INTRODUCTION. STORYTELLING AND MARKETING
Stories are the essence of human experience; they generate a context for understanding other people and generate relationships. A similar principle is also applicable to products and services: stories generate a context which allows the customer to identify and differentiate one product from its competition; they generate trust, relationship and customer loyalty.
More specifically, storytelling: (1) animates heritage and capitalizes the intellectual and cultural property of a given product/service. (2) certifies provenance (the supplier, the “product” and the place). (3) amalgamates a complex and unique DNA in order to generate unique content and a “unique selling proposition” (USP) which identifies and differentiates it from competition.
The role of Storytelling, in this context, is to create a dreamlike world, which represents the core values of a brand and allows the audience to share in its dream. In other words the provenance and DNA, energized by storytelling, certifies the product and magnetizes the client.
The complexity and depth of the story is what raises the brand in the hierarchy of luxury brands.
DESCRIPTION OF STORYGARDENZ SERVICES
Story gardening is the art of recovering landscape narrative, of developing, curating, publishing and mapping, content for its various applications: enterprise, marketing, tourism, education, conservation and legacy, community cohesion, practice of peace.
Stories are deeply rooted in our sense of place yet can be made open, inclusive and communicative, connecting our humanity with our planet and our heritage. Story gardening is a vital resource for developing identity, self-esteem, creativity, education, enterprise, community cohesion and practice of peace. The commonality of geo-located stories assist us in bridging intangible and tangible heritage and celebrating diversity in a way that everyone can understand
PLACE BASED LEARNING
Realising educational benefits of local narrative for schools, community learning, museums, art centres and cultural tourism.
SKILLS AND METHODOLOGIES
Analysing a landscape and identifying fruitful themes with creative potential. Forming creative commissions with the right teams to deliver projects that make a vital difference.
Particularly in view of the accelerating pace of our society and the communication overload, which have significantly affected the attention span, stories need to be made playful, engaging, mysterious, to generate curiosity, participation, enchantment and a sense of belonging.
Story gardening serves:
- Enterprise. to generate unique content and unique selling propositions (USP) through story based marketing to aid commerce and enterprise.
Tourism. Develop a new kind of experiential tourism and cultural hospitality,
Education to enhance storytelling as a vital resource for generating self-esteem, creativity, education and a higher intelligence and to promote an artistic and “right-brain” perspective in education.
Conservation and legacy to bridge tangible and intangible heritage, actualizing it to make it meaningful and attractive and to facilitate its transition to the next generation.
Networking, diplomacy, practice of peace to nourish identity, community cohesion, and belonging through place based storytelling and to celebrate diversity in a way that everyone can understand, connecting our humanity with our planet and with our heritage.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Story and content curation. Client Story comprises relevant history, legend, folk tale or myth in a storytelling dimension, intended to enchant and engage. Client story includes the residence/production or production facility. (referred to variously as Client story, Client place). (see also Content curation for story based marketing) . The object is to create a total unique experience, associated to Client place and your core values (including your brand), and a unique selling proposition (USP). All of which will represent not only a work of culture and art but also the basic content and ingredients for marketing (web marketing, publicity, communication) and artistic development.
Story to include your local/regional/personal story (including history, legend, folk tales, myth), philosophy and a vision for our times.
Identification of heritage and legacy (tangible and intangible) and immaterial luxury. The term “immaterial luxury” refers to a certain intrinsic quality, beauty, soul, which originates a mature, integrated and harmonious form. “Immaterial luxury” is labour-of-love, timeless application, and its ACH often originates in Medieval craft laboratories. Because of the work involved, the end product may be expensive and even “materially” luxurious. But it is never vulgar. Material luxury and immaterial luxury do not necessarily coincide. Like beauty, “immaterial luxury” is hard to define. Even during the Italian Renaissance, the best definition of great artistic quality was to say that it possessed “non so che”, originating the French term “je ne sais quoi.” , also used in English. People can recognize “immaterial luxury” but they can’t always define it. (see also Content curation for story based marketing)
Actualization. Wherever possible Client story will connect to universally recognizable themes and adapted to contemporary needs, actualizing antiquity (i.e. ancient heritage speaks also to the future and becomes cutting edge).
Geo-location. The style will be geo-located and site-specific (ie. place names will be mentioned frequently to emphasize the sense of Client place - this will serve also web marketing, Google Maps, GPS purposes).
Games. Application of content to games (geocaching, treasure trails etc.)
Children versions. A fairy tale version for children of Client story can be developed.
Identification of locations associated to narrative themes, artistic and conceptual development thereof.
In order to assist comprehension and assimilation, a story (or idea) needs to be given a visual form. Images speak a thousand words.
