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.

HOW PUBLIC RELATIONS HAS CHANGED

The intermediary is no longer relevant to get your message out.

What you need is a platform that has your target audiences. In PR terms stakeholders.

In my early days as Head of Corporate Communications I would do media rounds.

I had to build what was called Media Relations.

‘Reputation’ is one of the most critical assets for an organisation.

Negative media coverage could damage reputation with serious repercussions.

A positive Brand image with stakeholders was essential for business.

And thus intermediary media played an important role.

The media was more accessible to large organisations.

Media coverage by a third party was more believable than advertising.

The world has changed.

1. The intermediary has been replaced by digital platforms.

2. Digital platforms are accessible to anyone, even a one person business.

3. You can get your voice heard , anyone can on digital platforms.

4. The new Digital media has given a rise to a new breed – The influencers.

5. The control has shifted to the consumers, they decide the content they consume.

6. Content is consumed Digitally , mostly on mobile.

7. Digital media is on 24×7.

8. Reputations can be built and damaged rapidly .

9. A newspaper article can get dated , forgotten. On Digital media every thing that is out there stays , forever.

10. Online Feedback and Review is a powerful tool for customers to voice their opinion on Brands , Products and Services.

11. You can build Brand presence by being strategic and consistent .

12. In the Digital world 80% of the content consumed is video.

13. Audiences have switched off from interruption marketing.

14. In the Digital world audiences consume Entertainment, Stories , Information, Education.

15. In the Digital world it is easy to measure impact unlike traditional print media PR .

With these changes Traditional PR agencies are no longer relevant.

Traditional Advertising agencies are no longer relevant.

Traditional Corporate Communications is no longer relevant.

Reinventing needs a mindset shift.

It is not just a title and role change.

I have been helping small businesses to build their Brand presence with good success.

The direct outcome is Business besides building long term brand.

I find many large organisations are slow to move .

What is stopping change is being in comfort zones .

Guarding the turf , surviving will no longer sustain. Sooner or later your game is up.

The time to change is NOW. What is your opinion?

Sanjay Mudnaney

Marketing Strategist

HOW IS INTUITION RELEVANT IN MARKETING ?

Data and I have not been on the best of terms . I have been told I operate from my gut 🙂 I am anecdotal.

Gandhi has been one of my marketing inspirations ! ( you will know why later in the post )

Heading sales teams I always leaned on gut feeling to turn around loss making businesses.

I observe , almost like a fly on the wall.

I saw the sales team focused on targets rather than the person in front of them.

I took away the money target and set a friendship target for my sales team .

“Make a friend” I said. And things turned.

I am fascinated by human interactions and I can get into the shoes of those I observe , literally.

Many of the actions I took to choose a particular direction were from gut feel .

They turned right , saved time.

Intuition is that feeling in the gut that nudges you to move in a direction.

Sometimes it is the warning of a change that is about to happen.

As a marketeer with over 30+ years in the field I would have encountered many situations.

They are stored in subconscious mind.

I believe it is this subconscious mind at play along with the creative side of the brain.

Observing that which is not even yet expressed by a consumer as they have no reference point is what my strength has been.

Steve jobs is an example of an marketeer who operated from intuition .

He said “I began to realise that an intuitive understanding and consciousness was more significant than abstract thinking and intellectual logical analysis.”

What could be the reference for an iPod ? or an iphone ?

The story of Dmart an India version of Walmart unfolds with observation of how women in urban India shopped.

Every grocery (kirana) store in India had incidentally a man on the counter and he knew the entire family and their purchase history.

These kirana owners have a super computer stored in their brain.

They remember every member of the family and also what each one prefers.

When my wife calls her local kirana store owner he recognises her with just voice .

He knows her purchase needs even before she would tell him.

This is the reason new generation of Indian women from traditional joint family homes would prefer to remain anonymous while they shop freely.

A kirana store owner is a threat to that privacy of shopping.

That is the secret sauce of Dmart , women and men get to shop freely anonymously without a sales man or woman hovering over you.

You are left to take your time while shopping.

This is freedom for the women from traditional joint family homes in India .

It also helps to cut costs for Dmart.

They recruit a few employees and they are local , from the lower income strata . There is another story on why they do this .

