October 04, 2017

JETZT NEU UND IN FARBE: STORYTELLING


Seit drei Jahren ist dies eines der meistverkauften PR-Bücher und Ratgeber auf amazon (Bestseller Public Relations) - Ab Oktober kommt Storytelling jetzt in der 2. Auflage mit neuen Geschichten, noch mehr Checklisten und Tipps und in Farbe in den Buchhandel. Und ich hoffe, auch dieser Titel findet viele Fans.

September 25, 2017

Kreativ-Chefin von Ketchum lehrt nun, Geschichten zu erzählen - Petra Sammer macht sich nach 25 Jahren selbstständig

Nach 25 Jahren bei Ketchum wagt sich Petra Sammer in die Selbstständigkeit. Die Chefkreative der PR-Agentur wird in Sachen ihres Lieblingsthemas beraten: Storytelling. "Eine Herzensangelegenheit", wie sie sagt. Gute Geschichten würden in der Kommunikation viel zu selten erzählt. In der PR komme laut Sammer oft die visuelle Sprache zu kurz, Werber erzählen Ge schichten zu selten zu Ende. Dabei verlangt insbesondere die digitale Kommunikation die Kunst des Storytellings. Content-Marketing und native Advertising sind hier nur die Spitzen der Entwicklung. Aber es scheitert viel zu oft an Unwissen, an Zeit oder handwerklichen Fehlern. Sie weiß, wovon sie spricht, nach 25 Jahren in der PR und zuletzt auch als Jurorin bei den D&AD und den Clio Awards sowie zweimal in Cannes. Bis Jahresende, so lange istsie formal noch bei Ketchum, hält Sammer für ihre Bücher Storytelling und Visual Storytelling Vorträge und Seminare. Danach will sie konkret auf eigene Rechnung beraten - nicht nur Marken, sondern auch Agenturen. _lp (Quelle: Kontakter, Leif Pellikan, 21.9.17)

September 11, 2017

15 ARGUMENTE, WARUM VIDEOS UNVERZICHTBAR SIND


"We are entering this new golden age of video. I wouldn't be surprised if you fast-forward five years and most of the content that people see and share on a day-to-day basis is video." Mark Zuckerberg

Nun, so lange wie Mark Zuckerberg vorhersagt, muss man gar nicht warten. Schon heute ist ein Großteil des Internettraffics durch Videos verursacht und laut Cisco wird dies im Jahr 2021 bereits über 80 Prozent ausmachen. Es lohnt sich also dringend, mit dem ein paar Argumente zurecht zu legen, um das Thema Bewegtbild voranzutreiben. Hier sind 15:
  1. 90 % aller Informationen, die an unser Gehirn gesendet werden, sind visuell (Politzer 2008).
  2. 40 % aller Nervenbahnen im Gehirn sind mit der Retina verbunden (Politzer 2008).
  3. 55 % sehen sich täglich online Videos an (https://ctt.ec/fff64).
  4. Die Zahl der Video-Posts pro Person ist innerhalb eines Jahres um 75 % gestiegen (Facebook IQ).
  5. 85 % der Videos auf Facebook werden ohne Ton angesehen (Digiday).
  6. 82 % der Twitter-User sehen sich Video-Inhalte auf Twitter an (Bloomberg). 
  7. Manager geben an, dass sie zu 59 % Video bevorzugen, wenn zu einem Thema sowohl Text- als auch Videoinformationen zur Verfügung stehen (TubularInsights).
  8. Der Video-Traffic bei ausgewählten europäischen Unternehmen stieg zwischen 2009 und 2015 um das 8fache (Studie movingimage).
  9. Zwei Drittel der umsatzstärksten Unternehmen in Deutschland betreiben einen YouTube-Kanal (Edelman.ergo).
  10. Visuelle Kommunikation ist für 94,4 % der Unternehmen in Europa von zentraler Bedeutung. Doch über 53 % der europäischen Kommunikationsmanager fühlen sich nicht kompetent auf diesem Gebiet (European Communication Monitor 2017).
  11. 87,9 % der europäischen Unternehmen sehen Videos als wichtiges Instrument der strategischen Kommunikation im Vergleich zu vor drei Jahren (ECM 2017).
  12. Die Nennung des Wortes "Video" in der Betreffzeile eines Emails erhöht die Klickrate zum Öffnen der Email um 19 % (Syndacast).
  13. Ein Video in einer Pressemitteilung hat eine 270 % höhere Klickrate als eine reine Textmeldung (newsaktuell).
  14. Die Kaufbereitschaft von Kunden steigt um 64 %, nachdem sie ein Video über ein Produkt gesehen haben (Forbes).
  15. 37 % der Kunden geben an, dass sie bei einem schlecht gemachten Video vom Kauf eines Produktes absehen (Wyzowl).
Quellen: Video-PR 2017, ein Whitepaper von newsaktuellMarketing Review St. Gallen 2l2017Invista: 27 Video Stats for 2017European Communication Monitor 2017 | Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

