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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 “story 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, story 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 Digital Marketing Strategy
Preferred pricing is available for executives who enroll in the Strategic Storytelling and Digital Marketing Strategy programs. The two programs feature complementary learnings and run back to back during the same week at Columbia Business School.
Please Contact Us
Please contact our Learning Solutions Specialists at +1 212-854-3395 for a personal conversation to learn more.
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 gatherings at Stanford and the Politecnico di Milano, and at such companies as Google, Lucasfilm, Unilever, and the BBC. Hailed as "an essential overview" by the International Journal of Advertising and “a new media bible” by the Italian daily La Repubblica, the book is required reading for business, film, and game development courses at Columbia, Cambridge, NYU, USC, and other schools.
Previously, as a contributing editor at Wired and a contributing writer at Fortune, Frank 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, and the posthumous career of Philip K. Dick in Hollywood. Among his earlier books are The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business, about the rise and and eventual unraveling 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. Having gotten his start chronicling the punk scene at CBGB for The Village Voice, he currently contributes to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other publications.
Member, Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab
As a member of the Digital Storytelling Lab at Columbia University School of the Arts, Rachel Ginsberg helps design frameworks that are used to address pressing global challenges. She also helps provide strategic direction for the Lab’s digital adaptations and prototypes, including Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things, Frankenstein AI and the Empathy Lab, a collaboration with Refinery29.
As a multidisciplinary strategist, she works for clients like Microsoft, Nike, L’Oréal, Target, and Yale Medicine to develop initiatives that will bridge the space between brand and experience. She studied literature at UC Santa Cruz and received a Masters in Management of Fashion, Experience, and Design from Milan’s prestigious SDA Bocconi School of Management in 2009.
Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson
Author, Silicon States: The Power and Politics of Big Tech and What It Means for Our Future
Lucie Greene is J. Walter Thompson’s chief futurist. As head of the venerable advertising agency’s in-house futures think tank and consultancy, she leads ongoing research into global consumer behaviors and cultural changes and produces regular deep-dive studies and daily insights. She also works on future strategy directly with the agency’s clients — a group that includes such companies as Kimberly-Clark, Johnson & Johnson, HSBC, Nestlé, Rolex, and Unilever.
Lucie is the author of the forthcoming book Silicon States: The Power and Politics of Big Tech and What It Means for Our Future, an exploration of the growing power and influence wielded by Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and a handful of other major tech firms. Building on research from the Innovation Group, she explores how this small group of companies has seized a civic leadership position despite being unanswerable to the electorate. Currently in development for film and television with The Front Media, an award-winning multimedia production company, Silicon States examines the future these companies envision for us. Lucie also writes for the Financial Times and Campaign and has spoken on future trends at such gatherings as South by Southwest, the Consumer Electronics Show, the WWD Summit, and Advertising Week.
Co-founder and Partner, ReD Associates
Christian Madsbjerg is a leading corporate consultant whose focus is on the study of humans — our culture, rituals and everyday behaviors. Using anthropology and ethnography — the in-depth study of human societies — as a means of data collection, he and his associates work with companies like Coca-Cola, Lego, and Adidas to discover the hidden reasons for business success or failure.
A native of Denmark, Christian studied philosophy and political science in Copenhagen and London. He co-founded ReD Associates in Copenhagen and now heads its New York office. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, Der Spiegel, Bloomberg Businessweek and numerous other publications. In his first book, The Moment of Clarity, he and his business partner Mikkel Rasmussen examine the business world’s assumptions about human behavior and show how these assumptions can lead companies off track. In his 2017 book Sensemaking, he argues that the humanities are not a luxury in the digital age but a competitive advantage.
Mike Monello is one of the world’s leading practitioners of participatory storytelling. At Campfire, he leads the development of groundbreaking experiences for companies ranging from HBO, Amazon, and Netflix to Harley-Davidson and Infiniti. Campfire won an Ad Age Small Agency Campaign of the Year award in 2013 and in 2017 was nominated for an Emmy for creating Resistance Radio, a “pirate radio broadcast” for Amazon’s series The Man in the High Castle that became an online sensation. For HBO, Campfire created a live experience of the hit show Westworld at the 2017 Comic Con that included your choice of weapons as well as a personality assessment to determine if you should be given a white hat or a black hat. Entertainment Weekly called it “a delight — and almost too real.”
Monello is one of the entertainment world’s pioneers in immersive storytelling and innovative marketing. In the late 1990s, he and his partners at Haxan Films created The Blair Witch Project, a story told across the burgeoning internet. A Sci-Fi Channel pseudo-documentary accompanied by books, comics, games and a feature film, it became a pop-culture touchstone and inspired legions of “found-footage” movies in its wake. The Blair Witch Project forever changed how fans engage with story and how marketers approach the internet. Inspired by the possibilities for engaging connected fan cultures and communities online, Monello co-founded Campfire in 2006. In the years since, the agency has won top honors at the Cannes Lions, the Clios and the One Show.
Author, Design Is Storytelling
Curator, Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Ellen Lupton has been cited as one of America’s “design legends” by AIGA, the professional association for design. A writer and designer herself, she is curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York and director of the MFA program in graphic design at Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art, where she also heads the Center for Design Thinking.
She has spoken at TED and lectured at numerous schools and universities, including Princeton, Yale, Cranbrook, the University of Michigan and the MIT Media Lab. Among her books are the 2004 classic Thinking with Type and the recently published Design Is Storytelling, a “playbook for creative thinking” devoted to showing designers how to use storytelling techniques to make their work more satisfying.
*subject to change