Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

April 22, 2011

How Digital Storytelling is being used in healthcare for patient management

Past-Present-FuturePip Hardy and Tony Sumner founded the Patient Voices Programme in 2003 with the intention of bringing more humanity into healthcare through the creation and sharing of digital stories.

Through its carefully developed methodology, the programme facilitates the telling and sharing of reflective stories of care by all stakeholders. The innovative model of free distribution of resulting stories for use in health and social care education and quality improvement ensures that those voices are heard, and that the investment of storytellers is nurtured to develop maximum social capital.
Some 500 people have participated in workshops to create their digital stories and the model of free distribution of stories via the Patient Voices website has resulted in their use in healthcare education throughout the English-speaking world and beyond.

The Patient Voices programme aims to facilitate the telling and the hearing of some of the 

unwritten and unspoken stories of ordinary people.
The goal is that those who devise and

implement strategy in health and social care, as well as the professionals and clinicians

directly involved in care, may carry out their duties in a more informed and compassionate 

We hope that, as a result of seeing the stories, patients, their carers and clinicians 

may meet as equals and work respectfully together for the benefit of all.”

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April 04, 2011

So let’s tell a story - Al Pacino signed four –ad deal for Vittoria Coffee on the condition he tells his story!

He never has and he never will. That’s the response Rolando Schirato, sales and marketing manager at Vittoria Coffee and the grandson of the original founder of Australian iconic brand Vittoria Coffee, received when he approached Al Pacino’s management about signing on the Oscar winner to endorse the Australian owned super brand.

Needing to compete against Multinational Nestle who had dropped millions on its George Clooney campaign for Nespresso, and Lavazza who is planning to pay Julia Roberts a cool $1.6 million to flash her smile for the brand, it was important for Vittoria to gain similar celebrity applause and they wanted to something really special for the company’s 50th anniversary.

Vittoria stuck to it’s guns and six months after the initial knockback, struck a breakthrough when the 70 year old actor agreed to read a brief from the company.

Schirato said he focused on the similarities they shared with Pacino. Vittoria is a family owned company, now in its third generation of family heritage and both families were Italian migrants. Both Pacino’s and Schirato’s families are from Sicilian roots. That fact made Pacino take note and he tried agreed to try the coffee.

Having known the Schirato family personally now for some years I have to add to this story that it is simply impossible not to note the family’s complete passion for their product. It is contagious to just about anyone who meets the family. Les Schirato is known as Australia’s coffee king.

Pacino, a hardcore coffee fanatic, liked the product and as anyone who has seen the ads on television ‘you get that’ when Pacino taps his fingers against the neatly branded Vittoria Coffee cup on screen and simply says, “This is good coffee.” The vocal inflection of sincerity, even for an acclaimed actor is hard to avoid.

What makes this story even more interesting is Pacino signed a four ad deal on the condition that he would develop the scripts himself with the help of Oscar winning director Barry Levison of Diner, Rain Man, Wag the Dog film fame. Pacino wanted to tell the story.

That fitted Vittoria’s ethos generally of avoiding high cost ad agencies and who has built a vast empire by being master of ambush marketing strategies.

The four ads were all filmed in New York’s Greenwich Village in one day complete with four Vittoria Coffee baristas, two coffee carts and five coffee machines all shipped from Australia. The ads went to air in Australian in August 2000 and the results were staggering.

Vittoria Coffee sales reached an all time high by late August (a 20% boost) and the company secured a 67.3% share of the $137-million market in Australia.

Vittoria says whilst the peaked sales were great it was really about brand recognition. The campaign delivered worldwide recognition. On the drawing board are plans for the company to push into the US. They already do a small amount of business there.

Vittoria Coffee’s campaign further used publicity to tell the story of how they came to get Pacino and what happened when he came on set. You can’t make those stories up, they develop naturally.

Not bad for a corporate success story of David and Goliath in business. It’s also a story of family values, of heritage and of a father’s pride in son’s achievements.

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April 03, 2011

How to keep your audience engaged at your next presentation - tell a story!

There are lessons for business to learn from storytelling rather than text heavy
powerpoints that sends your audience to sleep.

Firefighters swap stories after every fire, and by doing so they multiply their experience; after years of hearing stories, they have a richer, more complete mental catalogue of critical situations they might confront during a fire and the appropriate responses to those situations. Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment.
Similarly hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond quickly and effectively.

Stories put knowledge into a framework that is more lifelike, more true to our day to day existence. Being the audience for a story isn’t  passive. Inside of us, we’re getting into the act.

Neurocore tip:
Research, including high tech real time brain scans, is now showing that emotions, triggered in the limbic area of the brain – also known as the mammalian brain – lock a story in memory and that our memories are holistic. The more fully we engage the audience’s entire brain in what we say – the more we get them firing on all cylinders – the more easy our story is to remember. Words and verbal constructions tend to be stored in the left hemisphere of the brain, spatial relationships and visual images in the right hemisphere.

Use storytelliing to add emotion to a fact and embed in audience's memory
Audiences check out after ten minutes, but you can keep grabbing them back by telling them narratives or creating events rich in emotion. In other words your brain has a tendency to tune out after 10 minutes, ignore ‘boring’ subjects and requires a lot of pictures to retain information. Tip: tell a relevant story, or video clip and embed it with emotion. If you’re presenting via a webinar you can use a tool to push a poll or a question to your audience. Plan exercises at ten minute intervals. Conventional text heavy powerpoint should be thrown out and replaced with image rich slides. The brain doesn’t see letters.

Extend your story with digital storytelling strategies
Positioning your organisation as a story telling space, is a smart move. You might have the best ideas in the room but if they are only ideas expressed, you won’t have fully harnessed the creative power of your team. When it is time to make a decision communicate it through a story. That why the idea will be completely understood and absorbed. Telling your story digitally allows you to tap into a variety of compelling mediums allowing the listener to tap into the emotions of the story either via images on Flickr, Youtube videos, blogs, podcasts and many more mediums. If you’d like to learn more sign up for our free teleclass

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