Interactivity and the “Human Connection”

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Design Trends & Issues

Currently, the school of thought for successful communication by marketers and advertisers is to “engage” the target audience by making an online “human connection.” On the plus side, almost any individuals or organizations can use blogs, podcasts, games and other interactive mechanisms to attract and engage specific target audiences – all with the ultimate intent to maintaining their loyalty.

On the flip side, the Internet has become a vast space for messages to get lost over cyberspace and time. Messages are competing for attention on computers and mobile devices and can easily lose their intended audience with one mouse click or fingertip on a touch screen.

The following article discusses using storytelling with interactivity to engage an audience. Author, Ted Mininni, says that this engagement will be successful because everyone loves a good story, which helps them relate or connect more easily to others. Although stating facts and figures are necessary, he says the story is the magnet since it begins with setting the stage (or expectations) for the viewer/listener, engaging them, presenting the information within a context or framework of a great story, and ending with a real conclusion.

Do you believe that using storytelling and interactivity is the key to making a human connection with a target audience? Why or why not? Does this theory apply to both ends of the spectrum –  both commercial (i.e., self promotion, advertising, etc.) and non-commercial sites (i.e., non-profits, advocates for social or health causes, etc.).

Please read the following article and comment. We will take the poll during class.

Let Us Entertain You

  1. David Castro says:

    I think it all depends on the product and the traget audience weather or not interactivity will work. Story telling is key for everything so using it in marketing is no different. Using interactivity is cool even though it can be annoying, it’s a way to keep up with times

    • genesamarie says:

      I believe that story telling does influence human interactivity and is great for advertising. Many companies create blogs, for example, cosmetics have blogs where you can talk about products and give advice on which to use. Also they have interactive sites to talk to the make-up artisits. With this interactivity it gives the business insight from the consumers whether it’s positive or negative, and they can use the information to better their products.

  2. jeimers says:

    I used to frequent Lifesaver’s as a kid. I loved it. I really didn’t connect the interactivity of the site to the actual product at the time, but I got the message eventually. Whenever I saw Lifesavers I connected it to my experiences on the Candystand site. This marketing tactic is extreeeeeeeemely effective in a younger audience and demographic. Kids are easy to target, especially with their widespread access to information in today’s technologically stimulated society. Even now, at the ripe old age of 20, I find myself “Clicking to see how fast I can race” to win a Hershey’s chocolate bar, or “Slapping the monkey” for a new car. Advergames are clever, for anyone and for any product.

  3. mollydahl says:

    I agree with David. I think the using storytelling and interactivity really depends on the product that is being advertised and who the target audience is. However, if a person has a positive experience online through interactivity, than they are more likely to take action. The article makes a good suggestion of inviting the consumer to play a brand-interacted game, because we all love to be entertained. It is important to get the message across about your brand in the most effective way.

  4. meghanwernimont says:

    I believe that as far as interactivity and storytelling, it depends with the product you are advertising and who your target audience is. For each product and target audience comes a different way you are trying to resonate to them. I agree with the end of the article that it is important to engage and get on a personal level with the audience to grab their attention.

  5. andrewmikolaichik says:

    I think that using storytelling and interactivity is a good way to make a connection to your audience but I don’t believe that it is the key. It is very possible to connect with your audience in the traditional mannor. I think both ends of the spectrum could use it in different ways.

  6. lcuscani says:

    I think that using storytelling and interactivity is one of the keys to making a human connection with a target audience, especially interactivity. I feel our society is increasing demanding for more interactivity in everything. From apps on an iPhone to highly interactive webpages, I feel that people want to find out more information about things in as many ways as they can and as conveniently as possible. I think it applies to both ends of the spectrum because whether it is self promotion or non-profit organization, people are seeking information. If marketers can make this information more available through interactivity the message may be understood far more than a static message.

  7. darceysweeney says:

    I believe interactivity works well for certain advertisements and products. It helps to further client/product company relationship. It gives a more of a personalized feedback or comments that can be used for improve the product, distribution, or marketing.

  8. Using interactivity is necessary for some advertisers, but the constant motion and changing screens can also be a turn off for some as it adds to the even faster daily routines. Having the abilitly to use a story to get your message across brings the advertising industry back from trying to be entertainers and back to trying to get their product and their name out there. Having interactive ads can be fun and humerous, but is it really getting the message of the product across and making a human connection with the product or the entertainment.

  9. kevinlewis28 says:

    Story telling and interactivity can very well be neccessary to make a connection, but it is impossible with today’s attention span. Unless there are fights or explosions coming right out of the gate of a story, people won’t be attached; however that may be subjected to one specific target audience. Overall, yes, as long as it relates to the user, interactivity is a possible means to luring in an audience.

  10. drewfacompre says:

    this growing trend i feel can work. thats not to say that it is a guarantee. Most everyone is online now following something or someone on Twitter and Facebook so having another way to connect with your target audience seems like a given. Howeverm it is not enough to just have your brand out there. to build a strong community there needs to be a solid connection and effort coming from the company.

  11. seanaserrian says:

    I think the interactivity is an effective way to communicate and keep up with the times. Technology keeps changing which means our ways of communication need to change as well.

  12. Jeff Katra says:

    Story telling and interactivity are great ways to catch peoples instant attention and keep their attention. Our minds like things that are catchy and interesting, but if they aren’t interactive our attention span easily strays away. I think interactivity, more than story telling, can build strong means of communicating the message to a target audience. Ex. if a website is fun and interactive yet doesn’t stray away from the message it resonates quite well.