Digging into Cultural Materials for the best Story Ideas

digging (1)
Image 1 of 1

In this post, Yiting Yeh (Sasa) talks about her research journey on storytelling and small agribusiness. Leading up to the Degree Show, she shares her perspective of the Nouveau Flâneur as an Innovation Manager.

Have you ever been to a farmers’ market and hunted for delicious and healthy agricultural products? Have you ever been curious about the printed words on your food packaging that you bought, and wondered where the foods came from? Although enormous small agribusinesses have been producing amazing products and services to the market, I noticed that a majority of small agribusinesses have remained at the same scale for years, due to the inefficiency of marketing communication.

Effective marketing communication through storytelling requires emotional ideas. From gaining insights, framing the message, and distilling it into a simple idea that will resonate with many people, each step requires a different skillset. The development of communication ideas is difficult, which explains why there are so many ‘poor’ attempts at communication; just as not every film, book, song or artwork is a creative or commercial success. As a result, the greatest challenge a market player faces is telling a story that will capture the interests of consumers in a limited time frame within a competitive market environment. This poses a risk for small businesses that may waste time and resources constructing a narrative that is not told in a compelling, interesting or meaningful way.

Based on the phenomenon I observed and researched in agribusinesses, I actively took on the role as a Nouveau Flâneur. I detected that there are unknown innovation opportunities behind the common dilemma of contemporary small agribusinesses. I decided to investigate these issues from a cultural aspect, and create valuable recommendations to help small agribusinesses gain revenue and scale up. My entire research journey revealed the characteristics of a modern-day Flâneur. As an Innovation Manager, I kept an open attitude to discover things, and therefore made no assumptions as to which direction my research would take me. I allowed my curiosity and intuition to guide me – to step in a direction that was both gainful and fruitful, and to enjoy the serendipities throughout the journey. I encouraged myself to embrace the uncertainties encountered in the process of executing my research plan. By doing this, I could clarify my proposed statement, adequately extract data and information I collected from each step, and above all, come up with a better approach to push my plan further.

Eventually, my research conceptualised 3 key things:

  • the idea of applying storytelling to small agribusinesses seeking new innovation opportunities
  • translating insights into case studies
  • a richer understanding of digital media resources and cultural elements in a UK context.

My discussion emphasised the important factors that influence the current industry, and recommended more effective approaches to conveying a brand’s value. In addition, my study also highlighted how related sectors could apply a storytelling strategy to tell a better story.

There is no guarantee that implementing the storytelling strategy will create successful innovation in small agribusinesses, as change of this significance requires more effort. Other limitations may also prevent small businesses from investing in and challenging their current scale. However, the findings in my paper still provide small agribusiness participants new insights and new ideas – to dig around the backyards of their businesses and to discover their own innovative opportunities.

To learn more about the Nouveau Flâneur and Yiting (Sasa)’s research, stay tuned for the upcoming MAIM 2015 Degree Show, taking place at Central Saint Martins in the week starting on the 23rd of June.