The Content Revolution – Book Interview

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The Content Revolution

Heidi Cohen Interviews Mark Masters New book: The Content Revolution Q: What’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing? You have to go deep. You have to read wider (not just within marketing but human behavior). You have to look at the world and be relentlessly curious. The areas that we are looking to build a reputation within, we have to discover and interpret a different story to the rest of the marketplace. Whether it’s SEO, writing or social, people have to show a depth of understanding in order to differentiate. If you can provide fact, experience and opinion within your particular field, and do it with depth, you can redefine a category. According to a BuzzSumo/Moz report from over 1 million articles, 85% of content published in less that 1,000 words. Long form and longer thinking … Continue reading

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5 Visual Storytelling Trends That are Shaping The Future of Communication

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5 Visual Storytelling Trends That are Shaping The Future of Communication written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

5 Visual Storytelling Trends That Are Shaping the Future of Communication - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Pixabay

Visual storytelling is one of the most potent forms of communication in existence today. From films and virtual reality experiences to interactive games and data visualizations, visual stories are revolutionizing the way we persuade audiences with our messages.

While brands and marketers have generally lagged behind filmmakers and the media in the visual storytelling department, this is rapidly becoming a thing of the past as marketing shifts from “interrupting what people are interested into becoming what people are interested in,” in the words of Marriott’s VP of content marketing, David Beebe.

As the Internet of Things and wearable tech take us closer to a perpetually connected world, visual storytelling will be all around us. From having conversations with our favorite characters to playing games that will help feed the homeless, these visual storytelling trends will allow us to live within stories of our making and, in the process, blur the lines between reality and fiction.

Restrained only by the pace of technological innovation, here are five visual storytelling trends that will shape the future of all communication-related fields:

1. Never-Ending Stories

Audiences’ appetites for captivating stories is growing insatiable–so much so that they don’t want to see them end.

Just take a look at the recent trend in rebooting classic movies and hit TV shows and the nostalgia that leads movie studios to make a profit off of these–even if they’re rarely as good as the original.

In line with this demand, visual stories will increasingly run parallel to our real lives. This means that stories will not only occur in real-time, they will also happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This means that if you tune into one of these story worlds in the middle of the night, you may find that your favorite character is tossing and turning or staying up late to catch up on some work.


Or in the middle of your lunch, you might receive a notification from this parallel story world stating that your character’s town is under a tornado watch.

In fact, we’re already seeing this trend taking shape on social media. On Twitter, for example, you’ll find Mad Men’s Don Draper tweeting regularly to his 18,000 followers and Homer Simpson amusing his 2.27 million followers.

The growth in popularity of live-streaming apps such as Periscope and Meerkat, which allow audiences to interact with personalities in real-time, is another indicator of this trend.

2. Hyperreal Storytelling

The future of visual storytelling will not only follow a 24/7 cycle; it will also appear more real than reality itself.

I call this trend hyperreal storytelling, and it refers to the way technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are allowing us to create immersive stories that appeal to several of the five senses.

Some of these experiences are so authentic that they have the power to fool the mind and body into reacting as if living through the real thing.

Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, have already benefited from therapeutic virtual reality sessions that place them in lifelike but controlled situations, fooling their bodies into registering these as positive “experiences” in which they conquered their fears.

If you think this is too far down the road to think about, take a look at Lucasfilm’s next virtual reality movie about Darth Vader. Set within the Star Wars universe, the movie will allow participants to walk around, manipulate objects, touch characters and even influence the outcome of the story. (In line with the previous trend, it will also have a 24/7 cycle that continues beyond the user’s experience.)

3. Connective Storytelling

Audiences who grew up with the Internet don’t only crave interactive experiences–rather than passive spectatorship–they also want to connect with other people, whether real or fictitious.

Three-dimensional, relatable characters have always been at the heart of the most beloved stories, but in the future of storytelling, it won’t be enough for us to connect with characters emotionally–we must also be able to walk a mile in their shoes.

In the VR experience called “Nerve,” for example, users can put themselves in a movie character’s shoes and experience what it’s like to ride a skateboard while holding onto a police car or climbing a ladder from one high-rise to another.

Or in the Project Syria experience, viewers can feel what it’s like to live in a Syrian refugee camp and sit alongside grieving families as they hear deafening gunfire and rockets overhead.

4. Social Impact Storytelling

Related to the previous trend, visual storytelling of the future will also be used to increase empathy for others and raise funds for social causes.

Just like Project Syria, there are already dozens of VR experiences that aim to increase awareness of the plight of those who are less fortunate.

From living as a homeless person to suffering from Parkinson’s disease, these VR experiences are paving the way for storytelling that has an actual impact on the real world.

There are also social games that are used to raise funds for different causes, such as this initiative which urges participants to become real heroes by playing a game that will help raise money for a children’s hospital.

5. Brand Storytelling

When it comes to crafting unique virtual reality experiences, brands are not far behind filmmakers.

5 Visual Storytelling Trends That Are Shaping the Future of Communication - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit IKEA VR Experience

IKEA, for example, launched this VR experience that allows users to walk around and interact with a virtual kitchen. They can open drawers, move objects, change the look and feel of the kitchen and even explore the space from the point of view of a child.

Always the content marketing trendsetter, Red Bull also created this immersive flying experience which allows participants to enjoy a wild, realistic air race simulation.

