High Fidelity Storytelling: A New Advertising Paradigm
The Evolution of Storytelling
Since the dawn of man we’ve used stories to teach one another, convey our big ideas and cultural values, and to convince people. Stories form our culture. Stories shape our lives. But these stories have primarily been told in ways that offer limited immersion for the listener.
Whether told by word of mouth, printed on paper, or tweeted in a limited amount of characters, these methods fall flat when they’re shared in the maelstrom that is modern content marketing. Unless your imagination is firing on all cylinders, it can be hard for these stories to take you deeper than surface level. And as we love to say at Beaumonde, engagement is really all that matters. If your story doesn’t engage, then your efforts are wasted.
For what it’s worth, stories surround us on all sides as brands vie for our attention. If you feel like you are being followed everywhere by digital billboards and megaphones blaring their message to you, you’re not alone.
This is the world of low-fidelity storytelling, and it’s what happens when advertisers put content before context. Their message is being delivered with blunt force, bludgeoning conversions out of customers with little regard for the actual customer experience.
Pretty much everyone agrees - advertising sucks. It’s broken, annoying, and ineffective. And Beaumonde is working to fix it.
A New Paradigm for Storytellers
Emerging technology & marketing strategy has opened up a new paradigm for storytelling.
At Beaumonde we call it High Fidelity Storytelling, or Hi-Fi Storytelling.
Before the rise of mobile phones, stories were essentially told in flat / two-dimensional mediums like print, TV, on screens/billboards, or with limited sensory mediums such as radio broadcasts / word of mouth stories.
In 2019, our storytelling options expand into the Metaverse thanks to the tech that’s built into our handheld devices and our computers.
What this means is that we’ve entered into a storytelling Renaissance that is fundamentally changing the way we tell stories. Using tools like augmented reality, virtual reality, and interactive media like 3D photos, stories can now be told with increasing levels of depth.
There’s still an essential place for the 2D & flat storytelling options as culturally speaking they inform the essence of how we consume our media.
BUT… there is now an opportunity to take the story deeper in all areas, no matter what the platform or channel is. Whether it’s on a mobile phone, a desktop computer, a VR headset, or some kind of spatial computing experience, we are able to dive into experiences rich in fidelity.
This means as storytellers we have a new responsibility (read: opportunity) to take people deeper than ever before into the experience of a story.
Fidelity: Moving from Low to High
In the same way that audio experienced a revolution with the transition from Lo-fi to Hi-fi sound, visual media is going through a similar increase in fidelity.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary entry for fidelity includes the following definitions:
“accuracy in details; exactness”
“the degree to which an electronic device (such as a record player, radio, or television) accurately reproduces its effect (such as sound or picture)”
So when I refer to Hi-Fi Storytelling, I’m referencing the nature of these storytelling mediums as more accurate in their reproduction of the actual story. Here’s one useful exploration of high vs. low fidelity media from changingminds.org. They say:
“High fidelity media send messages that are complete, requiring little extra interpretation. They are clear and easy to understand.”
“Low fidelity media send messages that are incomplete, requiring the person involved to put noticeable effort into assimilating the message.”
For brands that trade culturally on the idea of their brand experience, Hi-Fi Storytelling is a revelation of paramount importance. The experiential / interactive nature of hi-fi mediums gives us a whole new world of tools to use as we try to accurately convey experiences through digital formats.
Test driving a car is easy. But what about test driving a music festival experience? High fidelity media gives us a way to finally bridge this gap.
When someone is considering whether they want to spend $250 on a festival ticket or $2500 on a VIP experience, what do you think factors into their purchase decision?
High fidelity media lets us represent these experiences in new and more compelling ways. As the event promoter, if no one really knows what they’re spending $2500 on for your event then it’s likely that few people are actually going to get that ticket. Those flat photos of last year’s event are okay, but they do nothing to actually differentiate your experience or provide a better representation of the event itself. However, using a 360° video of last years event to show with full clarity what last year’s event was like could be a much more compelling driver of ticket purchases when executed correctly.
What Hi-Fi Storytelling does is help our customers and fans more easily imagine themselves partaking of an experience. Giving them these tools as they make their decisions means that they have much more valuable context to consider. Instead of having to fully imagine what it would be like to be at an event, they can use these high fidelity elements to more effectively gauge how an experience fits into their life.
And within this same context, Hi-Fi Storytelling helps us build a deeper connection with a brand that is committed to sharing a richer and more authentic story.
As customers demand authenticity and transparency from the brands they support, high fidelity storytelling is something of a silver bullet. It’s an opportunity to build renewed trust with customers by saying “We are committed to telling the full story - not just a curated moment".
When a brand chooses to use Hi-Fi media for their storytelling, they are pulling back a veil that has obscured their messaging for a long time. No one is perfect, and we don’t expect brands to be either. (This is part of the reason why live broadcasting has also become a powerful tool for brands who want to tell more authentic stories.)
High fidelity storytelling shares the whole story with us - or at least more than we’ve ever had before. As this new philosophy permeates across industries, the brands that will win are the brands that adopt this new philosophy with vigor.
Beaumonde is here to be your partner as your brand makes this transition into a new era of storytelling. There are lots of questions that come up when these discussions hit the board room, and we’re ready to help you answer them all. From marketing strategies to content production to new experiential brand partnerships, Beaumonde is building the Hi-Fi Storytelling system that gives brands the tools to build deeper relationships with fans and customers in the 21st century.
I hope you’ll join us!
Shep Bryan, Co-founder & Chief Strategist
I’m a strategist and songwriter in Raleigh, NC. Obsession is probably the right word for my fascination with new media storytelling. I lead the Strategy team at Beaumonde where we are defining how VR, 360, AR and 3D content creates opportunities for storytellers and marketers in culture, music, entertainment, ecommerce, and more.
Want some examples of how brands are leveraging Hi-Fi Storytelling?