CONNECT + DEVELOP + INNOVATE
Is a Senior Creative Consultant at Transmedia Storyteller LTD, London. A graduate of Audiovisual Communication from the Complutense University and holder of a BA in Media Practice and Theory from Sussex University, Brighton, since 2003 she has been working within the field of narrative development as a stage director, lecturer, actress and creativity coach.
For any brand, the holy grail is engagement, managing to create an impact with your content, to be followed up with creating an emotion in the audience. We understand engagement as having an audience entirely engrossed in the moment, captivated by the story, completely forgetting the real context, transported to a world different from ours.
This engagement is something that storytelling provokes, because we are social beings who understand and learn about the world around us through stories and legends. The stories capture our attention, because their characters are complex creations, and the tales are full of nooks and crannies among which we allow ourselves to get lost. We either love or despise them, but we always feel some kind of identification with them that allows us to project ourselves into the story.
It has been clear for years that storytelling is a powerful weapon for brands, but why is there so much reluctance to create branded stories? Why, when they are created, do some not work as well as expected? The answer is clear: conflict. Attractive stories are based on conflicts, and brands, used to portraying themselves in the best light, and with the least possible friction, often create stories with little conflict in them. Perhaps they know how to portray themselves as comic heroes fighting against an external enemy, but the characters who steal our hearts are those with an edge, with a tainted heart and a lot of inner conflict.
But we have reached the point where storytelling is no longer enough. Hyperconnection and an abundance of content has resulted in a sea of stories all competing for our attention. And the public that has grown up in this narrative chaos is no longer content with the classical storyline about the hero’s journey. Today’s audience wants intricate, complex characters, antiheroes… And not just to see them, but they also want to become them, to step into the characters’ shoes in order to understand the reasons behind their decisions and actions. This is where immersion comes in.
Immersion helps our fans to live out a 360º experience, either with immersive technology (such as virtual reality), or with immersive narrative (such as transmedia storytelling) or within an immersive space (such as immersive theatre or interactive installation). All of these dimensions allow brands to build memorable experiences, substantiating authentic relationships between the brand and the individual. However, brands must be able to convert immersion into a lasting engagement so that these participatory opportunities do not remain mere fireworks. The benefits an immersive storytelling strategy are exorbitant, but once your followers are given decision making powers, there is no turning back. Do you dare?
Belén Santa-Olalla is a Senior Creative Consultant at Transmedia Storyteller LTD, London. Along with Robert Pratten, she has been involved with transmedia consulting work for various international companies in marketing, training and education projects. In Spain, she has led the transmedia experience 19reinos.com for the Season 4 of Game of Thrones launch on Canal+. A speaker at international conferences such as SXSW (USA), she collaborates as a lecturer in graduate programs on Transmedia Storytelling and Branded Content. She is director of the immersion theatre company Stroke114, founder of Meetup Transmedia Madrid and Transmedia Málaga and the author of the blog Universo Transmedia.
A graduate of Audiovisual Communication from the Complutense University and holder of a BA in Media Practice and Theory from Sussex University, Brighton, since 2003 she has been working within the field of narrative development as a stage director, lecturer, actress and creativity coach. She has worked as a researcher in the use of second screens with the Department of Marketing and Market Research at the UCM and has worked in the field of Mobility Solutions at Creadsmedia.
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