Anthropologists tell us that storytelling is central to human existence.
 
Stories have been our most basic method of communication stretching back through the mists of time, from the epic tales of Homer’s Odyssey to the modern age of social media. We use stories to make sense of our world and, in turn, share that understanding with others. Whatever the language.
 
But the way we have told stories has changed. Each new medium of storytelling has offered a deeper level of immersion than the one before. Radio was, arguably, more hypnotic than print, adding voices, sounds and depth. Cinema was another huge step forward, more enthralling, fascinating, dominating the audience’s attention in a way never seen before. Digital and social media has taken that on again, adding another layer of addiction and enjoyment. 
 
With National Storytelling Week upon us, it seems a pertinent time to ask where does storytelling go next?
What we have seen over the past decade is an unprecedented boom in the ability for anyone to tell their own story to the world, across a myriad of platforms and in a multitude of ways. A tweet, a Facebook post, an Instagram story, a blog post or a YouTube video. Stories are competing for our attention in a way never seen before. There are, quite simply, more of them. We make them and share them constantly – but does mean – in 2019 – that stories risk losing their impact? 
 
The answer is that perhaps we are just in search of a deeper level of storytelling. If we’re fast forwarding TV commercials – short but hugely effective stories – or are lost in a smartphone as we walk past advertising banners, then yes, we are harder to reach than we ever have been. So, what’s the answer?
 
Experiences. The best possible way to remember a story is to be a part of it. So rather than be a passive listener, viewer or follower, take part, be in your own story and leave with an experience that endures. Increasingly brands are looking to leave their customers with experiences that cut through the mundane. It is no longer enough to create a TV commercial or a piece of video for social media, now the challenge for brands is how can you tell your story in a way that sweeps up your audience and takes them with you along for the ride, immersing them in that story like never before.
 
That’s the next step, the next level of storytelling.
 

Augmented Reality is offering one such way to do that. At Laduma we are increasingly seeing enquiries from clients seeking experiential products to rise to that challenge. Our AR treasure hunts and trails are now available across Facebook and Instagram, where we can bring huge numbers of people into the story and allow them to experience something that lives with them long after the experience has finished. They are also inherently shareable – a key part of storytelling.

 
We have seen it working in the retail space, with immersive technology already allowing shops to drive a 10-20% (on average) increase in customer engagement and dwell time and a 30-50% increase in sales. There is more data that shows experiences help add conviction to the sales process and higher levels of interest.
 
Stories will continue to be told until the end of time. They will continue to find a way to navigate the challenges of modern society and the increased challenge of getting and holding our attention. But for brands, the key now is to search for a way to bring your audience into your stories and to use immersive and experiential marketing to deliver moments and memories that ensure your brand story lives with your customers long after the final chapter. 
 
 
If you want to find out more about how our immersive storytelling can help your business please contact us at info@thinkladuma.com