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A Narrative Experience

Whether it’s around a campfire, on a rug in a classroom, or whispered between covered lips and eager ears, everyone loves a good story. It is an age old way of influencing behavior, making it a very useful tool for marketers. Narratives create a more immersive experience, causing consumers to spend more time on a site, leading to more conversions, and increasing the likelihood they will share the experience with others.

Non-profits have found that personal narratives can help pull in donors and volunteers, while comforting the afflicted and their families. The Day I Found Out, a website developed by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, does this to great effect by sharing the stories of a community of cancer survivors. By sharing a myriad of stories, they guarantee visitors will find someone they relate to, and the message of universal hope shines through.

Canon takes the multiple stories bit in a more playful direction with their “Your Second Shot” project. The camera company encourages people to recapture moments lost using cameras that do not work well in low light –unlike the Canon PowerShot. A variety of real life stories are shared and visitors even have the chance to share their story to add to the list of recovered moments.

In a very ambitious effort from a very ambitious brand, Mercedes drops visitors into a personalized story called “Sensuality & Sense.” Written by author Joey Goebel, the short story features over 40 hand-illustrated pagestates digitally dissected into 200 layers, to created an interactive story that uses photos, favorites, and a few personal questions to put the user in the narrative. Though the process of personalizing the story may have some interesting drop off rates, the pay off is a beautiful experience that arrests users to the idea of the Mercedes CLS as the car for them and their world.

By using a narrative, marketers are able to present information in a more engaging way. Consumers let down their guard, and practice suspension of disbelief. Soon they find themselves going down the rabbit hole without even realizing they've taken the pill, leading to more happy endings for marketers.

Written by Ken Hammond on February 23, 2011

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Written by
Ken Hammond