WHEN CONSUMERS BECOME ACTIVIST

Research has shown that majority of consumers will boycott a brand because its position on a social or political issue , and it is no longer ok for brands to sit on the side-lines when it comes to issues their customers care about.

Brand safety and polarisation

Brand safety has become a huge concern for advertisers in recent years, as social media has become a hotbed of polarization and misinformation, especially in chaotic moments.

In India after a backlash on social media, which saw #BoycottTanishq trending on Twitter. The ad for Tanishq’s new collection called Ekatvam – which means ‘oneness’ had to be pulled down.

In the US after the Capitol Hill riots advertisers paused media spends.

Brand managers need to think ahead of the impact of every communication and at times they will be forced to take positions.

Post COVID changes in marketing and communication

Consumers look upto brands for being more conscious and compassionate. We recently saw how a founder of the large vaccine manufacturer in India was trolled for the pricing strategy communication.

Making profits at the cause of human lives is not seen in good light . Exploiting an opportunity in crisis is not ok and there would be a consumer backlash on the brand.

Organisations that treat their employees with care in testing times are valued by consumers and also employees.

Climate change and impact on Brands

Pre-pandemic , the world was in the middle of a shift from conspicuous consumption to conscious consumption . The pandemic has only accelerated this ark . Organic food market has grown and this trend will grow as people focus on their health and well-being. Vegan lifestyle is another trend that seeks compassion towards animals and is also seen as a health trend with many celebrities adopting this compassionate lifestyle.

Brands that pollute our environment and promote conspicuous consumption that is detrimental to our planet will not be appreciated by consumers. Climate change impacts are being witnessed across the world and this is now an Urgent topic for consumers.

Foods that are seen as unhealthy are being challenged in various ways by consumers. We see the rise of films that expose such brands and unhealthy fast food industry and their impact on our health on OTT platforms and on YouTube.

Shift to Purpose Driven Brands

Health- focused is only part of the Conscious Consumer . Consumers have been trending towards purpose driven and ethical brands. The trend towards sustainable, ethical and purpose driven will only continue.

CSR and Marketing will come together

Corporate Social Responsibility and Marketing will no longer be two different teams with different mandates . Social responsibility will be part of marketing stories of brands. Brands are expected to go beyond just being profit making entities they are valued based on the commitment to the communities they work in .

The Tata companies in India are respected for always keeping people beyond profits and nation building before the organisation. These are iconic brands that have built Trust over the years.

Exploiting vulnerabilities

Brands that exploit a vulnerable segment for profit will have to face the music from consumers as was experienced by an edutech brand that exploited parents from poor sections of the community with expensive courses through sales and marketing miscommunication.

On top of that it was getting accounts blocked of voices of dissent across social platforms. To the extent that the brand filed a defamation case against someone who exposed its malpractices.

The brand was heavily trolled and finally had to withdraw its case. Only profit and valuation will not help when consumers become activist .

To build a long term and sustainable brand ethical practices are essential.

Today every consumer is a potential activist with his / her own broadcast channel . Brands will need to wake up to a new more conscious world.

INTERRUPTION MARKETING IS DEAD !

The control has moved from the advertisers and sellers to consumers.

There was a time when we all read newspapers,

This was the time of mass media,

Advertisers hoped to interrupt the consumers,

Pay attention to their message and buy their products and services,

Then came television , advertising had similar objective ,

To interrupt consumers .

Then everything changed with the advent of internet and the smartphone,

With the smartphone in hand consumers set the agenda .

As data prices fell they became consumers of data.

Now the consumers  visit social media platforms to learn , to get entertained , to get information , to participate in connected communities , to build and be part of tribes.

The control has moved from the advertisers and sellers to consumers.

Stories are consumed because they are entertaining, they inspire .

Humans are naturally wired to listen to stories, share stories.

Good stories are remembered and shared.

Video content is 80% of the traffic on digital.

Visual stories stand out .

Brands need to learn , stop selling and tell stories.

Stop interrupting and focus on entertaining and educating.

Consumers switch off from interruption.

Real stories well told , inspire action,

Stories mean business,

Most important, when data is forgotten in minutes, stories are remembered over the years.

Future of marketing is Storytelling,

Every Brand has a story,

Every Organisation has a story ,

Every Cause has a story,

Every Startup has a story,

Every Leader has a story,

Every Employee has a story ,

Every Client has a story ,

Every Beneficiary has a story,

Every Tribe has a story,

Every Culture has a Story ,

Dig deep and you will find each one of us has a story.

Every story is based on universal human truths.

As humans our desires and fears are similar.

From ‘Here’ to ‘There’ is the most powerful story ever told.

Stop selling, start storytelling.

In the Digital world we are the stories we tell.

HOW BEING VULNERABLE CAN MAKE A BRAND MORE POWERFUL

A brand is like a living person.

It needs to be authentic to build trust.

No person can constantly be winning.

There will be days of struggle , days of failure.

There are moments of truth.

“Always good” is based on untruth.

Trust cannot be built on “Untruth”.

Can a brand be authentic and own up failure, say sorry ?.

