How mobile tech is radically altering our stories


By Hannah Schmitt

Mobile technology is our future. Technology has evolved from being just a form of luxury segregating society into classes to an entity engraved into the everyday. We make sense of the world around us through the eyes of the mobile phone (‘Seeing the World Around You Through Your Phone’).

Fifty years ago, what we now know as the smartphone was just a figment of one’s imagination. The phone was bulky and static in nature, consisting of a mechanical wheel that meant you had to dial a digit at a time to make a phone call. Communicating to people around the world was only possible through letters, and therefore communication was in no means instant.

Innovation and mobility

Twenty-five years ago, touch-tone services came into play slaying dialling time and is still today, foreshadowing the digital revolution that influences everyday communications. We have ventured into the generation of innovation and mobility: two concepts that were previously understood as two separate entities are now two sides of the same coin.

Technology is an intricate part of our lives on a day-to-day basis, the mobile phone even more so. It’s the first thing most people reach for when the wake up in the morning. The mobile phone is almost like a third arm, weaving itself deeper and deeper into the roots of our lives and who we are.

Blurring public and private spaces

Five years from now, our generation will be even more integrated technologically speaking (‘Five trends that will drive the future’). The path of technology is in nature, never ending. We have fractured the defined lines between the public and the private through mobilisation and communication bringing the private into the public embodied space.

This will only lead to the development of privatisation within urban spaces leading to the private space being a form of the public. The mobile phone has opened a realm in which we can create almost a cocoon for ourselves communicating and interacting with whom we choose to, through apps like iMessage, Facebook, Snapchat, Gmail.   

All forms of technology will progress in means of mobility with implications on the vast possibilities mobilising technology will have on the urban makeup of spaces. More and more so every day activities will become possible through the mobile phone where the phone becomes a personalised device that is indistinguishable from ourselves, living our lives through our phones (‘The Internet Has Become the External Hard drive for Our Memories’)

The next trend will fall under this concept of mobility of technology. Applications will become the sole definer of who we are and what we can do. The mobile phone has given us an area of control; we are in control of who we are through our mobile devices. We can move through urban spaces creating a cocoon in which we can communicate with others, travel from A to B and privatise a public space for ourselves, through the mobile phone.

This concept of shaping our own space will only grow. We will be able to control our lives even more so than we do today through our mobile phones. A new demographic will arise from this and that demographic is not based on gender or age but on access to mobile devices. The future is literally in our hands. We have the control of who we are, telling the story, our story, we want to tell and share through the mobile phone.


The rise of transmedia storytelling


By John Shewell.

Seriously, what the hell is this? Sounds like a disease inflicted on marketers! But no, it’s an emerging concept that’s going to radically transform communications. We’re truly at the edge of significant disruption.

Transmedia storytelling is emerging as the big player and if you don’t know about it, then best you get in touch with us to find out more (cheeky plug, I know!).

So, what’s transmedia storytelling? It’s the technique of building a single story across multiple platforms using digital technologies to create a fully immersive experience. This shouldn’t be confused with the traditional cross-media communications approach that is currently commonplace.

It’s like a big puzzle with each piece contributing to the overall narrative - each piece adds something new and layers the story to create an immersive story experience.

Transmedia storytelling will transform the way campaigns are designed and delivered as communicators will need to think about how to play their narrative across multiple platforms to build a rich experience for the prosumer.

In short, transmedia storytelling is the new definition for campaigns.

Consumer to prosumer

It’s now widely accepted that the ‘consumer’ is almost gone - the passive recipient of information is being replaced by the ‘prosumer’ - the active participant in gathering, creating, and curating information.

The prosumer is empowered by technology to give them more choice, but this fragmentation of channels is where the opportunity lies - transmedia storytelling. Using a storyline that’s stitched across multiple platforms with the audience at the centre. This makes content all the more relevant for it to engage and stick in the epicentre of the audience’s heart and mind.

Crappy content won’t cut it

Crappy content won’t survive in this new world order - audiences now want to be part of the story. This is why human-centred storytelling is so crucial - this is about building stories around the audience and placing it across relevant platforms that will immerse them with the story.

For brands, this is significant. Brands can transform their communications into powerful stories that engage audiences thereby building a new relationship with people. After all, brands are stories in of themselves - they now need to be told better to cut through the clutter and transmedia storytelling offers brands this opportunity.

Organisations now need to shift from talking about themselves in that traditional ‘look at me, this is why we’re great’ communications to stories built around people and/or issues and placed across multiple platforms relevant to the audience to build and nurture communities of engaged customers.

Social currency

Brands need to involve audiences in the design and delivery of the story - this is human-centred storytelling. It places audiences at the centre of the brand and the narrative is built around them.

For non-profits, transmedia storytelling will radically transform campaigns to engage audiences around issues and influence behaviours in a more profound way because people are connected to the issue - they’re part of the ‘hero’ narrative. This type of social currency makes non-profit campaigns more scalable because the story is being told across multiple platforms and developed over time.

These ongoing stories give marketers powerful opportunities to persuade, promote, and develop loyalty and engagement with target audiences.

Organisations as media companies

As my colleague, Michael Taggart, recently wrote - we’re all media companies now. All organisations need to re-imagine their entire business along the lines of a media company and ask themselves how they can tell their story that resonates powerfully with their stakeholders to build their brand.

For public sector organisations, the opportunity to transform communications should be an urgent priority as citizens’ trust in government declines and cohesion across communities becomes more fragmented.

This is the new challenge for communications teams.

Human-centred storytelling

In order to build compelling stories, organisations need to understand their audience’s entire world-view. Stories must be shaped by what inspires and motivates people. At Foco, we’ve developed an unique approach to getting to the heart of the story, which includes the process of deep insight. This goes beyond the traditional approaches to research by exploring how people make sense of the world around them - this information is the start of the journey to create compelling content that will connect with audiences. But that’s not enough, in order for the story to truly stick it has to be co-designed with the audience.

Yes, it’s a longer process but this is about investing in quality communications and engagement that inspires and motivates people to act.

This is the new model of communications - human-centred is the process - and the delivery is transmedia - and it’s all about storytelling.