Authors of Our Own Stories

In line with these trends, communicators of all types, especially marketers, must then strive to create content that is:

  • Interactive
  • Authentic
  • Immersive
  • Impactful
  • Continuous

Although most of us will not be able to assign millions of dollars to the creation of a VR experience just yet, the trend is clear: The stories of the future will not only become more visual, they will empower us to communicate more vividly than ever through alternate worlds and characters so believable they will blur the lines between fact and fiction, between natural realities and invented ones.


Nayomi ChibanaNayomi Chibana is a journalist and writer for Visme’s Visual Learning Center. She has an M.A. in Journalism and Media from the University of Hamburg in Germany and was an editor of a leading Latin American political investigative magazine for several years. She is particularly passionate about researching trends in transmedia storytelling.

How to Build an Unbreakable Brand Culture

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How to Build an Unbreakable Brand Culture written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

How to Build an Unbreakable Brand Culture - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Pexels

Within every company, big or small, brand and culture must unite to create a solid foundation for a lasting, successful business model. Individually these concepts serve a different purpose, but when combined, they are a driving force that enables long-term and sustainable growth.

Creating a brand culture isn’t easy. It takes a great deal of hard work, time commitment, and patience in order to create an identity that will endure the test of time, especially in today’s ever-changing society. However, there are several steps which business owners can take to invent their brand’s culture:

Step 1: Define (your brand)

A brand is one of the most valuable assets a company has. A strong sense of branding will lead to a stronger sense of pride for current employees, as well as a stronger presence for both prospective staff and customers. Your brand is what you stand for and what you offer to consumers and, in order to be successful, it needs to be unique.

For example, any pizza place can brand itself as a shop that sells pizza, but a truly unique brand has something to offer that others don’t. Whether it’s a unique pizza delivery model, one-of-a-kind toppings or unbeatable prices–they can easily entice people to eat their pizza over other pizza, and they capitalize on it.

What makes your company special? What sets you apart from your competitors? Define this and own it.

 Step 2: Write (your mission, vision, and values)

Once you’ve defined your new brand, write down your company’s mission, vision, and values. These should align with the brand and become the words each employee lives by. Companies that develop these laser-focused, non-negotiable values tend to see higher customer and employee satisfaction, as well as increased revenue.

Take note: your company’s values must be committable in order to be effective. Zappos, an online shoe and clothing store, has excelled at this. The company has a list of 10 core values, one of which is simply to “be humble.” In this video, CEO Tony Hsieh discusses these values and how they were ingrained into the company to create its unique culture.

Step 3: Create (your identity)

Utilizing your new brand, mission, vision, and values, you can now create your company’s identity – or how your company will be presented to the public. This includes the visual statement (color schemes, designs, slogans, etc.) that exemplifies the business’ services, employees, and overall philosophy.

While creating it, remember that this identity will become the permanent lens through which your company views itself. It must clearly and accurately portray everything that has been created so far – your brand’s mission, vision, and values.

As an example of a clear and effective identity, take a look at Treadwell, a small flooring company that specializes in building practical, durable floors. Treadwell partnered with Perky Bros, a creative branding agency, to create its entire brand identity – including logo and website design – with only one request: That the identity is centered around “standing upright and walking the walk” to help their clients feel confident in their product. The result? A combination of dark, bold colors with solid geometric lines that embody the strong and confident look Treadwell hoped for.

Creating this identity isn’t always an easy task. If you’re struggling to translate your brand into your corporate identity, a brand activation agency might be something worth looking into.

Step 4: Educate (your employees)

An employee’s personality and character have a tremendous impact on company culture. Employees are often your brand’s biggest advocates, and building a vibrant culture allows employees to thrive and personify your brand in a positive way.

For that reason, each employee needs to be educated and fully understand the company’s mission, vision, and values beyond just memorization; they must understand why each one exists and what it means to the company, its employees and the public. To truly build the culture you desire, these values should be ingrained in each of your employees and apparent in their daily work.

Step 5: Hire (your best-fit prospects)

Beyond educating any current employees, hiring new employees who fit within your company’s culture and share your company values is vital to building an honest brand. Does your company value cross-department collaboration? Do you have a culture where encouragement and empowerment are the driving force for the company?

If an individual’s personality or work style contradicts it, you are effectively poking a hole in the bottom of the ship that is your brand’s culture. A ship cannot float unless all of its pieces work together, and your culture will sink if the wrong tools are utilized.

In addition, hiring top talent improves employee retention, reduces turnover, and increases productivity. According to a recent study completed by Columbia University, job satisfaction and employee turnover are directly affected by satisfaction with workplace culture.

Step 6: Tell (your story)

Now that you have found your brand, identity, and the right employees, it’s finally time to present your brand and its culture to the public. What’s the best way to do this? Storytelling.

A story has the ability to capture its audience by engaging them and evoking emotion. Without a story, it is impossible to hold the attention of the people watching – or, in this case, the customers who are considering purchasing your product or service.

Your job is to tell the story with all that you have built; tell a story that will captivate and convince your audience (consumers) that they cannot live without your products and services.


The brand culture you create should translate directly to the products or services you offer, and how your company interacts with clients. Each piece should line up strategically and creatively to have the maximum impact. When you establish a clear brand culture, and hire individuals who will complement it and carry it forward, your company is more likely to see the steady, long-term and sustainable growth small businesses can only hope for.

Alyssa ArmstrongAlyssa Armstrong is a digital marketing coordinator at Sparxoo, an integrated digital marketing agency based in Tampa, Florida. At the Xoo, Alyssa helps bring her clients’ brands to life with social media management and content creation. She works with clients of all sizes in industries ranging from education and technology to sports and entertainment.