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Digital Storytelling in 2022: A retrospective

Fig. — 
January 10, 2022
A new year is always an opportunity to look back on the challenges and successes of the past year, as well as looking ahead to the future.

Let’s face it, 2021 was no ‘walk in the park’ for most businesses, and we’ve all had to continue adapting to new situations and ways of working. As a result, many of us have emerged as stronger enterprises; leaner, meaner, and more resilient in an uncertain world. When we look at the big trends in business for 2022, it’s clear that the world has changed, and some of these changes are here for good.

Our new reality: working has changed

The COVID pandemic tipped the balance and precipitated massive changes in life and working methods. As international travel became impossible, it made many people realize that it was never necessary in the first place. Huge costs are saved: air-fare, gasoline, time lost to travelling, and of course the immeasurable cost to our environment.

This shift also changed the way we saw the office and its purpose. The role of real-estate in the business model became redefined overnight. Today, we focus instead on how to extract the most business value from time spent in the office, instead of maximizing the time spent in the office.

Continuing trends: What can we expect from 2022?

Some of the trends that emerged in 2021 will fade, while others are here to stay. Many of these persistent trends were already needed, but were held back by fear. Now, the genie is out of the bottle and the lasting value of these changes has been demonstrated.

  1. The ‘Back to the Office’ trend will continue - but it’ll be different.

In 2022, the ‘back to the office’ trend will continue in full force, but it will be different to what it was before. Hybrid and remote working will become the norm, and this will fundamentally change how office space is used. 

Many companies are now starting to explore how they can use real-estate as a strategic asset by building the ‘brand experience’ into the office design. As more companies embrace hybrid working and remote working, the role of the office will also be redefined for workers.

For each company there will be distinct pressures and requirements that dictate how office spaces need to be used for core business activities, but there is a universal shift towards using the office as a strategic asset for brand experiences using immersive and interactive storytelling experiences.

In practice:
Immersive rooms can create multi-purpose spaces for collaboration, and brand experiences. These multifunctional (and multi-value) spaces can present many versatile solutions for the unknown challenges of adapting to new ways of using ‘office space’.

  1. Online and Hybrid Events will grow in importance

Companies that have mastered the online event, have discovered how these can generate incredible business value and truly engage their audience. We believe that powerful storytelling technologies should be accessible for business, to extract the most value without obstruction. Purple’s Virtual Studio concept takes the captivating power of a virtual digital studio, and makes it possible for just one or two people to operate without costing the earth.

In practice:
Corporate online events can create more impact and keep participants engaged by using Stream IX, Virtual Studio or even a large screen, powered by the Hyro platform. This is nimble enough to handle the complexity of hybrid events, and any media types needed.

Start looking today at the possibilities of adding a Virtual Digital Studio to your office space, and start calculating the potential business value so you can allocate the appropriate budget.

  1. Digital showrooms use digital experiences to connect their products with the customer

By using a digital showroom, it’s possible to demonstrate the complex values and relationships between the products and the situations that trigger a purchase. No physical showroom is needed, and switching between clients doesn’t require any physical stock movement.

In practice:
Digital showrooms can use any immersive setup, not just a fully-immersive experience room. Large screens, tunnels and other arrangements are just as effective if they are used the right way. Interaction is a key to the success of Digital Showrooms, and Purple can advise on making these as effective as possible.

  1. Using immersive storytelling technologies to win the ‘War for Talent’ 

When a company uses an immersive experience and digital storytelling for recruitment, they send a clear message. It’s a demonstration of their commitment to innovation, and investment in their talented workforce.

In addition, these strategic assets are being used to successfully conduct onboarding and complex training programs in less time - and with better results. The value of these strategic tools is multifunctional; as well as onboarding and training, companies can also use the same setup for collaborations, brand experiences, VIP
presentations and customer visits. 
In practice:Start looking at skill-gaps and areas within your staff training that might benefit from being accelerated (or retained for longer periods). Think about how these could be incorporated into a digital story-based training program.