September 04, 2017

VR - MORE THEATER THAN FILM. MORE GAME THAN STORY. 6 SKILLS YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND VIRTUAL REALITY


Jessica Brillhart, Principal Filmmaker VR at Google, complains that we interpret Virtual Reality, this new technology, with old techniques. In an interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung this summer she pointed out fundamental differences between VR and filmmaking. The most important one: in VR there is no audience. In her opinion recipients of a VR project should be seen as visitors not as an audience. Users are visiting and interacting with a VR-world. They are not observing only a story. Reading her interview I thought it would be worth to have a quick look into the sources that inspired VR. Defining six key skills and fields of knowledge to master VR

1. Storytelling 
Storytelling seems to be a fundamental skill for VR. Truth is: it´s not. At least for today. But this will change in the future. Definitely. Today we see a lot of epic content that wows people because of extraordinary places, extreme height or depth. Places where we´ve never been or couldn´t go. There is a lot exciting and frightening stuff out there. And as long as there are some users left who have never tried VR goggles this content will still be satisfying. All others will ask for more. For stories and adventures. But here comes the challenge for storytellers: VR needs a narrative, but it is not linear. There is no classic story-arch from “Beginning” to “Climax” to “Happy End”. And on top of this: the control upon the plot is not by the author. It´s with the user. So VR content is less a story, more a world. And the job of a storyteller in VR is guide the visitor through different options of a world to get him or her maximum experience.


2. Film

If you want to become a master of VR storytelling is a must but you also have to be an expert on moviemaking. You should be a scriptwriter, a director, a storyboard artist and a camera man too. VR is such a visual art – same as film so you should know about colors and composition, about real acting and animation as well as motion graphics, 3D of course. Some film-artists see VR as their future. So you have to learn all this and then – unlearn everything. There is a reason why independent filmmakers are experimenting with VR. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Academy Award winner (Birdman, The Revenant), impressed the Cannes Filmfestival 2017 with his experimental VR project “Carne y Arena”

He says about his experiences with VR: “This is groundbreaking, very provoking. As filmmakers, none of the grammar tools apply. A film is about frame, the length of a take, the juxtaposition of edited images. A film without a frame is to film as a car without tires. It´s not a car anymore. It´s a leap forward. With cinema, that little hole you see through, I give you 20% as director and you figure out the other 80%. That´s the dialectic. Here I give you 360 degrees,” Iñárritu said. “In this ironically, you have the control. I give you the will, with light and sound and all, but you act unilaterally. It reveals who you are. You can watch Netflix at home, but with this you have to go out. It´s not cinema. It´s being cinema. I like this stretching thing to make people go out of their houses.” 

But here comes another obstacle: a Hollywood blockbuster costs millions of dollars. And – in the best case - it brings millions of dollars back as viewers pay for a ticket. Each film presentation is a unique group experience in a cinema worth this money (well, Netflix may have a different opinion on this). A VR project – like Iñárritu ´s “Carne y Arena” is reserved to a small group of individuals. And – so far - it’s an individual, solitary experience.

