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OMD Oasis at CES 2017: The art of storytelling in an attention deficit world

CES 2017 has kicked off the year and we’ve got a jam-packed agenda planned throughout the next few days. In case you aren’t lucky enough to be in Las Vegas, we’re bringing you all the best bits direct from the show floor. Chrissie Hanson, ‎Global Communications Planning Leader at OMD International runs us through yesterday’s panel session on the art of storytelling in an attention deficit world.

At a convention powered by the latest in technological innovation, it was the art of storytelling that captivated the marketing community at OMD Oasis. Claudia Cahill, OMD Content Collective’s President, led a panel comprised of the industry’s leaders in storytelling: Steve Peace (SVP International Media, Sony Pictures), Brad Jakeman (President, PepsiCo’s Global Beverage Group), Dawn Ostroff (President, Condé Nast Entertainment), Mike McCue (CEO Flipboard) and Bryn Mooser (Co-Founder & CEO RYOT).

Each panellist offered a distinct and fascinating perspective on the challenges and contradictions inherent in storytelling in a world that demands both short, snackable content as well as complex, immersive stories that fuel our deepest passions.

Whilst all agreed that brand storytelling has become a much more complex challenge because of both consumer expectation and the proliferation of platforms and channels, the solutions varied. Steve explained that at Sony Pictures, “a narrative structure has been created in which the first 3 seconds are comprised of 5 to 10 shots; a visual mnemonic of the very best shots in our film that pulls you into watching the entire trailer’’. And it’s a narrative structure that is powered by reams of data.

At PepsiCo, Brad built a Content Center because “it was the only way to create the type of content needed to keep pace with the need for innovation’’. He explained that technology provides enormous opportunity for the expression of ideas but the content is critical. “The holy grail is how deeply someone has engaged with the content and it’s not about reach’’.
Dawn shared how she started the Next Gen Studio at Condé Nast to create a storytelling capability on every single platform and admitted that making content for a younger, Millennial audience is challenging because “GenZ have grown up on a diet of content snacks’’ and that there remains a gap in longer form content that is made specifically for them. Mike reminded the audience of the importance of having clear and meaningful objectives and that “really high-quality stories should be the goal’’, not short snackable content; “any story, short or long, has the power to move the world forward’’.

Disrupting the content creation process

The opportunity to break the rules and to disrupt the content creation process was debated and Bryn explained that the mobile phone has been the vehicle for the democratisation of filmmaking. It made it possible for anyone out there to shoot a film and tell a great story. Moreover, with Facebook and YouTube 360, the way you look at video has fundamentally changed; you’re now able to step inside the story, to experience what the person holding the camera sees and feels, bringing people right up close to events around the world. And that closeness is what fuels peoples’ voices and passions.

The discussion shifted into learnings for the audience and there were five key takeaways:

  • Global vs. Local: Ensure stories are relevant across different geographies
    At PepsiCo, a content slate is developed for brands and countries in advance so that the right content is crafted. Interestingly, 90% of their content is now developed globally and shared across territories.
  • Immersive Storytelling isn’t achieved solely by technologies and tactics like VR and AR
    Narrative structure can be incredibly immersive. Consider content strategy over longer timeframes to build out worlds and/or characters, and give people a peek into that.
  • Be nimble and open to change.
    The technology still has to catch up with the vision of storytellers so be prepared to try new things.
  • Focus
    With so many choices for how and where to tell your story, it’s critical to simplify the complexity and focus on the goal of your story.
  • Be Passionate.
    Storytelling gives meaning to the world so embrace the emotion, chaos, and challenge of it.
 To find out more about the OMD Oasis programming at CES 2017, please visit CES.OMD.COM

This article first appeared on OMD EMEA‘s blog.

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