Especially, in historic settings, the story animating its complex and unique DNA, is often intimately connected to the physical and geographic place; the story of its products and services is connected to its physical features: buildings, fields, ruins, trees, streams, meadows, topology, landscape, perspectives. But these features and its connections to the story are not always visible to the untrained eye and may be lost in the haphazard arrangement and décor of the layers of time.
Most often the power of a defining story-vision and its physical connections need to be seen with a fresh eye and can be highlighted by appropriate signposting (see * 4) and intensified and by additional artifacts (art, objects, icons, sculptures, statues etc.). Sometimes all that is needed is a missing link. To this end Storygardenz collaborates with a group of artists and artisans.
Storygardening has the function, not only of recovering the narrative, but of perfecting its physical connections and material forms.
The process of giving a story-vision a physical form – also essential for marketing – is called “ritual condensation” (Fiske and Hartley 1978).
PRODUCTION AND TECHNICAL APPLICATIONS
Signposting of narrative pathways (*4):
Once the story has been developed, a connection needs to be made with its places and the features which give it substantial form. (natural and man-made). This is achieved with signposting (eg. lecterns with short texts) to create the effect of a narrative landscape. For audio guides QR codes – see also * 7)
Random viewing: From a distance, the visitor is attracted by the sight of a story related feature and sign combined and approaches it to discover its meaning. Eventually his curiosity will make him look for other signs on the property and will draw him on an exploration route of the Client Story and premises.
Narrative pathways: The Client Story, resulting from the story gardening process, can be followed as a specially developed narrative pathway, led by the signposts on the Client Place and premises (residence, parkland, premises
Staging and design of interiors and exteriors incl. landscaping. (*6)
Digital development (geocaching, games, QR codes, light and sound application, video making, photography. (*7)
Print media. development of Client Story in the form of magazines, books, brochures, postcards, posters, souvenirs, calendars and general merchandising for clients (proprietors, partners, guests, co-workers etc.). The written Client Story to be animated with images, cartoons and maps.
Digital media. development of Client Story on websites, blogs, e-news and other social media
DIGITAL DEVELOPMENT (Technical applications)
- Audio guides. an audio guide system, as used in museums, can be applied to Client story / Client Place so that guests can follow the narrative in the park.
- Audio effects. Storytelling and music/sound which is activated near the features and installations by client proximity. This complements signposting near the installations and the live storytelling; creates atmosphere and makes the location vibrate with a life of its own. (See also Audio-Visual below)
Videos Client Story and Client Place for You Tube and web marketing.
Photographs Great and engaging photographs are essential to serve both publishing, and web marketing.
Google Maps visibility OF Client Story and Client Place on Google Maps also with GPS
Geocaching & other games, (treasure trails and other geo located games). Client Story and Client Place can be developed into games to engage the reader/listener actively (ie. treasure hunt, holy grail quest, mystery or riddle-enigma solving). Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a GPS receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook (with a pen or pencil). The geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers can also contain items for trading, such as toys or trinkets, usually of more sentimental worth than financial.
QR codes for apps. Story can be made legible with a QR code (Quick Response Code) which is a type of matrix barcode, a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. It can be read by a scanning device (such as a smartphone, tablet etc.) QR can be applied to Signposting or printed material for random viewing or narrative pathways.
Light design and sound design – Lighting to heighten nighttime effects, create a magical atmosphere; focus attention and filter out daytime clutter. Light and sound bring another dimension of experience to Client story / Client Place; provide atmosphere, tells a story and deepens the experience. Plants and trees come alive and tell their story. By using various sensors (infra-red sensors, touch sensors), objects become a center of interaction to attract visitors to touch and play with them. A tree or feature (see glossary) can be set up to invite a hug or touch in order to activate a certain light and/or sound. Spaces can be equipped with infra-red sensors to modulate light and/or sound depending on the position of the visitor, or guide the visitor by increasing and diminishing intensity.
Augmented reality - Technology such as Microsoft Hololens and Meta are developed to project digitally created images, sounds and models on an existing environment or feature, with the use of a headset. Such technology is utilized to actualize age old stories and bring them to life before the visitor eyes.
GPS based applications for games and other leisure activities (see section “Story and Content curation: Geocaching and Other Games”)
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
Once the story has been developed, training the proprietor to become his own storyteller and to market himself in a way that will create client affiliation. In any case storytelling skills form the communication basis in all fields of life. Production and technical applications (see above) will be created to support the proprietor (features and installations speaking and emitting sound and sonorities).
NETWORKING AND INSTITUTIONAL WORK.
Storygardenz is co-founder of “Stories in Place” an association dedicated to networking of institutions strongly associated to landscape narrative and those communities and places dedicated to expressing and conserving them.