Q&A: Omar Epps and Darren “Daz” McColl on Storyscaping

Omar Epps, actor and Investor, and Darren “Daz” McColl, Global Chief Brand Strategy Officer, SapientNitro, participate in "The Power of Stories Lived Versus Stories Told" on Day 2 of Internet Week New York 2014. Credit: INSIDER IMAGES/Andrew Kelly
Omar Epps, actor and investor, and Darren “Daz” McColl, Global Chief Brand Strategy Officer of SapientNitro, participate in “The Power of Stories Lived Versus Stories Told” on Day 2 of Internet Week New York 2014.
Credit: INSIDER IMAGES/Andrew Kelly

Omar Epps, actor, tech investor and star of ABC’s new drama “Resurrection,” partnered up with Darren “Daz” McColl, SapientNitro’s Global Chief Brand Strategy Officer and author of the new marketing book “Storyscaping” at New York’s Internet Week to discuss the challenges of engaging today’s viewers in stories.

Consumers today expect more than just being told a story; they want to be part of it. This is where Epps and McColl’s brand strategy of “Storyscaping” comes in. The idea is to create an entire world, or never-ending story, around a brand. Whether experiencing the product through advertisement, social media or in person, the consumer can connect with the brand in the same way regardless of where they entered the story. Metro caught up with Epps and McColl to further explore their new brand strategy in a panel called “The Power of Stories Lived Versus Stories Told.”

Can you start by explaining the foundations of Storyscaping?

McColl: By bringing experience back to storytelling, it creates the engagement that fans want so they can get to a point where the brand becomes part of their story. That’s how we work as consumers. Everything is in service with our own personal story, so by taking the way that brands market, they can get into the consumer’s story through participation. Storyscaping is built on that foundation.

Omar, what was it about this brand strategy that made you want to get behind it as an investor?

Epps: Being friends [with McColl], we’ve had many conversations about how to advertise a market. I come from my side of the fence and he comes from his side, so for me to see the book come together, it all makes sense. It’s great because it’s a new challenge on both fronts of how to make the best of both worlds. I was able to take that information and go back into what I do on my side as a creator and come up with new ideas and give insight to creators around me to come up with new ideas in terms of the breadcrumb trail of what we do after we present the product and continue to tell the story.

How has the entertainment industry changed now that marketing is playing a greater role in Hollywood?

Epps: I don’t know if it’s something unique in terms of how the world has changed. I mean Coca Cola’s a marketing company. They don’t really sell soda, you know?

Right. They sell happiness.

Epps: Exactly. They sell happiness. I mean the bones of it have always been there but because there are so many different outlets and so many ways a consumer can interact with a product now, it goes beyond just going to a store and grabbing it off a shelf, and that’s where the game has changed. There’s no blunt formula to say this is the way you do it but your formula has to be like water – just move and flow with where the people go.

How do you intend to create this organic path of marketing?

McColl: What we talk about in the book is making sure that everything you think, do and share is true to your brand purpose. No matter what platform, panel or system you use, you’ve got to really anchor yourself to that purpose. 

Epps: I actually thought Samsung did a great job with that Lebron campaign where they just had him hanging out with his kids, going to get a haircut. It’s normal like, “Oh yeah, I do that in life,” and “Oh, that’s a cool phone.” But it was a slice of his life and that’s telling a story.

Do you put a lot of time and thought into marketing yourself?

Epps: Yeah, I do because beyond the product that I present in terms of my art, my name and likeness is all I have. That’s where my worth is so I’m very aware of how my name and likeness are presented. I’m strategic where I need to be but I’m also not trying to be so calculated as to present it in a way that’s not me. This is the genuine me; this is who I am. But yeah, you have to be aware. I’m very strategic in terms of how I’m perceived but for what I can control. For things I can’t control, I just let it be and live life.

Are you trying to integrate Storyscaping into the show “Resurrection?”

Epps: I think there’s a potential to sort of tease the audience through the Storyscaping technique with things that relate to the show that are on the periphery so it’s not something we’re forcing or adding on to. It’s something that’s already there but then we can take that and play with it. But how we integrate it, I don’t know. It’s a fine balance because people want that escapism but still want that mystery so you can’t give them too much.

McColl: In reality, there’s already a Storyscape for Resurrection. As soon as they watch the trailer, there’s a world of content they can connect to. The fact that Omar has done live tweeting from the set is an interaction that gives a different dimension because it’s him, Omar, as opposed to Martin Bellamy. That, to me, is a concept of Storyscaping. Omar is not in Resurrection; Martin Bellamy is in Resurrection. But Omar Epps talking about Resurrection is Storyscaping because his storyline as an entrepreneur is totally different from the storyline of Resurrection but the two intersect.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.