With publishing for the real-time web a challenge for even the most deep-pocketed brand (let alone media company), The Economist Group and Murmur have partnered to produce StoryDeck, a native advertising product described as a “mobile-first, fast storytelling publishing platform.”
The first brand publisher testing the product is GE, known for its award-winning investments in original (and innovative) content.
The Economist Group‘s Content Solutions Unit tapped Murmur, a New York-based digital storytelling studio exploring the intersection of story and technology, to develop a “Tinder for content” that would service as a customizable, mobile-first publishing platform.
The result is almost like a StoryMatic or Rory’s Story Cubes for brand publishers, but instead of presenting scenarios to inspire ideas the StoryDeck app asks a series of provocative questions, and captures user responses via intuitive swipes.
It’s billed as “a quick, fun experience and is geared towards rapid consumption on the mobile web” that’s expressly for brands wishing to boost engagement and present their content and thought leadership in a fresh format.
The Economist’s branded content unit invited GE to test the StoryDeck format for a “Tell us what you think” reader survey. The topic (“Will robots help or hinder our lives?”) inspired a visually engaging StoryDeck interactive poll— as part of a global content hub (called GE Look ahead) on GE’s mobile-friendly microsite on The Economist’s website.
The StoryDeck polling launch supports the purpose of the GE Lookahead franchise: creating a program that could be executed across media platforms and across GE’s priority markets in order to distribute and share the “GE Works” thought leadership content and stories.
The StoryDeck product is targeted at mobile users of The Economist around the world to take their pulse on where they stand on issues of the day, such as (in this case) the role of robots in our lives. The interactive StoryDeck Q&A format allows readers, in Tinder-like fashion, swipe right or left to agree or disagree with controversial statements and perspectives.
“Debate in the pursuit of progress is in The Economist’s DNA and this new platform invites readers to participate and weigh in on the issues of the day in a user-friendly environment that grabs attention and encourages engagement,” said Elena Sukacheva, Managing Director, The Economist Group Content Solutions.
“One of the things we’re interested in is creating new narrative experiences specifically for the mobile web,” added Murmur co-founder Mike Knowlton commented,
As part of its growing digital toolkit of marketing solutions, The Economist’s award-winning content studio is now promoting the StoryDeck dynamic format to more brands and advertisers.
The pitch: create engaging digital content hubs or dip their toes into native advertising (and consumers’ love for interacting with polls, as Twitter is testing) on The Economist’s mobile web channels.
Brands want to create stand out and develop relationships with their potential customers in the context of a saturated and fragmented media world,” as Mark Cripps, EVP of brand and digital marketing for The Economist, stated in an interview for the upcoming Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin. “We’ve seen that content-based storytelling when executed sensitively, most definitely does positively foster brand preference.”
“The creation and distribution of content is not cheap,” he added. “Presenting your target audience with a one-off content marketing experience, if not followed up, can be a one-night stand disappointment. My advice is to be strategic with any toe-dip into the content marketing world.”
“The main danger with undertaking content marketing is to treat it as a knee-jerk, ‘let’s do something shiny type, tactical approach'” he cautioned. “When undertaken properly, and strategically – i.e. with a clear articulation of the business problem, with properly thought-through analysis as to how it can solve the problem, and with a set of measurable objectives agreed, then content marketing has a clear and effective place in the marketer’s armory. ”
Now, with StoryDeck for interactive polling, The Economist has one more tool in its armory to offer marketers.