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SME 2018: RYOT Studio's Kathryn Friedrich Talks Storytelling and Brand Engagement
Streaming Media's Tim Siglin interviews RYOT Studio's Kathryn Friedrich at Streaming Media East 2018.

Learn more about brand storytelling at OnlineVideo.net.

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to Streaming Media East 2018. I'm Tim Siglin, contributing editor with Streaming Media Magazine and the Founding Executive Director of the not-for-profit Help Me! Stream. Today I'm here with Kathryn Friedrich, Chief Business Officer at RYOT Studios. You were on a panel here just today for the Video Marketing Power Summit. What was the name of title of the session?

Kathryn Friedrich: It was about pushing the envelope with video and storytelling.

Tim Siglin: What were some of the highlights?

Kathryn Friedrich: I think the biggest takeaway that everyone hopefully should have gotten was that storytelling is alive and well, and it is more important than ever to build emotional connections with their consumers. Brands really have to work harder now to tell their stories and to get their stories heard, in particular, because of the numerous messages that consumers are getting on a day-to-day basis.

Tim Siglin: I understand you all do work in immersive AR and VR and that kind of thing. So how do brands interact in an immersive environment differently than the way that they would act in a linear environment?

Kathryn Friedrich: When you're pushing the envelope, it's a personal envelop. Not everybody's ready for AR/VR, and not every consumer is interested in consuming through AR/VR. So if you're trying to get your message heard, it's really trying to identify what that appropriate vehicle for getting that message heard is.

That was really, I think, one point that was addressed in the Summit. With RYOT, we can do the AR/VR, and we're incredibly talented in that area. But given that consumers still have to be pulled along, there's some good storytelling that can be done using traditional formats through digital. In those cases, sometimes the reach is a little bit bigger, but your storytelling has to get better.

Tim Siglin: Is it possible to leverage for more traditional linear, even non-linear, digital storytelling into the AR and VR, and carry the story along into it?

Kathryn Friedrich: Yes. Experiential is also very important. So it isn't just talking to people. I mean, storytelling is definitely an art, but story-hearing is the science. So if you want your message to be heard, the hearing part with brands is that immersive experience. It could be an AR experience. Could be a VR experience. Could be a GIF experience. Could be a sequential story that you're telling them through a “choose your own adventure” type of story. I think the important part is to really try to inform or entertain or engage the audience, because too much of today's media is being skipped or fast-forwarded through or blocked.

Tim Siglin: And is that because it feels pedantic? Or is that because of the fact that it's just not good storytelling to begin with?

Kathryn Friedrich: I think it's a little bit of both. I think consumers are very smart these days. An audience wants to watch something that they want to watch. They've been given a lot of control over what they see, what they hear, what they want to take in, and their time is limited. So if it's a good story, they'll watch it regardless of whether it's an ad or a feature length film. They'll pay attention.

Tim Siglin: And isn't it fascinating? My girlfriend, on Amazon Prime, she'll watch the first 30 seconds of something. If she doesn't like it, she's abandoning it. But she's not going to go back and take it off her watch list just because she might want to go back and watch it later. But it's like channel flipping through a whole bunch of non-linear.

Kathryn Friedrich: It is.

Tim Siglin: How do we avoid the Second Life problem again? Because, I mean, we had this whole immersive experience 10 years ago with Second Life. It became, essentially, an advertising wasteland. So as we're moving back into immersive, how do we avoid those potential problems?

Kathryn Friedrich: I might be a little old to have really participated in Second Life, so I only know what I've read. The Second Life experience was so digital there was no IRL--there was no in real life.

Tim Siglin: True.

Kathryn Friedrich: And I think what we need to do now is really be a little more in-real-life experiential verus just ...

Tim Siglin: And that's where the AR piece comes in?

Kathryn Friedrich: And that's where the AR piece comes in. I think AR is going to be more popular than VR because of the ability to overlay real life with it. That's where I think Second Life kind of bottomed out. Not everybody is techy enough or willing to sit in front of the screen and play it.

Tim Siglin: And in those models, there was no VR 360 for you to look around. It was you were forced into the window of just the screen like that.

Kathryn Friedrich: Yes.

Tim Siglin: Well, Kathryn, thank you very much for your time.

Kathryn Friedrich: You’re welcome.

Tim Siglin: We'll be right back with the next guest.

 

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