Driving market leadership with innovation stories

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Product-led growth is a huge trend these days. Yet products themselves shouldn’t steal the show; instead, spotlight the people who make and use them. Read how Duarte helped Microsoft put its innovations in the best light.

From Windows and Internet Explorer to Azure and Surface, Microsoft has a long history of making ground-breaking products that transform entire categories. Yet, before Satya Nadella took over as CEO, the company was seen more as a lumbering behemoth relying on its legacy than an agile visionary that’s shaping the future. To reinvigorate its image, the company wanted to spotlight the imagination of its people and products through storytelling, the Duarte way.



Empowering narratives

Our client, Ben Tamblyn, tasked Duarte with crafting a narrative-driven presentation Microsoft could use to showcase its innovations at conferences and customer events as well as in conversations with influencers and even potential hires. In keeping with Nadella’s mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” the heart of the story had to be people, not technology. Fortunately, the Duarte Method™ puts empathy at the center of every story.

Our process

Duarte analyzed Microsoft’s key audiences to build profiles of three personas for the presentation and key messages that would appeal to each of them. Common themes bubbled up that we formed into a Big Idea™ to encapsulate Microsoft’s innovation approach. To express it powerfully, we explored potential story angles and accompanying visual styles before crafting the full narrative and accompanying slides.

Our insights

Throughout our discovery process, we uncovered nearly 30 impressive anecdotes that Microsoft’s “innovation story” began to look less like a single tale and more like nested narratives. Since Microsoft is constantly innovating, we needed to design a flexible structure that would let the client’s team add new stories as they emerged while still maintaining a cohesive overarching message.

Our approach

The result was a modular presentation with four different narrative paths built into it that showcased the ingenuity of Microsoft and its impact across a range of industries. Each path told the story of a particular innovation through the lens of its users for a potent blend of features and feelings. Combining on-slide animations with the use of PowerPoint’s morph transition created buttery-smooth motion for a movie-like feel with the easy editability of slides.

The results

Elevating communication with The Duarte Method™

In the end, Microsoft got a fresh and inspiring take on their customer-centric innovation culture that sparked a bit of a communication movement internally. After peeking inside our visual storytelling lab, Microsoft’s communication team was inspired to elevate all their presentations using The Duarte Method™. Through storytelling training, slide making, and more, we continue to partner to co-create communications that prove the transformative potential of Microsoft’s technology, one slide at a time.

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Persona profiles created

Analyzing key audiences, Duarte built custom persona profiles for the presentation and key messages to appeal to each.

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Impressive anecdotes uncovered

Our in-depth discovery process helped build Microsoft’s new “innovation story” full of new narratives nested under one cohesive message.

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Unique narrative paths built

Each path within the modular presentation showcased Microsoft’s innovations and their influence across various sectors.