Overview: Working the Methodology

Here is a brief explanation and some sketches of the model I put together in class to help frame the workflow around the methodologies we use in our projects on the programme.

So far, we’ve opened up 3 methodologies and all of them are workflows: SOSTAC is a marketing tool, DPDDD is a project process and Storyscaping is about building experience spaces.

All 3 perform many of the same functions: they generate insights to inform decision-making. They are proven pathways to professional practice, good templates for our research and essential check-lists in our project management.

1. SOSTAC http://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/sostac-model/ developed by PR Smith, examines:

Situation Analysis…/…Objectives…/…Strategy…/…Tactics…/…Actions…/…Control

2. DPDDD http://blogs.bcu.ac.uk/futuremedia/2013/06/05/future-media-the-new-rules-of-digital-communication/ attributed to McCann Digital, looks at:


3. Storyscaping http://www.storyscaping.com/educators/ created by SapientNitro’s Gaston Legorburu and Darren McColl, integrates:

Brand values and customer experiences in shared story systems.

We often “pick ‘n mix” from all 3 methodologies to help us frame our projects, describe what we are doing and structure our workflows, reports and presentations.

The illustrations here flow in a linear fashion: from research… to insights… to decisions… to measurement… because good ideas have to be rooted in relevance and guarantee returns:

1. I’ve located the brand at the beginning of the whole issue because this is often the ‘hero’ to be championed in our business and marketing objectives. We usually want to build or extend brand value to customers and so increase the premium. The plan is to deliver a good user experience, this will help build positive perceptions, loyalty and ultimately the bottom line… (See de Chernatony et al Creating Powerful Brands 2013 for lots more on this).


2. The brand is a shared collection of values and experiences between its products/services and their users. It’s in this shared intersection that the brand community is established as a “we” located between “us” and “them”; some online examples include https://www.pottermore.comhttp://www.redbull.tvhttps://members.hog.comhttps://discussions.apple.com/welcome


3. Brands need to constantly monitor and audit that relationship amongst their users… and amongst their competitors in the sector. How are “we” performing? Are “we” competitive? Are “we” value for money? How can “we” improve? What insights can “we” get from industry? What insight can “we” get from our customers?


4. All this data and information comes from real people through primary market research  and industry or academic/published sources as secondary market research. It is a measure of the shared experience between the brand and its users. This data is valuable insight that helps us to build representative ‘personas’ from our demographic samples. These personas and their lifestyles are the brand’s targets.


5. The personas help us to ‘position’ the brand in its competitive sector and map users’ ‘perception’ of the brand. Is this where “we” thought the brand was located? Is this where “we” want to be? Where do the brand’s personas want it to be located? How can they get maximum value? Where does the brand need to be located to deliver the best experience?


6. The brand uses this positioning and these perceptions to map a journey of where it needs to be by plotting a trajectory into the personas’ preferred location. This is a journey the brand its going to have to make if it wants to adapt and change its users’ perceptions and behaviours. Along the way, it will have to ‘reach’ its personas by hitting touch points in their lives as ‘super fans’, ‘fans’ and ‘potential fans’ of the brand.


6a. And it’s the lifestyles of those personas as super fans, fans and potential fans that lights the way. The stuff they care about, the language they speak and the media they consume is all essential insight into how “we” communicate with each other. The persona insights show us how to organise our creative direction, strategy and planning. They give the brand its “Organising Idea” (Legorburu G, McColl D, Storyscaping  2014) that curates all the other ideas e.g. “Taste the Magic” (Coca Cola 2016).


7. Now the brand can plot that journey, it can plan its trajectory of added value by optimising personas’ touch points in a ‘narrative curve’ (Campbell J, The Hero with a Thousand Faces 2008) that targets media platforms and channels to tell a story and deliver relevant communication through shared experiences that are in line with what personas want. The insights from 5 and 6 show the brand where to find the super fans, fans and potential fans, how to key into their habits and how engage them. This is their shared ‘user journey’.


8. And the effectiveness of that user journey is measurable when ‘key performance indicators’ reflect word of mouth and buzz around persona touch points as communications activity ripples out across channels and platforms in owned, bought and earned media. In turn, this will give projections around return on investment as well as offering the potential to exploit the product life cycle (Vernon R, International Trade and International Investment in the Product Life Cycle 1966) with opportunities for brand extensions and monetization through transmedia and merchandising at key stages along the way (growth, maturity, decline or set-up, climax, resolution).


That’s it for now… We’ll unpack all the above in greater depth as this semester unfolds; I just wanted you to have a copy of this overview from our first 2 classes as a reference for any thoughts you might want to develop in your assignment, as something to accompany my videos slide stacks and a general picture to work with going forwards.

About Mike Villiers-Stuart

Mike is Course Director MA/MSc Future Media: Pro and a Senior Lecturer on the MA Global Media Management and BSc/BA Interactive Entertainment programmes.