There are so many wonderful places and spaces that are more than meets the eye. Beneath their surfaces, they harbour a story or a piece of history that are capable of creating connections with those fortunate enough to visit them. Pass a point or turn a rock, and there you will find that special something that makes your being there even more special.
But what happens if you cannot go there? Do the memory, and the connection fade away, or did it never get a chance to be established, to begin with? With current travel and attendance restrictions, this question haunts the experience industry professional, whether he or she is working with tourism, brand spaces, attraction or any other place that thrives from those who go to see it, experience it and add it to their own life narrative. However, in a narrative approach lies the key to the solution; the story that is anchored in a space does not have to be limited by it.
Every experience has its instances of before, during and after the core experience, which actually may be the shortest of the three. Think of going on a one-week vacation. You may look forward to it for months, and the memories may stay with you for years, decades or even the rest of your life. The stories you learn and live related to the destination last way longer than seven days. Your lasting connection is made well in advance. It is not limited by time or space but defined by depth and richness. A bond that may make you return, even if years pass before you do so.
To maintain such a connection, and even build on it, newer narrative disciplines such as transmedia, multiplatform and cross-media storytelling is given meaning and value. When the audience cannot go to live the story where it was supposed to come alive, it has to be established in other places, where the audience can be engaged. When the instances of before and after are stretched longer than anyone intended, giving the audience more depth and value to keep them engaged maintains and even strengthens the connection with them. On the other hand, if your story can only be experienced in one way at one location, the connection with the audience may break.
A great story has an appeal and relevance; it can be told in many different ways at many different locations. Challenge yourself to present it or expanding it in other ways that you are used to, and you just might unlock the power of the unlimited story. It will keep you connected with your audience even when you are apart.