the book Storyscaping: Stop Creating Ads, Start Creating Worlds by Darren McColl and Gaston Legorburu. In it, the authors explain in detail storyscaping, a novel Finance Directors Email Lists technique to achieve greater engagement by leads and customers by transmitting a message through a story that conveys emotions.

This new strategic concept brings together the power of stories with the exciting experience of creating worlds where customers connect with brands.

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And what differentiates storyscaping from storytelling?
In its definition, storytelling and storyscaping are very similar. They both tell us about stories, engagement and experiences, right? In the following lines will explain the differences:

The storytelling , as you probably know, it is a technique that involves connecting with the audience through the story. Through stories, brands have been able to create that magical atmosphere that surrounds the audience and impacts them in such a way that they are able to remember it before all the other advertising inputs they have received.

Now, imagine that this magical atmosphere surrounds the audience in the first person; that it is the audience itself who lives this experience: this is what storyscaping aims to do.The fact that the audience lives the experience can be really broad, so we are going to see its pillars and applications to better understand the storyscaping technique. Take note!

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The 4 main pillars of storyscaping
Storyscaping has 4 pillars that, connected with shared experiences and values, create the “Hero’s Path”. And what are these pillars?

Brand Strategy: the hero finds a mentor in the brand because they share the same purposes and values. The discovery of the purpose.
Consumer Insight: the call, the fight and the search for that mentor. The meeting of desire.
Product Positioning: The mentor (the brand) gives the magic gift (product / service) to the hero to fulfill his wish and share the journey. Define the product and create the experience.
Consumer Journey – the hero returns home and completes his story. The needs.
To put it all together, let’s look at this more practical example: Suppose the hero’s journey is to learn a new language. So the mentor, the brand, gives you a course where you will frequently practice the language that will magically improve your fluency and understanding. Creating a shared path in which the hero improves in the use of this language and can interact with native people using the language learned.

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In this way, the brand has an actionable strategy that allows it to show the value of its product or service while creating an emotional connection with the customer. And this emotional connection and inspiration is organized and guided by the organized idea that we will see next.

Storyscaping applications
We have already seen the 4 strategic pillars that allow us to connect emotionally with the client. But we are not going to get a complete storyscaping experience without its applications. There they go!

The organized idea
I have already told you which are the 4 strategic pillars that create an organized idea in storyscaping. But, to move forward, we must be clear about one thing: a great idea is not an organized idea.

We are used to working with great ideas that surprise clients, but in this case we are talking about organized ideas.

But what is an organized idea? According to the writers of Storyscaping: Stop Creating Ads, Start Creating Worlds , the organized idea is a type of idea that helps us define how the brand interacts with the customer, connecting the customer and the purposes of the brand, in a way that builds emotions between the two and inspire customers.

7 questions that define an organized idea
Does it give you a premise to organize the connection of users with the brand?
Does it help define the role of the channels you use?
Does it stimulate the experience and activate some kind of behavior?
Does it serve the purpose or cause of the brand?
Does it sound like what the brand is proposing?
When you think about your organized idea, do you think you can create an experience that elicits that behavior you are looking for?
Does the organized idea have the potential to inspire experiences when people engage the brand in their stories?
What should you avoid when building your organized idea?
Don’t use a proposal. The organized idea must inspire and create behavior. For example, the organized idea cannot be “join our community” or “buy one get one free”.
Don’t use bland or obvious phrases.
It should not be a description of the created world or your desires, for example, “a more fit life” would not be a good organized idea.
So what is a good organized idea? Read on and you will find an ideal example: the case of Whiskas and his Kitten Kollege (The University of Kittens).

Experience Space
The 4 strategic pillars are the basis of the organized idea, but this is not enough to apply a storyscaping strategy. It is also necessary to add the experience space, so let’s see what this means.