This is pure observation the founder got by visiting kirana stores. No data , no market research. Pure old school observation and hunch.

I heard him speak about this and why he does not consider data based research in his decisions.

Similarly there was the Liril soap AD where a young woman is bathing under the waterfall, having fun in a bikini.

Alyque had this observation of changing times and women in India seeking time for self , having fun , being liberated from tradition.

There was simply no reference in all the cases , no data to back.

I belong to the school of marketeers who has strong observation, empathy and intuition.

It helps me and my clients cut time with innovations.

Many times I have taken calls contrary to data because simply there is no reference point.

Any new creation or idea would not have a reference for how consumers would behave.

Gandhi used ‘non violent resistance’ as a way to fight colonial occupation.

He could mobilise masses and let the British with little room to counter such an agitation.

It was called Satyagraha (fighting for the truth).

This was a brilliant marketing strategy and had no reference from the past.

All struggles had been violent till then.

Gandhi was a great observer and he had strong intuition.

Every leader and innovator has this quality of operating from intuition and taking what is calculated risks.

Is there a way to build intuition? Or is it a gift ?

I feel everyone has this natural capability, we lose it by

1. Not being open

2. Not trusting our gut feel

3. Not taking calculated risks

We restrict possibilities by being closed . I have trusted intuition in my marketing.

What is your opinion?

Sanjay Mudnaney

http://www.CrowTales.in

WHEN EVERYONE IS SELLING , TELL A STORY

We get on any social media platform and we find it filled with Advertising.

Everyone seems to be selling something.

We are identified by various data points stored on us by the platform, maybe thousands , some even we may not be aware of.

The trail we leave behind on the digital world is monitored.

Algorithms try figure out what we are most likely to buy.

And the advertisements show up on our feeds.

This is interruption . We switch off.

We don’t come to social media to buy. We come because of our reasons.

It gets irritating, annoying at times .

Like a street Bazar with many stalls each of them tries to grab our attention.

Except we did not plan to come to a Bazar.

Grabbing Attention is critical , there are so many advertisements that throw up .

The algorithms and machine learning are always learning to read our minds.

“What are we most likely to buy” is the key question being asked by the platform.

This is their monetisation model . Nothing comes for free .

The term digital marketeers use is performance marketing. Digital Marketing that drives business and can be measured.

Interruption marketing has now moved from physical to digital world.

The conflict is consumers have a different reason to visit social media platforms .

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

With the smartphone in hand consumers set the agenda .

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 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 .

Because the control has shifted and consumers switch off from interruption.

Real stories well told , inspire, build trust, touch the heart.

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

Future of marketing is Storytelling in the Digital world.

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 an you will find each one of us has a story and our stories are common.

As humans our desires and fears are similar.

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

Stories well told can inspire action , build tribes.

Stop selling, start storytelling.

In the Digital world we are the stories we tell.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Founder at http://www.CrowTales.in

Brand Storytellers

DROP YOUR AGENDA TO FULFIL YOUR AGENDA!

I have been reflecting on the subject ‘What is the concept of business and why does all commerce exist ?”.

If we look around most of the time of the human race in the world as we see today revolves around the idea of ‘Money’ .

‘Money’ is central to everything, things we can buy , things we can experience, status , power even health services we can access with money.

Either you are a seller or you are a buyer as an individual or as a collective called the organisation.

Employees sell their time and expertise to organisations , organisations sell services , expertise or products to the masses .

Central to every transaction is “Exchange’ and if we dig deeper there is the concept ‘Perceived Value’.

When you dig deeper there you find there is ‘Agenda’ . “Why do we do anything?” . Every human being at any given point has an agenda.

Why do you do a job , why do you run a business, why do your customers buy . There is an agenda .

The agenda is always about ‘Me’ , break it down people are interested in ‘Self’ . No one is interested in the ‘other’ .

This is an interesting contradiction, all the while when any exchange is happening there are two parties and there is an ‘Agenda’ .

Even every noble cause has an Agenda , religion also has an Agenda.

‘Getting’ and Giving’ are two sides of the agenda . And there is fair exchange.

