Frank Rose is simply the most extraordinary expert in the entertainment and marketing fields and my most favorite thought leader on new forms of narrative.
Rose, a Senior Fellow at Columbia University School of the Arts, a member of the Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab, and faculty co-leader of its executive education seminar on digital storytelling strategy is also a longtime writer for Wired, strategy+business and author of The Art of Immersion.
Rose allows that every new digital medium has disrupted the grammar of narrative.
Frank’s seminal work on immersive storytelling and his new focus on The Science of Story, unlock the future for every brand to deliver today’s business value.
Follow FR if you want to know where your brand narrative should be heading, assuming you are leading your company toward transformational innovation and engaging people in these digitally disruptive times.
MARY OLSON: I often wonder where your appetite for new knowledge has taken you since 2012. What are your thoughts as you look back on the four years since publishing The Art of Immersion? How have your views changed?
FRANK ROSE: Well, obviously many of the TV shows I wrote about—Lost and The Office and Mad Men, among others—are no longer on the air, although their impact is still felt and their place in pop culture is pretty well assured.
Entertainment and marketing are if anything even more game-like and participatory than when I wrote the book.
Social media is more important than ever.
The big change is virtual reality and the incredible excitement it’s generated, even though most people still don’t even know it exists. Newspapers are jumping in— The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today.
Advertisers are jumping in. And it seems to be generating, even more, excitement for its storytelling possibilities than for games.
Obviously, VR is extremely immersive—that’s its appeal. But in other ways, it runs entirely against the grain of digital media as we’ve known it to date.
Yes, you can tweet about it, but there’s nothing inherently social about having your head encased in goggles. And unlike conventional video, it breaks completely with the grammar of cinema that was developed at the dawn of the motion picture industry. Cuts, pans, fades—none of these work in 360 videos.
There are some great pioneers at work—people like Eugene Chung at Penrose and Edward Saatchi at Oculus. I suspect it’ll be awhile—and to the extent that it’s adopted, will take us in a direction most people haven’t thought about.
MO: Your chapter, How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart includes philosophical and Zen-like views. Social culture and media narratives seem more and more delusional these days. How do you feel about the way the world is emerging?
FR: When I wrote that, I imagined the world of Disney and the world of Philip K. Dick [the American science fiction writer whose novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was the basis for Blade Runner] as opposites, in style if not necessarily in substance.
But the Walt Disney Company has evolved far beyond Walt himself, and the world is growing closer and closer to the highly disconcerting visions of PKD. A crypto-fascist reality TV star for president.
I suspect the purchase of Lucasfilm and the revival of the Star Wars franchise are going to bring these two closer together than ever. The differences in style will be minimized. And digital technology and the thirst for immersive experiences are only going to accelerate the process.
As I wrote in the book, digital technology blurs dividing lines that were considered sacrosanct in the industrial era—between author and audience, story and game, content and advertising, fiction and reality.
Who can tell the difference any more? That’s why we hunger for authenticity.
MO: The way businesses need to communicate is changing. Where is your journey taking you next?
There’s also my blog, Deep Media, which chronicles new developments in storytelling, including some of my projects. Next up will be the DSS seminar focusing on “The Science of Story”. The first segment is titled, “Why Stories? Why Now?” and explains how stories are changing in response to digital technology and how immersion is more sought-after than ever.
“The Science of Story” follows up with an account of recent neuroscience and cognitive psychology research that demonstrates how compelling stories are at changing people’s beliefs and explains why that might be.
MO: Thank you, Frank. Your insights inform not only corporate strategists but watchful adopters, too. We all benefit from your futurist insights about how authentic stories transform people’s behaviors and inform digital marketing and transformative business models.
My interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015 includes experts in technology, the arts, marketing, and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.
I recently had a chance to speak with Liz Nightingale, the ultimate expert in relationship marketing.
You can trace Liz’s marketing mindset to every touch-point of a brand experience. I mean, personally and emotionally direct to people.
It doesn’t matter if the market segment is B2C or trade. In the end, it’s people who respond to her remarkable marketing touch. A quick look into her magical toolkit reveals strategic planning, PR, advertising, brand marketing, emotional branding and brand experience.
Philosophies, processes and creativity are the driving elements of Liz Nightingale’s world of marketing. Although she has been the ultimate leader in luxury marketing from legendary brands to global influences, everything is about building and valuing relationships.
I asked Liz recently, “You are at the top of your game. Every brand you touch increases by double digits. What’s next?” She replied, “I envision opportunities to collaborate at the C-suite level with business visionaries who understand the value of relationships. Marketing has never been as competitive as it is today. But it is not just about appreciating how to simplify complexity or creating and managing data, but about understanding and creating a relationship with your market on a personal basis.”
Liz is the ultimate example of a professional who integrates a love of relationships with digital technologies.
A deep look into Nightingale’s world and you find a master strategist who loves creating world-class brands and building lasting relationships with customers—With digital data.
I mentioned the widely held belief in the marketing world that what you knew two years ago is no longer true today. Nightingale dispelled that notion with a twist when I asked, “What do you think about the impact of technology on C-suite marketing careerists?”
She said, “It is likely that the CMO role shortly will transition to the Chief Marketing Technologist. But, remember, CMT’s need interpersonal skills and a deep and authentic respect for people. Process-wise, relating to people won’t change.”
