The StoryFirst Framework: The Organizing Principle of Opal

by George Huff

Marketing is an inherently messy process.

It is creative yet analytical, strategic and tactical, unified but disparate, and ultimately collaborative by nature.

With no one definitionally correct way to do marketing, every brand and every marketing team has their own way of approaching marketing that is messy in their own way.

At Opal, we solve the biggest problem that enterprise marketers face today: how to bring all the siloed teams that impact marketing together, allow them to collaborate on campaigns, and operationalize for the dynamic new ways that brands can connect with customers.

Rather than try to build separate products that reinforce the silos, we built Opal to be a flexible environment where teams could work alongside each other in the way that best suits them. This is all underpinned by the guiding construct of our platform: the StoryFirst Framework.

The StoryFirst™ Framework

The StoryFirst Framework is a three-tiered hierarchy of how content is organized in Opal made up of stories, moments, and content:

Stories – Stories are overarching brand campaigns or narratives at the highest level that provide a space to unify where work is being done.

Moments – Moments are flexible containers for content that represent a key point in time in a story. They help provide structure and give greater context to a story’s narrative.

Content – Content is the product of information that your team creates, whether it be a social media post, digital advertisement, email, internal enablement or anything you want. It can be used as a vehicle to represent whatever you need within Opal.

Together these three elements allow marketers to work together in Opal in a way that is more strategic and efficient.

Great marketing starts with a story

One of the main strategic benefits of the StoryFirst Framework is that it encourages marketers to think in stories first. At Opal we adamantly believe that great marketing starts with a story.

Storytelling is a fundamental human experience that unites people and drives stronger, deeper connections. In today’s fragmented world, stories are more important than ever to connect with consumers and link together the various elements and content of marketing campaigns. With Opal, your story becomes your strategy.

Where many companies struggle is that all of their marketing channels are siloed off from one another and each one is telling a story specific to the channel that they own. This creates disjointed messaging that doesn’t resonate and misses the impact with consumers.

With Opal, the StoryFirst Framework helps marketers to ask the question “What is the story we are going to tell?” and then determine the channels and content around that story.

Organized collaboration

One of the main operational benefits of The StoryFirst Framework is that it keeps your marketing organized and tidy. There is no jumbled mess of shared docs to sift through or 500-row spreadsheets to search. The hierarchy of the StoryFirst Framework enables anyone in Opal to quickly and easily find the view or content that they are looking for. The result is that teams are more effectively able to collaborate on both campaigns and content.  

Our customers have shared with us countless stories of executives asking questions like “What social content did your team create last year for our holiday campaign in Brazil?” – questions that would force them to drop everything and could take three days to pull together and present. With Opal, that question can be answered in 5 minutes and you get your three days back.

When you apply that time-savings across an organization, it makes a big impact on the speed and efficiency in which marketing teams can work. The organized nature of the StoryFirst Framework is what allows teams to operate so much faster than ever before.

The efficiencies of inheritance

The StoryFirst Framework brings about many improvements in efficiency because of the concept of inheritance. The hierarchy of the framework works so that any attributes set at the story level are inherited down to the moment level and down to the content as well.

The idea of inheritance and the effects of the StoryFirst Framework permeate nearly every aspect of the Opal Platform. It’s impact can be found not in just how content is organized, but also in Workflows, Budgets, the Asset Library, Chat & Activity and much more.

When we first built Opal, we saw a lot of inefficiencies in the way marketers worked. They would create 20 pieces of content and then add the appropriate labels to all of them. With Opal, if you add labels on a story or moment, you only have to do this once and all that content underneath that level attributes it automatically, resulting in massive efficiencies.

Inheritance makes sure that everything in Opal is attributed correctly, and when things are attributed correctly, it helps keep everything organized, tidy, and filterable.

The final word

At the end of the day, the reason why we started Opal is to enhance the way marketers work so that they can produce more effective marketing. By keeping your work organized, tidy, and thinking strategically through the lens of the StoryFirst Framework, we are certain that Opal is making for better, more collaborative marketing teams.

About the Author

George Huff

Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder

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