Brand Innovation Research

Case study on innovation in digital storytelling to help a consumer publisher develop a new product.

The Client

A world-leader in consumer publishing.

The Brief

The client wanted to better understanding the future of digital storytelling, to ensure it could continue to build and engage its global audience in a rapidly-changing industry.

It commissioned innovation research to look at trends in the digital storytelling market and to understand opportunities and best practice in this space. The client also wished to investigate consumption habits among its audience, and their expectations for a new storytelling product. Crucially, the client wanted to be able to build new modes of interaction with their audience without cannibalising existing streams.

The Process

Digital Data-Gathering

The process began with the identification of particularly influential, creative, and successful digital storytelling products, covering everything from augmented reality to online text adventures. We then built a number of bespoke tools to mine and process the mass of structured and unstructured data available online about the products identified. These included consumer reviews, app store data, funding history, commercial performance, and the platforms and storytelling techniques used.

From this, the team was able to generate a matrix of products, techniques, and performance, and so to understand the levers that lead to success.

Primary Research

The data collection was supplemented with primary research that gathered information on current storytelling consumption habits, and attitudes towards innovation in this space.

The Results

Mavens provided insight into avenues for innovation in digital storytelling, and how consumers respond to different techniques. For example, we found that digital storytelling can take a number of different forms but that the most exciting innovation, with the greatest potential for the client, was in video games. The core recommendation was for the client to use techniques from video gaming to enhance their digital storytelling.

We also found that although console gaming is a predominantly male pursuit (with 83% of men playing more than once a month, compared to 54% of women), a female gaming audience could be targeted using mobile and tablet platforms: 75% of women reported playing games on mobile. Investigation of revenue models revealed that a freemium model was the most effective way to monetise on these platforms.

Through analysis of digital storytelling techniques, Mavens were also able to offer insight into content design. For example, it was discovered that while users respond well to being given choices in the direction of the story, these choices need to be carefully designed: too much freedom and the narrative direction is lost; too little, and users become frustrated that the choices provided are illusory.

This information directly shaped the development roadmap for the new product, and supported the business case for the client to sell this innovative approach internally.

Mavens’ research played a critical role for our concept development for a very high visibility publishing consumer project. Their ability to pull meaningful and quantifiable data out of the mass of global online content led to numerous unexpected insights for us. Their research added concrete, substantial value to both our project concept and roadmap, and we would absolutely work with them again.

—Innovation Lead and Mobile Developer