Agenda of Individuals

1. Survive : pay the bills , stay healthy

2. Thrive : fulfil desires

3. Fame : Get recognised and liked

4. Belong : family , friends, community

5. Contribute : Individual talent that is valued in the world , make a difference

6. Spiritual : ( a false belief , those who truly understand would know the falsehood of ego at play ) Going Beyond self

Agenda of Organisations

1. Maximise Profits and returns for stakeholders ethically

2. Consistently Grow in a profitable way

3. Survive through difficult times

4. Solve a problem in the world

How is this useful ?

Whether it is individuals or organisations they have THEIR OWN AGENDAS.

Yet the interesting part is is to fulfil Your own Agenda , you need to fulfil the Agenda of others – whether individuals or organisations!

It is in this space that VALUE Exchange happens. The question individuals and organisations ask is

“What is the Agenda being fulfilled and what the value they get so what is the value they they are willing to pay for”

Naturally low the perceived value , lower the pay.

Perception is not just the quality and quantity of service and product delivered but a more complex equation of how it is seen in the mind . Perceptions are held in the mind . A label can decide the value . It has to do with emotions. The shoes may come from the same factory but add a label and Value jumps . It’s fulfilling an higher agenda of being seen and liked .

Money is nothing but an exchange measure of the perceived Value delivered .

Where things go wrong is when individuals and organisations focus on personal agendas . No one is interested in YOUR AGENDA.

Do you hear these statements

“I want to grow a million subscribers”

“This year we will make a record sale”

“I want to change the world”

No one is interested in your agenda . Full Stop .

The other place things go wrong is when there is safe play . Playing safe you become a commodity. And commodity will be replaced sooner or later with something or someone cheaper .

When organisations become ‘Me To’ and offer commodities the only way to survive is by offering the lowest price.

The way to Thrive with Your Agenda then is

1. Fulfil the agenda of others – solve a problem for clients , customers , employer , donor

2. Be valuable – Don’t follow the crowd , Stand out , be different, be rare , be authentic

IN THE WORLD OF MEMES AND VIRAL VIDEOS – PR CHANGED

It is a cliche to say PR has changed, we all know that . Internet and smart phones with low data costs changed not only how we consume news and views but what we consume.

Today we use our smart phones for entertainment , education , information, shopping , booking cabs , flights , hotels , food delivery , making payments.. and the list is long . It’s one device that our world revolves around.

And then the pandemic hit us. almost overnight we had to sit at home , locked down . It was this device that saved us , kept us sane , we stayed connected with friends, family , and news around the world .

As the intermediary print media disappeared in the lockdown , the change which was gradual got accelerated. Advertising money moved from print to social media.

The big shifts I have experienced working with clients and also co founding a digital startup that will continue in the future are as follows

1. The Intermediary is less relevant : Earlier organisations would chase media (journalists) , today every organisations can broadcast directly to its audiences. Social media has democratised content production. Anyone can be a broadcaster.

2. Journalists move to organisations: Journalists have a knack for news and storytelling , as jobs become scarce in traditional print media journalists moved to organisations in communications and content writing to tell stories on the digital media.

3. Content becomes Visual : 80% of the traffic online is video content as consumers shift to being entertained on social platforms. Visual storytelling will become greatly in demand in times ahead.

4. Influencers are the new intermediaries : Brands are chasing influencers on social media as they have a fan following which can be leveraged and the association also endorses the brand.

5. 24×7 On the Edge the story of a crisis : As there are advantages of being able to broadcast online there is also the other side , a negative side, in a polarised world news will spread rapidly and can damage the brand overnight . In this scenario reputation management takes a different meaning .

6. Storytelling takes centre stage : Consumers and stakeholders consume content and Brands will become storytellers. Every organisation has stories, stories of the founder , organisation , culture, people , clients and community. The future of PR is storytelling in the digital world.

7. Brands and good : Consumers , clients and employees are increasingly looking at brands to support good in communities . Brands and good will connect with stories of good told in the digital world.

8. Leadership needs to be visible: Leaders need to be visible , vocal and demonstrate character by taking a stand for what is right for their people , clients , community and our planet. Leaders that leverage the social media create a positive brand voice. The social media is also going to be a listening platform for leaders .

