Unless you’ve been trapped at a luxury resort and spa for the last 18 months, you’ll have noticed that 2021 has been a challenging year for businesses in every sector. The biggest factor has been the consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced everyone to change how they work and live.
These challenges have reformed us; we’re stronger, better and leaner than ever before. Increasingly, resilience is being built-in to our business plans and operating models, and this helps us all for the increasingly uncertain future.
A driving force behind our ability to continue under difficult circumstances has been the influence of digital storytelling technologies, which have sharpened our ability to engage with colleagues, business partners and customers remotely. Online and hybrid events have found an irreplaceable position in our arsenal of tools for communication, collaboration and engagement.
New ways of working
As we look back on 2021, it’s hard to ignore the pivotal role that technology has had in helping us to stay connected. However, to begin with, many online events and zoom conferences were a little….well…. not very good. Thankfully, companies have become increasingly adept at using the online event for the amazing opportunity it is. Many have made substantial investments in technology that helps them win better results with online experiences and hybrid events that truly engage and amaze.
A perfect example of this is the Virtual Studio concept created by Purple; this is not only a powerful tool for digital storytelling, but also a full-function digital virtual studio that can be operated by just one or two people. All the power of a movie-studio, made accessible for anyone with a tablet and a story to tell – and for a price that doesn’t break the bank.
Most of us already knew that travelling for business was never a sustainable solution; one day it had to stop. However, there was a lingering fear about remote working which was only banished once it became the only option. Now we all appreciate the value of traveling time saved, and the fact that we can easily blend online or virtual presence with a physical meeting or event. These hybrid events are growing in importance in the workplace. No more traveling 150 miles, spending a day’s worth of time just to give a 8 minute expert presentation for an event; now we can drop in for just those 8 minutes and then get back to work.
Growing your business remotely
It’s hard to understate the value of personal recommendations and being able to really see something in action. However, this became increasingly difficult for many businesses when in-person events were no longer possible, and especially when offices closed around the world.
Digital storytelling has been the savior for many businesses in this position. It has helped companies in many sectors to reach their customers, by enabling them to tell their story with whichever medium has the most impact for that group. This versatility is a fundamental property of the digital world, and when using a software-agnostic storytelling platform like Hyro, they can easily switch how they use existing content to make it fit the audience and context.
While the fatigue of endless zoom calls became a new level of boredom for many, companies that could create slick and multi-level online meetings and presentations had the upper hand. This has actually driven growth for companies who have used this technology effectively. By actively engaging customers and other audiences with media-enhanced experiences, companies like this have truly leveraged digital storytelling technology in the most impactful way.
The return of immersive experiences
In-person events made a comeback in 2021, and this has also meant the resurgence of immersive experiences as a strategic business tool. These have actually become a focus for redefining the new role of the office, by turning office-space into a brand experience and a space for creative collaboration.
Now that office visits have attained a new kind of value, these must be made as worthwhile as possible. What better way to maximize the effectiveness of a customer visit than by getting ‘straight to it’? With an immersive experience, the customer steps directly into a customized digital storytelling experience with them at the center. The benefits for their situation are made immediately obvious, with a well-defined story that is cut down to the most vital parts.
A growing number of companies have realized that they can use immersive experiences for much more than VIP presentations, and they are using these for ensuring that their workers get the most out of a day at the office. Training can be achieved more effectively and quickly using immersive digital storytelling, and immersive rooms are used more frequently as ways for teams to collaborate, brainstorm and visualize new possibilities.
How Digital Storytelling technologies will support business in the future
There are some major trends that are expected to continue into 2022 and beyond, and many of these reflect the new role of digital storytelling as a ‘staple’ of the new portfolio of business tools.
One huge effect of the previous year has been the way we value time. Digital storytelling helps businesses to reach their end-goals more quickly, by targeting customers more effectively with stories that have real impact. We no longer need to sit through long and boring presentations, because digital storytelling lets us turn these into multi-level experiences that can visualize abstract ideas and demonstrate positive impacts in terms a human being can understand and appreciate.
Our online experiences have gone from being seriously shaky, to being polished and professional, thanks to state-of-the-art tools like the Virtual Studio. These enable any role within the company to take the stage and show a story that engages the audience and helps them understand.
Training is becoming easier, safer, and less labor-intensive, thanks to digital storytelling-powered training programs that use virtual situations to create real expertise. This can be done with minimal contact if needed, but the real value is how it accelerates the training and makes it more memorable.
Whatever the future brings, we’ve become better prepared for the unknown; we have the technology to help bring real resilience to our businesses.