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“I tell stories to jurors in the context of representing business people accused of serious federal crimes. I cannot begin to say how much you taught was directly applicable to my work environment.”
– Past Participant John Lauro, Attorney and Owner, Lauro Law Firm
Storytelling has always been central to human experience – it's how we explain and make sense of the world. But today, as media-savvy audiences begin to tune out advertising messages while searching for ever-more-immersive entertainment experiences, the way businesses and professionals need to communicate is changing. Led by best-selling author Frank Rose and offered in partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts, Strategic Storytelling introduces the concept of “narrative thinking” and shows how it can be used to achieve maximum impact in a digital world.
As a member of Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab, Rose is helping to pioneer a new understanding of narrative and its role in the digital age. Research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology has shown that stories are typically more effective at changing people’s minds than rational argument. This means that people — leaders in particular — need to view the world in narrative terms, not as a thesis to be argued or a pitch to be made but as a story to be told. Because stories provide a structure for reality and a key to understanding, because they play to the emotions and rely upon empathy, narrative thinking is a powerful tool.
Strategic Storytelling builds on these insights to show how story is used by entertainment industry professionals, by leading brands, by B2B providers, and by non-profits—and what each of these can learn from the other. Over the course of two days, you will engage in a mix of deep learning and hands-on workshops that will leave you with a thorough understanding of the digital media ecosystem as well as the expertise you’ll need to communicate strategically within it.
The Strategic Storytelling Model™: Four Levels of Engagement
You will learn to employ the Strategic Storytelling Model™, a simple suite of visualization tools designed to help manage the complex narrative ecosystems that audiences are coming to expect in a highly interconnected, digital environment. Developed by Faculty Director Frank Rose and Senior Fellow Paul Woolmington, this model shows how a hit television series like The Walking Dead will spawn not only spin-off TV and Web series but also interactive online quizzes, highly participatory multi-player video games, and even real-world experiences like the AMC Zombie School. Together, these four levels form a self-reinforcing network that deepens the connection of existing fans and brings new ones in. This strategy, and the model that describes it, can be applied not just to entertainment properties but to all sorts of communications, including marketing and journalism.
To learn more about the model, download Frank Rose’s strategy+business article “The Power of Immersive Media.”
Preferred Pricing for Strategic Storytelling and Brand Leadership
Preferred pricing is available for executives who enroll in the Strategic Storytelling and Brand Leadership programs. The two programs feature complementary learnings and run back to back during the same week at Columbia Business School. Please contact Sarah Oh firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 212-853-0634 for more information.
With every new communications technology, the way we tell stories has changed. Now it is changing again, to a new form that is profoundly different from the one-too-many broadcast model of 20th-century mass media. Digital technology is blurring distinctions between content and advertising, author and audience, fiction and reality, while at the same time provoking new and challenging expectations among audiences and consumers alike. Columbia’s two-day intensive will supply the understanding and context you need to navigate this new world as well as the skills you’ll require to turn these developments to your advantage.
Through a series of lessons, case studies, and highly participatory workshops, this program will explain:
- The central role of stories in human experience
- How storytelling is changing in response to transformative technologies and why these technologies are having the effects they do
- The role of social media in storytelling strategy
- The need for authenticity and the appeal of user participation.
- The allure, and the limitations, of virtual reality and other cutting-edge techniques
By the end of the program, you will be equipped to:
- Express your brand’s or organization’s appeal in narrative form
- Leverage universal storytelling techniques while embracing new rules and strategies for the digital age
- Satisfy the desire—particularly strong among Millennials—for immersive experiences and participatory engagement
- Make the transition from simply telling stories to creating rich and immersive environments that people can enter and make their own
Upon completion of this program, you will earn two days towards a Certificate with select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.
Strategic Storytelling connects narrative concepts and strategies with actual case studies. Participants will work together in small groups to address real-world challenges that require innovative thinking as well as a thorough understanding of narrative technique. You will leave with an essential grounding in immersive storytelling strategies as well as a conceptual framework and a set of tools you can put to use right away.
Day 1 begins by delving into the art and science of storytelling—why it’s effective, how it works, why it’s changing today, and what that means for anyone with a story to tell. We look at how Hollywood sells its own stories, showing how movie studios and television networks have moved over time from a highly restrictive marketing strategy to one that embraces digital media, fan involvement, and immersive participation. We show how this goes beyond story to involve the construction of “story worlds” that audiences can project themselves into. And we introduce you to the Strategic Storytelling Model™, which provides a pair of simple yet powerful conceptual frameworks that will enable you to easily visualize the complex narrative ecosystem that such an approach requires.
Day 2 breaks down these techniques into a point-by-point methodology, detailing the role of such key ingredients as authenticity, purpose, and voice. We will show how such strategies have been adapted and deployed by organizations in a wide variety of fields, from entertainment to consumer goods to B2B. Guest speakers from the worlds of media and commerce will explain how they have employed these tools and what pitfalls they have encountered, while a series of hands-on workshops will enable you to put what you’ve learned to the test in real-world scenarios.