I have spent several decades of my life engaged in the fine arts. ISIS’s systematic looting of antiquities and destruction of ancient cultures has hit a nerve.
Islamic State militants have been destroying cultural heritage sites for over a year. The famed ancient Assyrian capital of Khorsabad, which had survived for 2,700 years, was reportedly ransacked and razed this month. This March, IS reportedly bulldozed the ancient city of Nimrud and leveled the 2000-year-old town of Hatra. They smashed artifacts in the Mosul Museum and the list of destroyed or looted treasures grow.
IS believes religious shrines heretical and consider their destruction its duty.
There is abundance evidence that monuments and artifacts are being looted on an unprecedented scale. Some believe these looted antiquities are part of a multi-million dollar smuggling industry that funds Islamic State extremists.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art expressed outrage and condemnation through various media outlets.
Gil Stein, the director of The Oriental Institute of Chicago said, “The damage is irreversible; the historical information destroyed by looting is gone forever. “Cultural heritage is a non-renewable resource.”
It seems to me that, in addition to formal condemnations, it is critical to embark on an effective social media plan of action. Many of us professionally engage in digital, web, social, mobile, video, apps, data, and geo-location. Our considerable skills could be galvanized to counter ISIS’s destructive aggressions and curtailing its outsized social media influence.
Why not create a focused communications strategy for those already engaged in the arts and culture, religion, foreign policy, counter-terrorism, NGO’s, social media companies, and the broader public?
Surely, together, we can find answers for the intractable problems facing those of us who care about culture. Let us make a commitment to affect the social, political and economic dynamics in Muslim countries, promote human understanding, and stem the Islamic State’s actions.
My new series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, luxury brands, well-being and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Individually, they are creating important new models or trends; are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; or are writing and publishing hard-fought insights.
It is difficult to name anybody in the luxury goods industry more respected or revered than Thierry Chaunu.
It is pleasure to explore Thierry’s experience and learn his views about how the world is emerging.
Profile: Thierry Chaunu is a luxury goods industry leader with vast management experience of iconic brands such as Cartier, Christofle, Chopard, Leviev Diamonds, Marina B, Damiani, and lately Mauboussin Jewelers.
Thierry started as a product manager at the Cartier headquarters in Paris and was promoted to vice president marketing at Cartier North America. He evolved as a world class C suite executive as president of Christofle, president of Chopard and president & COO of Leviev diamonds. Thierry oversaw domestic and global expansion; opened stores and wholesale distribution. He inspired new sources of revenues and produced engaging customer experience that is emulated throughout the industry. He is passionate about technology, entrepreneurial growth and fresh ideas.
Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your past?
Thierry Chaunu: The luxury industry has matured significantly since the early eighties. When I started my career at Cartier headquarters in Paris, we were elaborating all the codes and recipes (such as selective distribution, marketing methodology, etc…), at a time when other luxury brands were still very much family-owned and parochial. Others quickly followed suit in the nineties. They emulated our practices, adopted our strategies and set codes. Then they became what they are today — usually parts of big conglomerates.
Cartier was a pioneering firm and I am proud and grateful to have been associated to the incredibly exciting years of world expansion.
Mary Olson: How do you see the way the world is emerging?
Theirry Chaunu: The world is now linked electronically with the Internet and social media networks. New dynamics are constantly coming to play. Cultural boundaries are merging and creating new level-playing fields. Even small companies, if they have creativity and talent, can accomplish, in a short few months, what took years to achieve. Today, luxury entrepreneurs can create their own dynasty.
Mary Olson: What do you think about as you look forward?
Thierry Chaunu: The world has opposed experience in favor of youth. At this stage in my professional career, I think more entrepreneurial than ever. Experience IS youth. Human values and ethics are more important than material assets.
If you are like me, you need effective tools for measuring your clients’ creative marketing campaigns and reporting ROI. Have you ever been introduced to a toolset that also measures your online influence?
KLOUT is on my list of BRANDS TO WATCH in 2014 because it is the premiere driver of brand influence today.
Active web users create 500 billion influence impressions every year about products, brands and services. KLOUT’S business tools empower marketers to identify and engage with millions of top influencers increasing earned media and improving brand lift.
The world’s best brands already use KLOUT FOR BUSINESS to target and engage top influencers, amplify messages and increase marketing ROI. Impressive success stories are available on KLOUT.COM including brands like Motorola, American Airlines, Doritos, SYFY, Olympus Has Fallen, GILT, Red Bull, CAA, SONY, and more.
Co-founders Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran are Web experienced serial entrepreneurs who have built a great brand; a highly resourceful team and thrive on big, complex challenges.
KLOUT’s first seed amount was $1.5M in 2009 and funding moved forward to Series A, $1.5M in 2010; Series B, $8.5M in 2011; and series C, $30M in 2012 for a total of $40M.
Microsoft engaged in a venture round in 2012 bringing the BING search opportunity to the toolset. More equally savvy relationships are in the mix.
TechCrunch writes that KLOUT hasn’t just defied influential tech pundits, its social reputation has won them over. 2014 is sure to produce even greater recognition and increased growth from individuals and businesses. KLOUT is an exceptional brand that defines influence and is well-executed and brilliantly managed.