Augmented Reality: What's Your Story?

By:Tracy Pell on:July 29, 2014
ABCO: What Is Your Story?

In the first post in our series  about augmented reality  I talked to you about where to begin when using augmented reality for your business. If you have not had a chance to read it, check it out! Augmented Reality: Who is Your Hero?  Your next step is to figure out exactly what you need from your hero and move him to action. Augmented reality is ideally suited to storytelling. You have all manner of technical toys you can use to make your story really sing! This post will give you all the steps needed to outline your message. Once you do that, you and your development team will be brimming with ideas about how to bring your story to life in your augmented reality experience.


What is story? 

The dirty little secret that most writers don’t share with us readers is that every story you have ever been told is exactly the same. Jennifer Aaker defines a story this way:

A connected  series of events with a beginning, middle and end…

Sounds simple enough right? With this definition, pretty much anyone should be able to tell a story! Wait? You think its more complicated than that? You are totally right. Ms. Aaker goes on to define story as follows:

And it is a journey that moves the listener. And when the listener goes on that journey they feel the difference and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.”

Ah, well. If the story has to make them feel something and pursuade them to action, suddenly, things have gotten much more complex. Fortunately humans have been telling stories pretty much forever. We got this!

How do you find your story? 

So let’s break this down by starting at the end of that definition.

  • ACTION: What action do you need your audience to take? Really dig into this. Define with complete clarity how you would define success. Do you need them to buy your product? Do you need them to follow a new process? Do you need them to learn a new skill? None of the rest of what you are doing will work if your objectives are muddy or contradictory.
  • PURSUADE: Here is where your work figuring out who your audience is really pays off. Remember, they are the hero of your story. What matters to them? If you want to persuade them you need to earn their respect. Which means you need to know how they think and what matters to them. What’s your case? What facts, evidence, and information can you share with them that support your story. What will persuade them to consider the action you want?
  • FEEL: In business communication it can be super easy to dismiss this as irrelevant. Which leads us down a dangerous path of ignoring how people feel. We all know, unhappy people = nothing gets done. Whether you are in a sales meeting, interacting on social media or trying to teach something… how your audience feels will pretty much determine how successful you will be.  If you make people care… then you have a chance of succeeding in your ultimate objective, which is to move your audience to action!

Now that you know the three key elements throw everything at building your story. No thought is too dumb or silly to be noted. Be messy and undiscriminating. NOTE everything: facts, anecdotes, personal stories, presentations, books, videos, infographics, jokes, cartoons… anything and EVERYTHING. There are several ways you can collect these. Post it notes, notebook, voice memos, if you are digitally inclined apps like Evernote  or Pinterest  can be helpful… whatever works for you. The critical thing is that you give yourself and your team the freedom and space to explore even the weirdest ideas.

How do you organize your story? 

Once you feel like you have accumulated everything possible. Take all your notes and start to sort them.  Nancy Duarte, in her book Resonate, calls this “Transforming ideas into meaning”. We are back to fundamental story structure here. You recognize this from every story you were ever told. What is your beginning, middle and end? Take all your notes, facts and ideas and bounce them against each of the structure points below. What fits? Of the ones that fit, which are the most interesting and surprising? Remember you need to make them feel something. Sadness, outrage, joy, laughter, determination… all these reactions will keep them engaged in your story so keep your eyes peeled for those nuggets.


  • SOMETIME:  “Once Upon a Time” “A Long, Long Time ago in a Galaxy Far far away”… set the context. Where are you, when are you?
  • SOMETHING HAPPENED:  What is the current situation? Is the company losing money? Are processes inefficient? Is there chaos and disorder? Are things stagnant and boring?
  • TO SOMEONE:  who is the focus of the story (remember your hero!)
  • SOMEWHERE:  At work? At home? In China? In Texas? On the internet? Where is this happening?


  • CONTEXT: What else is happening? What is influencing what we outlined above? Is the economy bad? Are the kids are in the terrible twos’?
  • CONFLICT: “this is unbearable” “the company could go out of business” “Our competition is kicking our …ahem”.
  • ATTEMPTED RESOLUTION: "We tried solution A."
  • COMPLICATIONS: What are the risks? Is it scary or exciting? What is getting in the way of the ending?


  • ACTUAL RESOLUTION:  In the end this happened.
  • MAKE YOUR POINT:  What is the core message? We used to call this the morale in business we call this the key takeway. No matter what you call it, it is basically the point of your whole story.

Hang everything you gathered on to this frame and then start to ruthlessly edit.  I am serious here. How you feel about a story or fact has no place in the editing process. Absolutely everything you put in here should get your hero to the end and move them to action. Anything that distracts from this needs. to. go. Be an editing machine. Be the complete opposite of what you where when you were collecting information. If it does not work.. get rid of it. Just remember you need to win them over and the only way to do that is to earn their respect and make them care!

In researching this post for you I found some amazing content from folks who tell stories for a living. They inspired me. I hope they will inspire you too!

Nancy Duarte: Resonate 

Andrew Stanton:  The Clues to a Great Story

Julian Friedman: The Mystery of Storytelling 

Jennifer Aaker: Harnassing the Power of Stories 




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