All posts by Mike Villiers-Stuart

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.

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 developed by PR Smith, examines:

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

2. DPDDD attributed to McCann Digital, looks at:


3. Storyscaping 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.com


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.

New! Two-year BSc degree in Digital Marketing with Birmingham City University…


Meet Interactive Entertainment, Birmingham City University’s hardcore, two-year undergraduate degrees – perfect for a career in digital marketing, games development or digital art.

Our employer partners in these industries want experience. We provide it. You get real studio experience working and studying 9am-5pm, all year-round over two years, on real projects with professional practitioners and tutors.

Digital Marketing:

Our Interactive Entertainment Digital Marketing course is a broader, undergraduate version of the popular Future Media: Pro course.

Brought to you by the people behind the industry-leading Future Media and Gamer Camp postgraduate courses, and taught by experienced industry professionals, Interactive Entertainment, Digital Marketing, BSc (Hons) provides professional, hands-on digital agency experience as a key part of your future career plan.

Your first agency role:

The same experience-led, educational journey we pride our postgraduate courses on is also at the heart of all our Interactive Entertainment courses.

So, unlike other courses, we treat this like your first creative industry job.

How? Well, you’ll study and work 9-5, Monday to Friday, for two years – including over the summer. Plus, you’ll also be given your own free laptop to work on (for the duration of the course).

By the time you graduate, a whole year before most students, you’ll have two years of tangible, digital marketing and production experience under your belt; ready to find your perfect job in the ever-growing digital industries.

Don’t forget, a two-year course also means only two years of course fees too!

Along the way, you’ll gain the theoretical and intellectual skills, mixed with the practical and team-working experience that digital and media employers are looking for.

Make yourself employable in a growing sector:

At key points within the Digital Marketing course you’ll join with our programming and art production students to work collaboratively on ‘live briefs’ and development projects from real clients.

Inter-disciplinary working is the industry norm throughout the creative and media production professions and so this is mirrored in the Interactive Entertainment courses at Birmingham City University.

Throughout the course you will devise strategic campaign proposals based on your own market insight and analysis and manage the production of interactive comics, brand tie-in video games and cross-platform entertainment solutions.

After graduating, you’ll be equipped with a unique mix of broad skills and deep level specialist know-how; making you hugely employable in the ever-growing creative economy.

 Laptop included:

All students on the programme will be issued with a laptop to use whilst on the course. Your computer will be preloaded with all the industry-standard software required to complete the ‘live-brief’ assignments and roles you’ll work on with your colleagues in a buzzing digital communications and production studio.

On the course, you’ll be taught by established industry professionals with a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm, who are experienced at recognising and responding to the rapidly changing demands within the industry.

 Agency studio and resources:

You’ll be based in an agency style studio right next door to your Digital Art and Digital Games Development colleagues where you’ll be working with state-of-the-art resources and like-minded talent to deliver digital marketing solutions to client briefs.

Together you’ll be developing and creating branded interactive content for audiences to engage with in multi-platform campaigns. The Digital Marketing course is configured to give your talent for communication the direction and experience required to work with brands, clients, creative teams and production resources to deliver truly interactive entertainment in digital marketing.

So, if this sounds like you, ask for a one-to-one conversation with us or apply online now: 

Planning interactive content for production.
Working with clients and creative teams.
Shooting content at Birmingham City University’s Parkside studios.
Shooting content at Birmingham City University’s Parkside studios.