To learn more, download the sample agenda.
PARTICIPANT PROFILE & TESTIMONIALS
The program is intended for executives and professionals who want to understand the power of immersive storytelling and learn how to leverage its potential in a digital world. The focus is on demystifying digital media and assessing how your project or organization can take advantage of the unique opportunities for narrative engagement it has to offer. This will help those in corporate strategy, media and entertainment, brand marketing, B2B products and services, and non-profits and NGOs alike.
Typical Participant Mix
Years of Management Experience
Hear from Past Participants:
Attorney and Owner, Lauro Law Firm
Attorney and Owner, Lauro Law Firm
"Thanks so much for an outstanding class. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and learned so much. I tell stories to jurors in the context of representing business people accused of serious federal crimes. I cannot begin to say how much you taught was directly applicable to my work environment."
CEO, AUTORIS Institute
CEO, AUTORIS Institute
"I’m extremely grateful for this. Because of the Internet revolution, everything has changed – the rules are totally new. We’re closer to the campfire now than we were during the broadcast years, and we have to understand again why stories are so important for human beings. It’s such an important topic – maybe the most important topic for brands and corporations and people. The academic insights, the questions you raised – I will be able to use this a lot."
Creative Coordinator, Sewell Automotive
Creative Coordinator, Sewell Automotive
"This is so far in advance of what most people in the business world are thinking. This class has really taught me that story matters, that narrative matters, and that being consistent in your brand narrative is incredibly important. The strategies I’m learning here I feel are going to be applicable over the entire brand ecosystem."
Frank Rose, Faculty Director
Senior Fellow, Columbia University School of the Arts
Member, Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab
Author, The Art of Immersion
Frank Rose is a leading authority on the future of media and communications. In his most recent book, The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories, he argues that we are witnessing the emergence of a new form of narrative that is native to the Internet – one that is nonlinear, participatory, and immersive. He has addressed this issue at marketing summits and film festivals in New York, London, Paris, Copenhagen, Sydney, and Hong Kong, in academic symposia at Stanford and the Politecnico di Milano, and at such companies as Google, Hearst, Lucasfilm, Unilever, and the BBC. As a member of Columbia's Digital Storytelling Lab, he recently launched the annual Digital Dozen: Breakthroughs in Storytelling awards to honor the year’s most creative approaches to narrative.
Earlier in his career, as a contributing editor at Wired and a contributing writer at Fortune, he worked as a journalist at the intersection of media and technology, covering such developments as the making of Avatar, Samsung and the rise of the Korean techno-state, the posthumous career of Philip K. Dick in Hollywood, and the future of television in the digital age. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Esquire, strategy+business, and Vanity Fair. Among his earlier books are The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business, about the rise and fall of the oldest and at one time most successful talent agency in Hollywood, and the 1989 best-seller West of Eden: The End of Innocence at Apple Computer, which detailed the ouster of Steve Jobs from Apple and was named one of the year's ten best by BusinessWeek. He currently contributes to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and serves as a correspondent for Wired.
Co-author, Good is the New Cool
Afdhel Aziz is one of the world's leading experts in marketing innovation. He was most recently director of Absolut Labs in the USA, highlighted by Forbes as one of the top three marketing innovation labs to emulate, and is currently founder and chief creative officer of Conspiracy of Love, a think tank and idea incubator that helps Fortune 500 brands use culture and technology as a force for good.
He is well known for his ability to harness popular culture, having worked with such artists as Deadmau5, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Swedish House Mafia and with partners as diverse as TED, Art Basel, the Coachella Festival, London Fashion Week, the US Open tennis championships, and the Andy Warhol Foundation.
A graduate of the London School of Economics, he has spoken at Advertising Week, Cannes Lions, and South by Southwest and has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, Billboard, Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune, and VICE. His new book, Good is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn, is a provocative manifesto for a bold new marketing model that transforms brands into forces for good.
Peter Koechley is Co-Founder and Curator-In-Chief of Upworthy, a mission-driven media company dedicated to bringing mass attention to things that really matter using social media.
Before Upworthy, Peter produced viral media for the advocacy organization MoveOn.org, and was Managing Editor of The Onion, where he co-created its breakout Onion News Network video series. He co-founded Upworthy in 2012 with longtime collaborator Eli Pariser. The pair set out to prove that what’s important can be incredibly popular, even if what’s popular isn’t usually important. To date, the Upworthy community has logged more than 1.5 billion minutes of attention on topics ranging from the criminal justice system to clean energy to advertising’s adverse effects on body image.
Founder and CEO, Austin Advisory Group
Paul Austin is a fragrance expert who has worked with some of the world’s top brands, including Rolls Royce, Estée Lauder, Donna Karan, and the esteemed French fragrance house Robertet.
He was instrumental in resurrecting the legendary fragrance Nuit de Chine, created in 1913 for the Paris fashion designer Paul Poiret but long since lost to time, for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s blockbuster exhibition “China: Through the Looking Glass.” He will talk with us about scent, memory, and the transformative power of authentic origin stories.
*subject to change