9. Leverage social media to build Tribes : Organisations and Brands can build Tribes on social media and engage them . PR is no longer just talking but a two way communication, it is building a community around the brand.

In the very early days of social media I had built an alumni and employees community at a leading Indian IT company on social media . We kept the community engaged with the organisation and it turned out to be the best brand ambassador and PR for the organisation.

I have started seeing many PR agencies aiming to reinvent themselves by training their staff in digital communication but this change is more deeper .

It is a shift that needs understanding of consumer behaviour in the digital world combined with good storytelling.

The digital world offers a level playing field , disruptions can happen overnight. The future is going to be exciting and an adventure for digital PR .

As a communicator I am looking forward to the changes, are you?

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

http://www.CrowTales.in

STORIES MEAN BUSINESS

Our story begins at Starbucks where two storytellers met over a cup of coffee.

and the journey of storytelling began .

We saw gloom in our world, and we started telling stories of good , of real Heroes, their life , their struggle, their impact , their message, because we believe stories of good need to be told . http://www.YouTube.Com/heroesofindia

As storytellers, we tell stories because every story inspires us .

We see stories in organisations, brands , causes , people.

Organisations need to tell their stories,
because stories are remembered,
stories are shared ,
stories are passed on ,
stories touch the heart,
and inspire people to take action .

Tell your stories because,
organisation cultures are built around stories ,
your employees have stories of you ,
your customers have stories of you,
your partners have stories of you,
your community has stories of you.

A brand is built with stories.

Stories mean business.

In the digital world we are the stories we tell.

Are you telling your brand story ?

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

http://www.YouTube.Com/CrowTales

STORYTELLING AT STARBUCKS

I have been a Starbucks fan , hardly does a day go by that I have not visited a Starbucks caffe to have my favourite cup of coffee.

I do not visit Starbucks to just for the coffee but I go there because there is something special about the space. I love the vibrant energy of Starbucks and my ‘me time’.

Starbucks is my space between home and office . I go there to read , work , learn , meet friends and reflect . The baristas know me , they know the drink I like to have , feels like I belong.

Starbucks Hiranandani, Powai

When I travel I search for a Starbucks near me because in an unknown place it gives me the feeling of being home , in the familiar surroundings, the same energy, the same experience of ‘me time’.

Last week my favourite barista asked me to do a coffee tasting session and then she shared with me the story of coffee. After years of being a coffee and Starbucks addict I did not know the history of coffee.

It seems the story dates back to a village in Ethiopia where a shepherd one day saw his goats happy and dancing with joy , he was curious, they were eating leaves from a tree . He took some of the leaves back home boiled it in water and had the drink, he felt energetic. And that is how the story of coffee began .

Later the story goes Sufi monks would use it to stay alert while meditating so they did not fall asleep. And the coffee culture spread across the world.

That day my connection to coffee and Starbucks deepened , there are many personal stories I have around Starbucks , now I had a story around coffee!

Stories can get you hooked , now when I drink coffee at Starbucks there is another dimension the story of happy goats . It does bring cheer.

Brands can use storytelling to build strong bonds with their customers and I had witnessed just that with this story of coffee that was told by a Starbucks barista .

Are you telling stories around your brand?

Sanjay Mudnaney

#storytelker #passionproject

EMPLOYER BRANDING WITH STORYTELLING MY LESSONS AT MASTEK

Organisation cultures are built around stories. When tribes gather they tell stories and some stories are passed down over generations.

At Mastek an IT company I headed Corporate Communications there were many such stories. How the founders who studied together at IIM and went on to build an iconic global Indian IT company was a story . All the founders were first generation entrepreneurs made this story even more interesting.

One of the founders Ashank Desai came from a humble background, his early childhood was in a village and he lost his father at the age of three. His struggles to reach IIT is a story and then build one of India’s leading IT company is a story.

As a communicator all this was a treasure mine for me to build the brand around stories and there were many. I never lost an opportunity to tell a story.

I saw Mastek as a tribe and we even made a anthem for the tribe that has been passed down the generations, even now every Mastekeer gets goosebumps when they hear the anthem because it captures the spirit of the organisation.

