Machine_ Uses StoryStackr Platform For Sanlam Digital Experience Content


Machine launched a digital experience content platform titled StoryStackr and Sanlam Group is the first of Machine’s clients to use the platform to energise its content and communications offering during the challenges of remote working.

Machine’s content marketing specialisation, led by Sarah Browning-de Villiers, Machine’s Chief Content Officer, is the driving force behind its partnership with the Sanlam Group. She explained that printed material was untenable during stricter lockdown levels, and employees and stakeholders are experiencing email fatigue at a whole new level. ‘In addition, digital experience platforms traditionally used by publishers, like PDF flipbook solutions, simply do not offer a truly customisable and immersive experience for users.’

She said that since winning Sanlam Group’s internal communications business, effective February 2020, Machine has been hard at work reimagining the group’s internal communications content strategy with its communications team. ‘But none of us saw the curveball that would hit as we were ready to re-launch with Sanlam.’ 

‘We’ve been working on an immersive storytelling experience supercharged by smart tech –  StoryStackr – for a few months, but Covid-19 catalysed this effort and shone a spotlight on the need for a product like this,’ she added. ‘We’re delighted it has launched at a time when our clients need it most, starting with Sanlam.’

‘We believe in the increasing need for our clients to build authentic relationships with customers and stakeholders in a more holistic way than simply talking about their services or products. We are all demanding more from brands – we want to see them add value to our lives, not try to sell us something. That’s exactly the challenge that our content marketing practice solves.’

StoryStackr, which Browning-de Villiers described as, ‘an immersive, digital storytelling experience supercharged by smart tech’ is part of Machine’s content marketing specialist offering, created in partnership with the Publicis Data Sciences Africa team. Critically, no capital expenditure or build is required. We’ve worked with Publicis Data Sciences to ensure it  easily integrates with third-party platforms, and keep it customisable and flexible for technical teams to work with.’

‘StoryStackr has an innumerable number of use cases for clients,’ added Gareth Forbes, VP: Publicis Data Sciences. ‘From gamified content experiences and interactive onboarding journeys to immersive product catalogues and manuals or – in the case of Sanlam – an interactive digital magazine experience. Publicis Data Sciences also offers a host of data solutions that enable our clients to create custom experiences for users, as well as harness the insights and use them in their broad ecosystems without any whisper of the dreaded word ‘build’.’

A much-loved component of Sanlam Group’s internal communications includes a print magazine, newly launched in April as Sanlam Connect. ‘Of course, with the challenges of lockdown, it quickly became clear we couldn’t print or distribute printed material,’ explained Browning-de Villiers. Within a matter of weeks, StoryStackr was harnessed, launching Sanlam Group’s first fully immersive and interactive content experience for internal staff and stakeholders. 

‘It is exciting to be the first company to use StoryStackr, and to launch such an immersive digital experience as part of our internal communications,’ said Sydney Mbhele, Executive: Brand at Sanlam. ‘The feedback has been overwhelming. In a staff survey conducted, we’ve quickly seen that this new, digitally innovative solution helps to cut through the clutter of email communications in busy workdays. In these unprecedented times of remote working, this has never been more important, especially for a large company like Sanlam. We’re better positioned to equip our teams with the information they need to feel empowered, connected and informed, wherever they are working from across our footprint in 33 African countries and other markets such as the UK.’

‘StoryStackr is scalable and enjoyable, it completely changes how stakeholders experience your brand. My clients know I believe in the power of print, if the objectives and strategy are right. But Covid-19 has reminded us of the ever-present need to flex and adapt quickly. StoryStackr is an invaluable tool for this,’ concluded Browning-de Villiers.