As today's humans become over-targeted and saturated with messages and research studies, people put on their masks.
How then do we reach the person behind a mask?
Instead of trying to go behind the mask, we start by looking at the mask itself. What type of mask are they wearing? What can we see? What can we hear? What can we not hear or see? Masks, like other artifacts that prop our narratives, are part of our stories. Don't discard them.
As a social designer with two decades of brand experience work across industries and institutions, I believe stories are the new data. From being a Literature student in college to having a Masters degree in Human-Centered Design from America's top design college, I work with stories. Human stories. Good stories. Bad stories. As a copywriter and a brand marketing strategist with such renown ad agencies like McCann, Bates, FCB Draft, and Y&R, I have seen how storytelling can elevate brands such as Coca Cola, Peugeot, and Nescafe. I have also witnessed how stories can provide unrivaled insights into human behavior when developing campaigns for institutions like UNICEF, WHO and most recently the CDC.
In human-centered design, stories provide us the fodder for grounded qualitative data. They open windows of empathy and action.
However, there's a process to the kind of storytelling that makes things happen. That's my career's superpower! Not just in practice, I have also taught this process in schools and conferences across the globe. That's why at Orange Academy, the first brand school in West Africa, an institution I co-founded, storytelling is the fulcrum of its curriculum.
How might we use storytelling for good today?
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