I had the great pleasure recently to lead a branding workshop for content creation at The Shard, London. What a wonderful venue for a workshop this was, with a glorious panoramic view of London. This short video put together by Tom Hewitson gives a flavour of the event.
The workshop for Tom’s Content Lab was entitled ‘Bringing Brands and Bots to life’.
Content Lab is a monthly get together for writers, designers, product managers and anyone else interested in making products and problems easier to understand.
Using creative writing techniques to lend character to brands
The workshop I led used creative writing techniques to lend character to brands. The aim was to enable participants to find new ways of creating characters which might then be used to encourage readers and consumers to better identify with brands. I began the content creation workshop using the same creative writing exercises that I’d use with writers of fiction. We studied paintings to inspire us and worked with props and cue cards with suggested sensory details, such as particular smells or locations. We worked using free writing techniques, and those attending were able to enjoy creating in such an open-ended way. Later, we applied these techniques more specifically to characters that related to products, working in teams.
Tom is particularly interested in ‘bots’ – the user-friendly robots such as Apple’s Siri – and how these bots can encourage consumer loyalty. Each of the teams came up with characters that might help a reader/user identify with a brand. For example, one of the teams came up with a ‘Farmer Bot’ with a very particular voice and character to engage potential customers of an organic fruit and veg. delivery service. The participants seemed to really enjoy this exercise. There was a lot of laughter and it was fabulous to witness how quickly they were able to use the techniques to invent really unique characters that helped us to understand the nature of the relevant product.
We had a hugely enjoyable evening and I was delighted at the feedback after the content creation event. Content Strategist Stephen Wilson-Beales, Head of Editorial at Global Radio, London, also wrote a lovely blog post about the event here: Using Creative Writing Techniques to shape Content Design.
A big thank you to Tom Hewitson for hosting the workshop. I definitely aim to lead more workshops of this nature and would welcome enquiries from organisations looking to encourage a different approach to creativity in their teams.
If you are a content creator, I’d love to hear whether you use fiction-related techniques in your work and how you might develop such ideas.