Microsoft's innovative story telling approach to corporate communications
Ahead in the cloud
I began working as a journalist at a place called Net Profit Publications. In many ways it was the ideal place to cut my authorial teeth. David and Keith, my editors at the time, were experienced, no-nonsense journalists with a keen eye for flannel – so no hiding place really. They taught me a great deal and very much set the tone for how I write today.
For instance, they’d have probably raised an eyebrow at the use of ‘authorial’ in the opening paragraph, perhaps suggesting that ‘writer’s’ would have been perfectly adequate. However, this is my blog and if I want to use pretentious phraseology that’s surely my prerogative? You can make your own mind up by visiting here and taking a look at the discussion around its use over on thefreedictionary.com
What's the story?
I digress. David and Keith now operate as Bowen Craggs & Co. They’ve still got an eye for great writing and it was through one of their emails that I discovered the story I want to talk about. And yes, it’s very much a story. It could be argued that marketing in general is gravitating towards story telling as a way to engage, enthuse and, hopefully, enthrall an audience. Microsoft has picked up that ball and run with it over on the page: In the Cloud we Trust.
For starters: It looks great, almost book like in the way the text and images have been rendered. And the images are clever, very clever. Some distort when you roll the mouse over them. Some change size as you scroll down the page, some have multiple links embedded in them and some even include audio files. Cutting edge stuff, really.
Something we should all be concerned about
And it’s beautifully written. Barely a wasted word, a cleverly constructed narrative that clips along and consummately pulls together multiple strands into an engaging whole that belies its length – at almost 3,000 words it’s way longer than what we’re used to being presented with in this age of short attention spans. The subject matter’s also something we should all be concerned with: the security of our data in a world where our physical location bears little if any relationship to where our data resides.
Technology firms, governments and individuals all have a role to play in helping us to understand the implications of how data is handled, accessed and, of course, used. While it may not be something we can actually do anything about (do you know where your data is stored, what applications like facebook actually do with it, or, exactly what cookies are tracking when you casually click agree?) it’s reassuring to a degree that at least it’s an issue that’s being given some thought by those that actually have a say in what happens to it.
There's usually an issue
Oh yes, just one more thing. It would be remiss of me not to point out an issue with the page – it is, after all, part of what I do. Take a look at the final section of the piece included below.
Yes there’s an error. OK, it’s only a little one, but it’s an error nonetheless. Tut tut Microsoft, tut tut!
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