This experience space is the space where users create their own story. It is divided between the physical space, the virtual space and the emotional space, and the brand can accompany the hero of the story through all the virtual and analog channels in which it is present.
Source: Medium

Through these channels, we can already create a strategy to put the hero and the brand in contact.

But remember that each touchpoint represents a part of this story, so you should not end it. One technique that can be used to maintain user interest is the cliffhanger . It is a narrative device that leaves the story open at the end of the chapter , increasing the audience’s interest to advance the plot.

Surely this resource sounds familiar to you, since it is very recurrent in series . An example of a series that used it with great success is Breaking Bad , leaving each chapter open to want to see the next. Other classics like Lost, Twin Peaks , The Sopranos or Friends also used it.

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Applied storyscaping: examples
As you have seen, storyscaping is a technique that can become very complex and address many channels and the entire buyer’s journey. But, to help you visualize it, I have selected two specific examples of campaigns that use storyscaping resources: Whiskas and Ford.

This brand of cat food detected in 2015 that caring for cats was a growing trend on the internet. So they decided to position themselves as a benchmark in this area: in this way they found how to focus their organized idea. Let’s see how they executed it.

In his Kitten Kollege campaign, Whiskas put cats as heroes of history in a world dedicated to them. The protagonists attended a space (the university) where Whiskas experts were perfectly aware of their needs and received the necessary care for their physical and psychological development thanks to the Whiskas diet.

This cute ad combines an adorable little feline factor with viral internet meme references and valuable information about the brand. With this alternative world, Whiskas managed to connect emotionally with cat owners, while entertaining them and positioning themselves in the field they wanted.

In the second episode we see how the brand takes the role of mentor even more by showing its knowledge of the different types of cats and their characteristics: Whiskas made several episodes of this story, contemplating different aspects of caring for a cat such as its forms of communication ( meowing, purring, hissing, etc.) or the responsibility that falls on the owner when adopting a cat.

What was the result of this campaign? Whiskas created this campaign for the UK but ended up broadcasting it worldwide, seeing its success. They finally got more than 39 million views and a 47% increase in brand mention. With all the retargeting options this offers to follow the story.

Ford Movement
Although the Ford Fiesta example would not be an example of pure storyscaping because it was in 2010 and the storyscaping book was published in 2014, I think it is a very creative campaign that captures many principles of storyscaping. Let’s see it.

In 2010 Ford released a new Fiesta model and needed to promote it. What did? He gave 100 Ford Fiesta to 100 agents so they could share their experience under two premises: have fun and be honest. Their idea: With traditional advertisements it is difficult to convey credibility about the characteristics of the cars, so they let the agents do it on their own experience.

Agents needed to engage the community with their experiences, so a lot of content was created about agents living their experiences with the new models . Here we have the winning video:


How did it work? In 14 weeks, they achieved 587 million engagements through conversations, content and events, and more than 1 million views on YouTube. We see that the audience welcomed this content as it became the most comprehensive, effective and long-lasting user-created campaign to date.

If we have the heroes, the world, and the story, why do I think it doesn’t quite fit in with storyscaping? Let’s review the applications of this strategy:

Organized idea: we have the organized idea, because, thanks to the proximity of the agents, their experiences with the characteristics of the car and the engagement they cause in their communication channels, we respond positively to the questions that define the organized idea.
Experience Space: we have the physical, virtual and emotional space in which the story and its communication channels take place.
Where does it not fit? In the 4 pillars: we do not see the story of a hero mentored by the brand to achieve their goals and satisfy their needs thanks to the product. Rather we see many non-interconnected stories that show us the characteristics of the product. But these stories lack storyline, hero and travel.

Although we must remember that this campaign predates the invention of storyscaping, so it is a great job by Ford. And I have decided to add it to the article because I think it can inspire the creation of storyscaping campaigns.

Well, did I get it? Have these two examples inspired you? I hope that now that you know more about the concept of storyscaping you will begin to include it in your marketing strategies. As you do? I’d love for you to tell me about it in the comments.

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