Can a Organisational or Person brand share vulnerable moments ?

It’s difficult to be vulnerable. But it builds trust.

I experienced these both at Mastek where I headed Corporate Communications.

Mastek was the first company in the IT industry to give a profit warning ahead of quarterly results.

There was no precedent.

Obvious repercussions were bad press , investor calls .

Yet it emerged more powerful as a transparent and ethical brand.

The next story is of vulnerability.

Ashank Desai the Co Founder had an difficult early childhood.

There was his story of poverty and struggles.

Ashank has shared his story and lessons to inspire youngsters.

This has made him a strong person brand.

Being Vulnerable is strength.

Real heroes are authentic, they also fall.

Yet they get up and fight back.

Make your brand story more powerful.

Tell a authentic story. Be vulnerable.

FACEBOOK HAS LOST THE PLOT

We went to Facebook to check out on our friends and family.

To share our life with friends and family.

Do build deeper bonds.

Or be part of like minded communities and support groups.

It was light , fun global social gathering.

When I go to my feed now I only see content and advertising .

The Al engines have me mapped.

Algorithms throw up content and advertising to keep me hooked.

I see more of the same .

I noticed I hardly see my friends and family posts.

I hardly see my group posts showing up.

Something is wrong.

In the commercial run , Facebook has lost the plot .

The original purpose has vanished.

It’s become huge distraction of content pulling me in .

Whatever happened to the idea of building a social community.

While I do understand the need for monetisation.

Nothing comes for free.

Yet the amount of content and advertising on my feed puts me off.

I only am there now to observe as a marketeer.

No wonder people have switched off from Facebook to other social platforms.

But this game is getting on every social platform slowly.

There is an opportunity to disrupt.

But who can do that.

The platforms have become big , very big and powerful.

Anything that is pure is bought over.

The disruption I see will begin with consumers.

As they find the platforms less and less Tele, they will switch off.

Something new is bound to emerge .

Sanjay Mudnaney

YOU CANNOT CHANGE WORLD VIEWS , CHANGE YOUR STORY

I have been grappling with the insight , it is difficult, maybe impossible to change world views.

I see this in conversations now in school alumni groups and families.

There are two polarising views.

Each sees theirs as being the truth.

Each is trying to change and challenge the other view.

Only it does not change , there is conflict.

I have seen friends leave groups , stop talking to each other.

What is happening is , you cannot change world views , it’s tough, impossible.

Those that hold a view , connect with stories that fit into their world view.

Rather they always held that world view.

Stories tapped into their world view , made it stronger.

Let’s take the world views on for and against vaccination.

Those who are against vaccination hold their world view.

They find stories and research to support their world view.

Similarly Vegans have their world view .

Any story that taps into their world view resonates.

Time and energy to change world views is inefficient.

As a marketeer I would be more efficient telling a story that connects with the world view of the hero of my story.

Rather I don’t tell the story , the story is already told by the customer, I only tap into it.

Steve Jobs understood this .

He understood who the hero of Apple’s story was .

Those that challenged the status quo , those who think different , those that appreciated clean design were the hero of Apple’s brand story.

The campaign ‘Think Different ‘ tapped into this emotion.

The target audience already held the world view.

As a master storyteller Steve Jobs told them the story they wanted to listen to.

Good marketeers tell stories that their customers want to listen to.

And stories have the power to charge world.

Sanjay Mudnaney

WHO IS THE HERO OF YOUR BRAND SYORY ?

I started my career in marketing as a product executive.

AD Narula who was my first boss gave me the appointment letter and said “you are in charge , your neck is on the block”.

And I was truly on my own.

This was my first job.

I had to design and market a computer education product for Chartered Accountants.

Now I don’t have great liking for accounts and here I had to create and sell a product to Chartered accounts.

I did one thing I was good at , listen with ‘empathy’.

I met CAs and asked them their pain.

Accounting was rapidly getting computerised , they were afraid of losing business if they were not ready.

I designed a product to solve their problem and then very clearly communicated the message.

The product was a hit , it surpassed the certified Autodesk course in revenues.

Very early in my career I understood, it is not the organisation or brand that is the hero of the story.

The hero of the story is the customer , always.

This is one big mistake organisations make they focus within, on themselves.

They focus on adding features to make the product better.

You get paid to solve a problem, whether you are in a job or in business.

Who is the hero of your story and what is the problem you are solving in the world?

#marketing #branding

A STORY ON FABRIC

A denim jeans , how can it be any different from any other denim jeans.

The fabric of any denim jeans could be from the same factory.

And then one has a story and puts it on the fabric.

I noticed this story on the inside pocket of my jeans.

This is the story ‘Why’ I wear Levis.

The story of Levis is the story of Wild West and the cowboys.

The story is why we connect with any brand.

Our Story is why people connect with us as brands.

What is Your Brand Story ?

#brandstory

Sanjay Mudnaney

A SMALL BUSINESS STORY

Every business has a story.

I met Renuka after my cycling today , she has a food truck that sells healthy detox juices.

I asked her her story.

Renuka had lost her job of 19 years during the pandemic.

