COMMUNICATING AND INNOVATING ARE CLOSELY LINKED AND WILL INCREASINGLY BE SO IN THE NEAR FUTURE
In today’s competitive landscape, corporate communication must be able to position its brands in a distinctive way, by adopting different storytelling strategies from those used in the past, more in step with the new technological standards and able to build an increasingly personalised and memorable relationship with the customer.
We must therefore have the courage to disregard the old models of corporate communication based on the periodic dissemination of packaged content with the contribution of advertising agencies, and the routine management of information flows, mainly top-down, to support the launch of products and corporate events. Worn-out models, where commercial phrases, often too repetitive to be effective, alternate with press releases, interviews and quotes that illustrate the visions and thinking of company management. A mainly informative activity to which much of the management of social communication is also still confined. In the eyes of discerning consumers, the proliferation of links between products and brands and ethical issues is also the result of an often excessively instrumental mix of marketing and social causes.
Nowadays, sustaining the intangible values of a brand takes more. A brand can no longer ignore the ability to generate first-hand experiences. It must create engaging moments that evoke emotions and memories. Experiences that introduce the consumer into a narrative world, inspired by the company’s values and products, but also capable of generating a personal experience so vivid and memorable that they feel the need to share it. The aim is to nurture an authentic conversation between customers and the company, a dialogue built around the product that can be extended to others, to the various micro-influencers that the company increasingly surrounds itself with. It is here, in this latest generation of storytelling, which is increasingly immersive, interactive and conversational, that the future of corporate communication lies. Developing product storytelling by generating first-hand experiences is the new direction we must all take. A path made up primarily of innovative technologies, but also of new approaches to creativity, where it is not enough to spread information about the company’s work and offering, but we must know how to build lasting relationships centred on the product experience, so keeping the dialogue and relationships of trust we establish alive over time. Building a brand image guided by a visual and emotional narrative, enjoyed in an experiential way, is becoming increasingly important.
Of the most innovative communication technologies, from virtual to augmented reality, from mixed reality to video mapping environments, the immersive ones are certainly proving to be the most promising.
Virtual and augmented reality, in particular, show the most promising opportunities for development and dissemination to date. An increasing number of companies have begun to appreciate their potential. According to the IDC analysis, the sector will generate a market that will reach USD 215 billion in 2021. The fields of application are very diverse, but corporate communication are certainly one of the areas where immersive and interactive technologies will be used the most. This potential is reinforced by the growing awareness of companies that they can use these technologies to improve the customer experience not only in online communication, but also in points of sale, showrooms and concept stores.
The growth of immersive storytelling promises not only to be rapid, but surprising too: in fact now we can already talk about ‘storyliving‘, that is, experiences to be lived in, which completely absorb the user. We will certainly see the development of solutions combining immersive technologies and gamification, with very promising outcomes for corporate communication. And a new generation of narrative storytelling will soon be made available by the spread of chatbots, virtual assistants and more generally by increasingly reliable voice interfaces. With the help of these new solutions and the growing marketing applications of artificial intelligence, brand storytelling can become increasingly diversified, reaching levels of personalisation and interaction with the consumer that were once unthinkable. It will be possible to better understand how individual customers communicate and understand their behavioural triggers, tailoring the immersive storyline and narrative interaction. In this way, corporate communication will evolve from a flow of information to a real construction of experiences to be lived in the first person. The aim will be to generate not only emotions and involvement, but also a real sense of familiarity with the brand, real in although virtual, because as John Keats recalls: “Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced”.
CEO at ETT