The first thing I learnt at Sitecore’s digital storytelling conference was that every story needs a beginning, a middle and an end. In fact “Web Psychologist” Nathalie Nahai suggested that most good stories mimic The Lord of the Rings. They don’t have to be epic or involve hobbits, but there are certain points within stories such as conflict and overcoming this, that make it work. In fact Ernest Hemingway once wrote this novel “Baby shoes for sale, never been worn”. The point being you can tell a whole story, with different emotions, in a single sentence. Or for us marketeers, via a vine, an image or a blog post.
My day began with an early train to the big smoke. I navigated my way to Islington’s Business Design Centre and my first impression was how well Sitecore were telling the story of the day. Organisers were dressed as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Prince Charming - a nice touch that embedded the theme. My second thought was how I’d managed to live in Islington for 2 years without even noticing this enormous building. The first speaker was Anders Sormean Nilsson who debated the merits of digital vs analogue. Telling his own emotive story through his parent’s traditional Swedish tailoring shop which was struggling to compete with the likes of eBay and Amazon. Anders used some lovely examples of his mother’s digital reluctance and concern about losing heart. Anders coined the term “Digital Minds, Analogue Hearts” and his story ended well (the overcoming) as he relayed the day his father posted a video on YouTube of himself demonstrating how to tie a traditional Windsor knot. It boomed and the shop boomed with it.
Now to my story’s conflict. At lunch I bumped into a friend who told me they’d attended to learn about Sitecore and to this end, they were a little disappointed. Throughout the day Sitecore did an amazing job of showcasing brands using their products to great effect but they didn’t delve into the ins and outs of their platform. To me this was part of their story. I personally wanted to know what could be achieved, not how it was done. Would Canon do a presentation about the glass that shapes their lenses or would they show you images taken from a Canon camera? But if there was any conflict, the overcoming had to be in the form of Dietmar Dahmen. His energetic and surreal approach to brand storytelling had the audience hooked. He cemented the notion that a story can be told in a single image. He also talked about the importance of brand - a successful company is successful NOW but what about tomorrow and the day after? We should always push for better; let’s not go from good to great, let’s aim for epic. It’s the only way your message will filter through the 6000 other messages we’re subjected to daily. For me, his message got through.
In summary, the conference was a more a celebration of digital than an education. We heard how powerful your brand can be through digital channels but also how technology is changing the world, helping deaf people hear and all of us communicate more efficiently.