Narration is the habitat in which we live
In his book Scripta volant, the author Paolo Iabichino — Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy&Mather — investigates the humanization of the brand by associating it with the birth of a new paradigm, the habitat. But what is meant by habitat? When we see a documentary, we know that for each animal, there is a specific habitat, where it was born and must stay. But perhaps it is better to use the verb “knowing” how to stay: the habitat is the place where every animal / man knows how to stay.
In this interconnected world, the human habitat is configured as a narrative habitat in which even brand narration and brands are accepted and become part of our existential feed. There is very little left offline that is not online: contamination has reached such a point that we talk about onlife, where the barriers between the analogue and digital worlds are, by now, almost non-existent. The objects we refer to, which we need, are prosthetic identities and what we say or write is to be inserted into a gigantic flow of communication. We must make these objects resonate in narrative habitats which are impossible to circumscribe to the single media.
In essence, the habitat to which Iabichino refers is «the digital humus in which many brands are cultivating relations with their interlocutors. In the analog era — the author emphasizes — we could not talk about habitats, we talked about media. There is a misunderstanding, to which we must pay a lot of attention: when we talk about social networks, we refer to a way of staying in the world here and now”.
Iabichino also mentions the Cluetrain Manifesto, written in 1999 by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger. It is a manifesto composed of 95 theses that invited all the companies operating within what, at the time, was intended to be an interconnected market. The basic idea behind the Cluetrain Manifesto was essentially the so-called end of business as usual: “A vigorous conversation began worldwide.
Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways of sharing relevant knowledge with incredible speed. As a direct consequence, the markets are becoming smarter and faster than most companies,“ you can read one of the more explanatory paragraphs, and it better summarizes the thinking of the authors.
The first of the ninety five theses concerns precisely this and is still valid today: “The markets must be interpreted as conversations, conversations between human beings who play human and take place with a human voice”, Iabichino writes in this regard. You can guess how the market logics, those that we all know as B2B and B2C have been slowly overtaken by the H2H logic, that is human to human.
Another person who refers to the same thesis by Cluetrain Manifesto is Andrea Fontana, in his book Manual of Storytelling: «Organizations are human communities based on human discourses that speak to human problems — the author reports — and whether the companies (profit or whether or not they are) do not organize these speeches, or they die, or will be taken hostage by other social actors who will be able to organize the speeches for their own use and consumption”.
Everyday life is constantly wrapped in a narrative network that filters perceptions, stimulates thoughts, evokes emotions, excites the senses, determining actions of adhesion and purchase.
In the world-environment (which we will call habitat) in which we find ourselves thrown (we encounter things as tools in their simple presence and usability) we create a close connection with them. In our way of living, therefore, we need to sow a series of references and significance that become an integral part of our structure.
Discovering our place in the world we open a sort of ray of action and relationship in which all the things that are found “in the vicinity” of our being are connected. Moving, acting, interacting, we circumscribe our region and invite the other to penetrate. This circumscribed ‘region’ (this habitat) orients our existence: within the physical environment, human activity opens a virtual environment, a narrative which stands as an increased biosphere and constitutes the ideal ecological niche for the development of our species.