She was managing the CRM at a real estate company.

The business vanished , “we were like white elephants for the company, I was fired after 19 years.” she said.

I did not find any regret in her voice.

Renuka has a charming smile and is a happy person.

I proved her further, why healthy juices .

She said her parents suffer from Parkinson’s and diabetes.

She learnt the benefits of healthy juice detox from her grandmother.

One thing has changed for her after she started the business, she now gets up early at 4 am to make the juices.

“ I was never a early person but all that changed after the job loss” she says.

He food truck is called ‘Naividyam’ which means ‘offering to God’.

She is not just in the business of making juices for her her work of healthy juices is an offering to God.

I made a small video on her story from my mobile phone and shared it on my social media.

There are stories and and stories .

We forget to tap into the power of story to build human connections.

When a brand story integrates with that of the customer magic happens.

Renuka can be just running a food truck selling healthy juices , but she has a story.

The story of her struggle , the story of her food truck , the story around her healthy juices , then the stories around her customer.

We forget to tap into the power of storytelling in business.

Renuka is inspiring, I like her spirit to fight back.

She has no regrets but a lot of hope.

That is the story of every business owner. The story of hope despite the challenges.

Tell your story

Sanjay Mudnaney

#brandstory

http://www.CrowTales.in

7 THINGS I LEARNT FROM GROWTH HACKING FOR A CLIENT

Yesterday my very first client I worked with after I got out from the Corporate world as a marketing strategist and coach hit 5x business.

Yes it feels good even as the pressure now mounts to sustain the momentum.

This is what I learnt from the experience

1. Passion – the client is completely passionate about what he does , he is not just there to make profits but is completely committed to making a difference to the customer segment he serves.

Of course profits are essential to provide world class service but the driver is purpose.

The very first questions every brand and business needs to ask whatever the size maybe – “Why do I exist ? – what will happen if I do not exist ?”

2. Trust – He was my first client when I stepped out from the Corporate world as an marketing entrepreneur and coach.

He trusted me and has stayed the trust for the long run.

Yes there were results at every step but he has completely trusted my calls and the way I guide the sales and digital teams both internal and external.

This is most essential, many clients are impatient and keep second guessing or they keep listening to many voices .

This creates confusion and does not help in staying focused.

In any business it is essential that you focus and if you have a coach might as well listen to him.

Sometimes a good coach may tell you unpleasant things but that is the role. Listen !

3. My Belief – I personally believe in what my client does and that he adds value to his clients. I call this #blessed work .

You get paid for doing good work is what I love. It is meaningful work.

If I as a Coach did not have faith in my clients work and potential I could not have helped produce the growth outcomes.

4. Team – it takes a team to produce outcomes. We have a highly passionate and committed team .

In my work with clients as a Strategist and Coach I work with both internal and external teams. Wherever needed I pull in expertise from my network.

Again the client provided me the space to take my decisions.

A orchestra is as good as every performer.

5. Focus – It is essential to focus and not get distracted.

Being consistent needs a lot of patience and hard work.

The client has stayed the course for long term with sharp focus.

In the digital world Focus and Consistency are the most important keywords.

6. Investing to Delivering the Promise – the client understands the importance of a satisfied client, rather he calls them ‘family’ .

He is consistently investing in people , process technology and innovation to help scale and deliver the service promised.

(many in the competition even copy his innovative protocols)

I do believe that word of mouth is the best marketing.

We are seeing a consistent growth in organic traffic that comes through referrals.

7. Investing in marketing- the client has been consistently investing in both performance and brand marketing.

We have consistently used client member storytelling that is authentic and inspiring.

Your work needs to speak and speak loud. And what better than your own clients telling their stories.

Whenever I wanted to initiate innovative marketing campaigns the the client was willing to back me and invest in the calls.

One more important learning I always carry is , “THE REAL FUN IS IN THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION.”

A good client helps you discover the best within you

Sanjay Mudnaney

http://www.sanjaymudnaney.com

HOW MARKETING CHANGED

When consumers started consuming Entertainment, Brands switched to becoming Entertainment, Storytelling.

As head of marketing , 30 years back , I managed big advertising budgets.

The medium was mass media. Print publications.

What I could control was the communication creative and the print publication I chose for the Ads.

As a marketeer I would hope to interrupt my target audiences.

The same followed with television medium.

Interruption was the game.

The smartphone changed everything.

Price of data dropped.

Consumers took charge of the data they consumed.

Consumers can no longer be interrupted by advertising.

Consumers consume content.

Over 80% of the data consumed is video.

Consumers consume Entertainment, Stories , Information, Education.

When consumers started consuming Entertainment, Brands switched to becoming Entertainment, Storytelling.

Brand Storytelling is the future of marketing.

Products became part of the story, almost like product placement.

One more trend alert – consumers appreciate Brands that are humane are concerned about community not just profits.

Brands will start telling stories of good.

Real stories , that touch the heart.

Below is an example of new #Brand#Storytelling , has 10 million views.

Good stories are remembered , shared.

Watch the Bittu Story . Video, Story , Local , Brand is at demonstration.