You are alone in VR – but you are active. “In fact, every time we go to the movies, a booming disembodied voice tells us to sit quietly and keep our mouths shut.” (Scott Rigby in “Glued to Games”). In VR you have to act, like an actor on stage.


3. Theater

This is another field of knowledge you should be aware of: Theater. Not many had been aware of the “Fourth Wall” when Netflix let Kevin Spacy alias Francis Underwood in House of Cards turn straight to the camera and talk to us straight. Nearly 100 years ago the German author and theater director Berthold Brecht was one of the first to break the theater rule of the “4th Wall”. Brecht also asked the audience to play, to enter the stage or instructed actors to leave the stage and interact with theater visitors.

There is a lot VR can learn from theater. Especially how to design space. With 360 degree your stage is enormous. You need to take care of more than the corner where the action is happening. A theater stage is wider than the perspective and angle of view of your main character or your camera. The whole stage needs to be designed and it´s up to the audience where to look at first.

Despite the fact that many theater academies are refusing to work with VR, there are some teams, testing whether this new technology can enhance theater experience. Pioneers are Marcel Kanapke and Branko Janack. The media designer teamed up with the theater director in Berlin to bring “Cyber Räuber on stage. Sorry on VR. “CyberRäuber” is a modern interpretation of Friedrich Schiller´s classic drama from 1782. Well, Kanapke and Janack use Schiller´s theme and text fragments.
What can VR offer what theater does not have: its immersion. As a user you dive into this world as never before and you are not observing Schiller´s “Räuber”, you are one of them. This benefit is the reason why the National Theater in London has opend up a Immersive Storytelling Studio to test and try new formats of storytelling for theater and VR. Have a look for yourself: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/immersive


4. Games

Speaking about immersive storytelling you have to know as much as you can about games. The gaming industry is a true master of Immersion. Millions of players around the world forget time and place, dive deep into a game and play for hours. Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls this phenomenon the “flow effect”. 

In VR we are not at that stage yet. Still we don´t blur out reality completely. A far as we have to wear this heave goggles we will not dive hundred percent into the story. Still our brain tells us that what our eyes and ears recognize is not matching with the information from our body – so something is wrong here. But we will see what happens when performance artist Mark Farid will do what he announced last year: he will spend 28 days, nearly a month, for 24 hours a day in VR and tries to blur the line between reality and virtuality. What VR definitely is learning from Game desigers ist how to handle interactivity and storytelling. How to offer different scenarios to create an open and endless story which is built on a collaborative narrative as VR is not only an invitation to play, it’s a common experience.


5. Theme and Amusement Parks

Brings us to the fifths area of expertise: parks and modern museum design as well. Think about VR as a theme park where you can walk around and decide on your own which experience you are interested first. Walt Disney was the first to see the opportunities for theme parks. And notice the word “theme” here. “Disney rides put people inside a story in the real world.” (Flint Dille in “The ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design”). And VR is doing the same in a virtual world.


6. Technology

Last but not least - this is obvious: You have to be a techy. Going beyond 2D and 3D animation. Understanding how to use hardware such as weareables. There will come so much more than Oculus Rifts and Hololenses. Today 10 million goggles are sold and the gadget will become cheaper. But with the internet of things on the horizon it’s a matter of time that all kind of clothes or furniture or even a washing machine in your home will be able to tell you a story. Ordinary items will talk and interact with you – for entertainment, learning or for work. VR does not need to be seen only as a luxury for pleasure. That’s just the beginning. Augmented Games such as Ingress and Pokemon Go are first proofpoints that we will extend our reality with virtual content and the other way round. Expanding our experiences to learn for work and for live. Just imagine … well … find out for yourself e.g. on the website of Magic leap.

Virtual Reality is a pretty new technology. And we all make our first baby steps. Therefor Jessica Brillhart resumed her view on VR at a talk in Stuttgart with a quote from U.S. author Kurz Vonnegut – spot on: “Hello Babies. Welcome to Earth. It´s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It´s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you´ve got a hundred years here. There´s only one rule that I know of, babies `God damn it, you´ve got to be kind´.” 


Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash




May 01, 2017

PLEASE STOP SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - WHEN YOU WANT TO WIN A PR AWARD


I´ve been in many juries for PR Awards. I´ve been in the jury for the Cannes PR Lions, the Clio and the highly respected D&AD Awards. Each jury was an honour and a pleasure. But one thing became a growing burden – year after year, from jury to jury. More and more I got the impression that we judge not the real world. The real PR and Marketing-world is a world, where products are launched and corporations are managed. But the cases we discussed in all this jury rooms where not about products or business. The PR programs we saw presented solely brands which help overcoming the gender gap, companies which help to stop violence against women and brands or corporations which supporting refugees and all poor children around the world. 

Don´t miss understand me, I´ve seen brilliant social responsibility programs, smart and very creative work. But when you judge more than 500 entries for the D&AD Awards and nearly every program is somehow cause-related and doing good, you wonder whether this work reflects reality and demonstrates the industry we are realy in. 

The spirits we called

Well, you´ve heard this already. Complaints about so called “Golden Ideas”, ideas and programs only executed to win an award, right? But I think for PR that´s not the only reason.

It´s the spirits we called, the Pandora´s box we´ve opend – some years ago. Wi we pledgeth the new century we´ve predged companies to face their responsibility for society and environment. We urged them to step in. A bunch of companies today are so big that they beat the gross national product of many countries. Walmart for example, with more than 500 Billion US-Dollar revenue. Only 22 countries around the world are bigger than this enterprise. So it´s clear: this mega-companies have to have a say in this world – and take their responsibility. 

So Marketing and PR jumped in over the last ten years – to invest and intervene to change the world for the better. And yes, many fulfilled their duty. But there is also the other side of the coin: There is “green washing”, “white washing”, “pink washing” and even “rainbow-colored washing”. And all in all – it seems – there is too much of everything.

Take Social Responsibility for granted


So I am very happy that the jury at D&AD 2017 did a brave step. We´ve simply disestablished the PR-award category “Social Responsibility”. With a good reason. Here is what the jury has to say about this: 

“We felt that in today’s changing and uncertain world brands have a responsibility to embed social responsibility into their business and marketing activity. We should not be treating this as a separate category. Where appropriate the campaigns that were rooted in the core business of the brand and delivered impactful change we moved into other categories.”

And that’s it: social responsibility should not be “on top of a PR-program”. It should be implicit. Only being "social" is not a reason to win at any Marketing, PR and creativity award show. We saw fantastic programs which we moved other categories where they fit even better and where they won for a better reason than just supporting “social responsibility”.

A wonderful side-effect of the elimination and movement was that we filled up categories which are normally pretty empty such as “public affairs” - categories which represented our industry much better and more realistic.

So have a look into this year´s winners . All D&AD pencils are very well deserved. Congratulations to all winners. Especially to one - the Black Pencil Winner “Meet Graham” by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for the Transport Accident Commission (Victoria). The PR-Category is very new at D&AD, this year was the second, so we are very proud to honor a Black Pencil to a PR-program this year.

This program fulfilled all criteria the PR jury was looking for: 1. An original and inspiring idea which is able to spark a larger conversation in public, 2. An iconic delivery, an imprint on your mind, exceptionally well executed and highly visible and 3. A relevant idea which connects to a context motivating to an audience and changing behaviour. All this you can see in “Meet Graham” 

And on top of this, the iconic visual of Graham fits perfectly to a visual trend predicted by Getty Images for this year: Messthetics, the power of the ugly aesthetic. To qupte Getty: “Messthetics is all about harnessing the power of the ugly aesthetic. Its about a rebellion against the order of everyday life that revels in the physicality and soul of human nature.”

February 16, 2017

REALITY REALLY? INFOGRAPHIC VERSUS PHOTO


The first infographic was published April 7, 1806 in the London Times. It displayed a floor plan. A plan of an apartment where a murder happened. And the Times published the drawing because photos had not been available as they would have been too expensive.