  1. Businesses are staking a claim in the Metaverse

There has been growing interest in the Metaverse for many years, and now the technology is mature enough to make it a reality. This can be compared to the growth of the internet during the 1990s; many companies shied away from ‘going online’ and were quickly outpaced by their bolder competitors.

Today, being online is indispensable; so we can easily imagine that the same will be true of the metaverse in just a few short years. It’s a modern-era land rush that has incredible potential. As the creators of your own virtual space, it can become whatever your brand needs, and it can offer entirely new ways of interacting with the customer.  

In practice:
The essence of the metaverse is a 3D, interactive virtual experience in a world where you set the rules. Companies that already use immersive storytelling technology may already be using the potential for interacting with 3D virtual worlds, and they will certainly have a head start here. 

It’s important to understand the potential value for your company - how does the metaverse give new opportunities for interacting with your products or services? How can you let your customers get closer to your offering with a virtual experience or shopfront? Starting with a clear strategy will help you use this opportunity for the maximum benefit, and ensure your company stays focused on creating the right kinds of 3D content, while investing in technologies that deliver the most strategic value.

Purple’s plans for 2022 and beyond

Our big news for 2022 is our further expansion into the North American market, by setting-up a permanent office in the USA. 

As a world leader in digital storytelling, we recognize that we can serve our global customers better by having a physical presence closer to the customer. For this reason, we’ll be opening up our first US office in 2022.

The location is yet to be announced, but this new office will open this coming year with a core team of experts, which will quickly scale-up to be a ‘carbon copy’ of our European operations. By being closer to the customer, we can more easily co-innovate with them and help deliver our strategically important immersive experiences and storytelling concepts.

It’s a huge step in building stronger relationships with our partners in the US, providing a better level of service to our American customers, and reducing the cost and environmental impact of travel.

Every new day is a new opportunity

While it has been difficult for many of us, the challenges of the last few years have ultimately made us stronger and more adaptable. 

The previous year was a clear demonstration of Purple’s ability to innovate and thrive. Our customers have experienced proof that we’re a dependable strategic partner in creating captivating experiences, while being agile enough to deliver no matter what the world throws at us.

Digital Storytelling FAQs

What is sensor-driven digital signage?

Digital signage is a way of displaying information on a screen in a way that gives the most value to the user. Using sensors that detect user behavior, the digital signage can become interactive. This is sensor-driven digital signage. By interacting with the signage, the user or viewer is able to get a customized experience, which is more valuable.

How does digital storytelling deliver value for business?

Digital Storytelling enables audiences to experience complex messages that are embedded in a story. Because the brain is naturally adept at decoding ‘stories’ a digital storytelling experience can connect with the audience on an emotional level, and become customizable.

What makes digital storytelling so engaging?

Digital storytelling can be engaging for audiences, by framing storylines in contexts that are relatable to the audience. This triggers emotional responses, which in turn causes multiple areas of the brain to latch onto the experience. There are several neurotransmitters and hormones that are involved, but what drives engagement is the release of cortisol, which signals to the brain that it needs to pay attention.

How can businesses use immersive storytelling?

Businesses are able to deploy immersive digital storytelling in a multitude of ways, including training for employees, unforgettable presentations, and interactive collaborations. Because the immersive experience puts the audience at the center of the action, they are fully focused in the moment – for this reason many businesses use immersive experiences for creative sessions.

What are hybrid events?

Hybrid events are a carefully managed combination of an in-person event, and an online event. Each audience has a different experience that is tailored to them, but both audiences also share common experiential elements or media, and are often able to interact with each other as well. The benefit of the hybrid event is that the physical audiences are smaller, leading to greater interaction and a more energetic experience overall which helps the online audience to stay engaged.

Written by:

Gerben Mak

Managing Director
All Blog Posts

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