Every client and project is a story of two partners coming together to dance , there are so many hidden stories. I loved digging these stories because these stories spoke about values , one of the client statements I remember even now “I know there will be problems , but I know that I can trust Mastek to deliver.” And I captured these stories in films.

I was also heading CSR and one of my KRAs was to engage employees with the communities . Again I did this through storytelling, every nonprofit we partnered with had stories , stories of beneficiaries , stories of founders and every story was inspiring.

I initiated the Spirit of Mastek award and called the social sector leaders Dr Prakash Amte , Dr Abhay Bang , Girish Kulkarni , Dr Ashish Satav , Adhik Kadam and many more to share their stories with employees . Their stories were inspiring, each one of them got a standing ovation . We moved our voluntary payroll giving from 35% to 90% . In a survey with employees Mastek was seen as being highly socially conscious organisation.

Recently during the pandemic I organised an online fundraiser for migrants who were impacted and made a theme song “Naya Savera” (a new beginning which has over thirty five thousand views on YouTube) and we raised over rupees seventy five lakhs for the cause.

When I had to build the Employer Brand in the campus , I got the campus students to deeply engaged in the story of Mastek and social good . The idea that has grown over the years ‘Project Deep Blue’ gets students to solve real problems for nonprofits with IT solutions and they are mentored by the employees. This has built a lasting employer brand in the campus .

I told the stories through film ,many of them are on YouTube. I started a alumni network on Facebook almost a decade back again to share stories with the most powerful brand ambassadors, ex-employees. In one of the films I did with employees I had a sound bite “Once a Mastekeer , always a Mastekeer” and it has stayed as a powerful employer brand line.

An organisation is nothing but a tribe coming together with a vision to solve a problem. And tribes grow stronger with stories and when their stories spread they attract those that connect with the stories.

Employees , Customers, Vendors , Community , Investors connect with strong stories, because whatever maybe the business you are in you finally deal with humans and humans connect with stories.

The digital world offers a great opportunity for organisations to build their brand with storytelling. There needs to be a strong understanding of storytelling and the digital world . From what I see there is a lot more to be done.

And that is why I built a storytelling company because I am a storyteller and I love telling stories and I understand the digital world .

Digital Storytelling Company I founded

The future of employer branding as I see it is authentic storytelling, I see it as the future of brands because we have all become content / story consumers and we consume and share stories in the digital world that touch our hearts .

I see brands and good come together to tell stories of good , stories of hope , stories of empathy. It is these stories that the world needs.

Welcome to the world of stories. Are you telling your brand stories?

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

http://www.CrowTales.in

HOW PR HAS CHANGED

Traditionally news and views covered by media influenced public opinion which was largely print followed by television .

Today public opinions are formed on social media and the action is rapid . All stakeholders, clients , employees , shareholders , prospective clients , prospective employees, community are now spending a lot more time in the digital world.

It is easy today for almost anyone to become a broadcaster and not depend on the intermediary news channels to carry their story.

Similarly it is easy for stakeholders to get their voice heard and spread on social media .

This is reputation on the edge 24×7 , before you know it news can get viral and damage brand reputation.

Mass media has been replaced with intelligent targeted media communication on social media . One can build engage and convert tribes to fans.

Digital reputation is built around Good authentic Storytelling aligned to the brand message.

Educating , Inspiring and Informing your tribes on social media is all the more essential today.

Most of the content consumption on the internet, almost 80% is video content .

Is PR ready for this change ? Having led Corporate Communications in a leading IT company and then at a startup I founded , I noticed agencies struggle to understand the new medium.

At Crow Tales the digital storytelling company I co founded , we could build brand reputation for our clients and also help them drive business with authentic visual storytelling and education.

This change is not about just adding digital as a division or recruiting a digital marketing team but completely rethinking PR in the age of fake news and deep polarisation.

There is a shift of public opinion favouring more humane organisations, sensitised to sustainability and community issues .

Consumers are more inclined to reward organisations that have profit with purpose at their heart and do meaningful business.

For example how Organisations acted in times of COVID reflects on how public would see them going ahead . How they treated their employees, partners and how they supported the community in these most difficult times will definite their character.

It is time for Brands to tell stories of hope , of a better future by connecting with stories of good .

As a digital storyteller I am excited about the future of marketing and PR are you ?

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject