Microsoft Stories, "An inside look at the people, places and ideas that move us," is an excellent example of corporate storytelling.
The website looks and feels like an online magazine. It is actually a collection of corporate stories made to look like an online magazine. It is content marketing designed to give Microsoft staffers a face and Microsoft customers an entertaining experience.
The key "message" is subordinated to storytelling. Readers are engaged, not just message targets.
One of the featured stories is a profile about Kiki Wolfkill (her real name), who is in charge of the "Halo" video game, which has gone from a first-person perspective to an immersive world where players consume and create the game as they play.
We learn through the profile, written and laid out in magazine style, that Wolfkill combines her talent as an artist with her thirst for speed as a racecar driver to stimulate her design adrenalin. By the end of the piece, you would like to talk to Wolfkill over one of her Asian fusion home-cooked meals.
A video game has gone from a game to a face.
Other stories describe how five young technologists, who were finalists in Microsoft's Challenge for Change program, visited the Amazon, a former NFL player uses technology to battle ALS and a computer scientist splits his time between developing software and making wine. You even learn the Seattle Seahawks mascot doubles as a Microsoft demo whiz.
The website isn't pushy. There aren't buttons to share content on social media. Viewers aren't amped up on a particular lifestyle energy drink. The site is simply a well-done online magazine where viewers can come and get it as they wish.
Microsoft Stories relies on the quality of writing, clean design and compelling imagery to earn and retain your interest. It tells stories, which just happen to involve people who work at Microsoft. You would be interested in these people regardless where they worked.
If you ever wondered what corporate storytelling might or should look like, this website is for you. Even if you access it on a Mac.