Our new book, Content Delivery, is here! 🎉 Grab your free copy →

How a branding and marketing agency used GatherContent to create an animated storytelling experience

Jacqueline Ostrowski • 4 minutes

When its 150th anniversary approached, food and agricultural products company Cargill wanted to find an exciting way to celebrate their history and accomplishments.

At VSA Partners, a design-driven branding and marketing agency, we helped Cargill create a multi-faceted print and digital content suite in honour of this important occasion. We wanted to ensure that it was not only educational and inspirational, but that the content felt immersive, activated across multiple channels for their broad audiences. GatherContent was an integral part of the process and helped us deliver content on time.

Components for the Cargill 150th anniversary project included:

  • Interactive elevator bank murals
  • Flight Information Displays (FIDs) in the D.C. airport
  • A new global, responsive website
  • A premium coffee table book

With the help of Cargill’s communications team and archivists, we created a content strategy centred around Cargill’s core values and industries. Then we developed ideas for 150 stories highlighting Cargill’s rich history and spanning its global reach. VSA wrote and published them on the new 150th anniversary site after doing extensive research with subject matter experts.

Compelling stories – but how to tell them?

As a global food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services provider, Cargill is committed to feeding the world responsibly and helping people thrive. When we researched Cargill’s industries for the anniversary project, we uncovered many compelling stories about how ingredients go from process to final product.

For example, animal science professor and author Dr. Temple Grandin worked with Cargill to develop a serpentine chute that helps cattle feel at ease before harvesting. Cargill was the first to implement Grandin’s approach in the industry. The Grandin story on Cargill’s website introduced the approach, but we saw an opportunity to use more complex storytelling to illustrate how some of the processes worked.

To expand on some of these stories, Cargill asked us to create an animated experience for their employees that would be displayed on 91” touchscreens at their campus in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Employees would be able to navigate through each step in an ingredient’s journey from process to final product. We’d still create an interactive, storytelling-focused experience—but this time it would live in an immersive physical environment.

Story creation

Our design, user experience, development, and content teams worked closely together to develop the interactive experience.

Read how teams at VSA Partners worked closely together to develop the interactive experience

When we considered how to manage the content, our development lead and I immediately thought of GatherContent. VSA has used GatherContent successfully in the past to manage content for several enterprise website redesigns, and we found that GatherContent’s clear, simple interface was an ideal fit for our needs.

We liked how easy it was to build templates, manage revisions, and collaborate with other contributors. GatherContent’s seamless integration eliminates the cut-and-paste hassle of working with separate copy documents, empowering content leads to be more in control of final content.

GatherContent’s integration eliminates cut & paste hassle of working with separate copy documents

Let’s take a look at how we set up the stories and used GatherContent’s templates to corral the content.

Template structure

We created three templates in GatherContent that mirrored the structure of the maps and modals:

The T1 Main Menu template maps to the homepage of the experience where users choose which process they’d like to explore:

The T2 Process Map template mirrors the structure of the animated process maps: introductory copy and explanatory step-by-step bubbles:

And the T3 Modal template is similar to a simple article page in structure:

GatherContent’s templates were ideal for this project because they allowed for easy duplication and instructional copy—two crucial elements. We were able to revise templates as stories evolved and provide plenty of guidance for writers along the way.

Here’s an example of what copy looks like in a GatherContent template:

And here’s what the same copy looks like in the interactive experience:

As with most client projects, Cargill was invested in ensuring the work quality was high, and the content went through many rounds of stakeholder edits. Fortunately, GatherContent’s interface made it easy to revise content right in the templates while still tracking past versions for reference.

Now let’s take a look at how these stories look in the final interactive experience.

The interactive experience

Users begin at a home screen where they can choose from one of eight ingredient stories:

  • From palm fruit to potato chip
  • From cocoa bean to chocolate bar
  • From poultry to fresh chicken
  • From corn kernels to soft drinks
  • From salt deposits to savoury snacks
  • From canola seeds to French fries
  • From cattle to fresh beef
  • From raw materials to nutritious animal feed

Once users select a story, they are taken to a process map—a high-level overview that includes animation and a step-by-step outline of the process:

From the map, a user can touch any of the bubbles that illustrate steps of the process:

Once the user touches the bubble, a modal pops up:

On the modal, users can read details about this step of the process.

From this modal, users can jump ahead to the next modal, back to the previous modal, or back to the process map. The self-selection architecture and interface design makes it easy and fun to engage with stories and follow the ingredients from their genesis to store shelves.

Wrapping it all up

The vibrant photography, lively animations, and cohesive storytelling combine to create a compelling storytelling experience. Behind the scenes, the templates and infrastructure we built in GatherContent provides a strong foundation for our stories and helps the process-to-product approach come to life.

We hope to explore more interactive storytelling opportunities with Cargill and other clients in the future—and when we do, we’ll definitely turn to GatherContent to help us manage content seamlessly and efficiently.

Read how VSA Partners used GatherContent to create an animated storytelling experience

Free Online Masterclass

Content Strategy & Delivery

Kristina Halvorson

Anyone who struggles with content consistency and efficiency—and who doesn't?—will greatly benefit from this course. If you want to get smarter about content planning, creation and delivery, start here.

Kristina Halvorson

CEO & Founder, Brain Traffic

Reserve my place

Brand new book

Download your free Kindle, ePub and PDF copy

Download
iPad with Content Delivery cover

Easily organise and produce content for website projects

Start your trial now
Mark McClendon
Our content processes used to involve an ineffective mix of spreadsheets, documents, and a slew of file storage solutions. With GatherContent we've solved all of those problems and more. Mark McClendon — Partner & Executive Director, VML

Late content from clients will delay projects and website launches

Content challenges and inefficient processes result in bad outcomes for your agency’s projects, letting down clients, delaying projects and losing you money.

See how agencies use GatherContent

Get the most from GatherContent

Book a free 30 minute call with one of our team to help you get set up with GatherContent and answer any of your questions.

Book a 30 minute call

About the Author

Jacqueline Ostrowski

Associate Director, Content VSA Partners

You might also like these posts…

© GatherContent 2018 WeWork, 2nd Floor, 115 Mare Street, London E8 4RU, United Kingdom. VAT No.: GB140105279. Company No.: SC400199