Today infographics are not a makeshift for photos anymore. Oh no. Since the last ten years the creativity around pie and bar charts exploded. Big and new sources for data nurture more and more visual displays of facts and figures.
Graphic artists fought hard for awareness, recognition and appreciation for their profession. They fought hard for more and more media space. Infographic artists are seen pari passu to photographer.

But there is a clear difference between graphics and photo. Not surprisingly. But what´s this difference about? Both – graphics and photos - strive for attention. Both give you more than information. Both delight us as recipient with visual storytelling.

„A photo keeps record of reality. An infographic can reinterpret reality. So we need both.” says Stefan Fichtel, founder of Berlin agency „ixtract“ in an article in Sueddeutsche Zeitung about the rise of infographics in media.

Hieram Henriquez has done a brilliant analysis on the “Importance of Infographics in Journalim”. His work from 2014 is worth a read: The Importance of Explanatory Infographics in Journalism

Therefore the art and profession to create relevant infographics asks for a complex set of skills as Steve Dueness, graphic director of the New York Times explains: “My point is that information graphics are not just art. They're a combination of art and journalism and a little bit of science. A background in art won't hurt. It helps if you can draw, but it's also important that you are a fast researcher, and you know the ins and outs of a variety of software packages or programming languages." (Photo: https://unsplash.com/)

February 15, 2017

CREATIVE DATA: WOW, OH & AH


“Was heute zählt ist weniger die Menge an Daten, die ein Unternehmen sammeln kann, als vielmehr seine Fähigkeit, Zusammenhänge zu erkennen und Daten sinnvoll zu nutzen.” Die Diskussion rund um Big Data biegt jetzt endlich ein in die qualifizierende Runde. Längst ist klar, dass wir jede Menge Daten erheben können. Doch bisher sind so viele Unternehmen und Marken schuldig geblieben, dass sie diese Daten auch sinnvoll einsetzen können. Einige bunte Infographiken erweckten unser Aufmerksamkeit – zusammengestellt durch kreative Daten. Und auch einige Produkte beeindruckten, da sie mithilfe gesammelter Daten entwickelt wurden. Aber so wirklich Überzeugendes war bisher nicht dabei. Da fällt positiv auf, dass Unternehmen wie P&G oder Unilever nun ihre eigene Marktforschung auf Vordermann bringen und deren Fähigkeiten, Daten einzutreiben und zu analysieren, neu nutzen. Keith Weed, Marketingdirektor von Unilever, berichtet in der Harvard Business Review über die Umgestaltung der unternehmenseigenen Marktforschung in eine „Insight Engine“. Kampagnen wie „Like a girl“, deren größter Verdienst ist, Insights in beeindruckender Weise zu visualisieren, basieren nicht auf einem zufällig entdeckten Insight (= a fundamental human truth), sondern auf der strukturierten Forschungsarbeit der firmeninternen Researcheabteilung.

3-Phasen Model einer Insight Kampagne
Sogenannte Insight-Stories und Kampagnen basieren auf einem klaren Muster: WOW – OH – AHA.

WOW: Unternehmen und Marke begeistern durch die Visualisierung eines Insights, mit dem sich die Zielgruppe identifizieren kann (Instrumente der Kommunikation sind: Above the Line / Advertising / YoutTube / Spectacular / Stunt / Outdoor)

OH: Die zweite Stufe einer Insight-Kampagne zündet durch überzeugendes Engagement und einen klaren „Call to Action“. Die Zielgruppe wird zum Mitmachen aufgefordert und ihr wird auch ein klares Produktangebot gemacht. (Instrumente der Kommunikation sind u.a. Social Media / Gewinnspiele / Sampling / Couponing)

AHA: Die ganze Kampagne würde jedoch nicht funktionieren, gäbe es die dritte Stufe nicht … die rationale Unterfütterung. Hier werden die Daten und Fakten hinter dem Storytelling und dem zugrunde liegenden Insights präsentiert (Instrumente der Kommunikation sind u.a. PR / Studienkommunikation / Speaking Opportunities / Influencer Relationship / Bildungsprogramme / CSR Programme)