SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS HAVE POLARISED/ UNITED OUR WORLD

While in the midst of a worsening pandemic in India I am seeing the worst side and the best side of social media.

In our school alumni group I found there is very strong polarisation for and against political points of views.

This is true globally we saw the same recently in the US . We see different flavours of the same across the world.

The problem gets bad when positions are so strongly held that each is not able to see the other side of the story that the situation reaches a breaking point in long relationships.

And it gets worse with manufactured truth to fit ones world view . The fallout is violence as we saw at the Capitol Hill , it could sow distrust in communities and groups with opposing view points.

Every hour the trends on Twitter change based on the two view points , further adding to bitterness and division.

The hate created is so deep that it has forced platforms to ban certain handles from using their platforms for good.

Is social media responsible for dividing our world?

I remember a time in our early childhood when there was no social media there was lesser polarisation , friendships were not so bitter.

Then again I have not seen any better example of how social media is being used in the worst time during the current pandemic where ordinary people are seeking help and are getting helped by strangers .

Twitter , WhatsApp, Facebook have become a way to reach out and ask for help real time , people who need oxygen or a bed in a hospital or medicines turn to social media.

And they get helped by complete strangers !

Few celebrities have leveraged their social presence to amplify the message of those in need.

Many are using social media to raise funds for oxygen cylinders and concentrator. So many lives have been saved because of social media.

Social media is a double edged sword on the one hand it can divide us as a society on the other hand it can unite the world for good.

Unfortunately politics plays a role , fake news can be easily spread to divide for motives. Those on the edge can be converted with constant visual content.

Interestingly platform algorithms show you more of what you want to see . That is how AI and ML gets smarter. The ultimate objective is to hook you to the platform , to get you spend more time on the platform.

How can we stop hate being spread through social media platforms ? Is there a way out ?

Has social media become a Frankenstein monster that is now difficult to control?

There are no easy answers , there are powerful vested interests.

I would yet say there is enough good about social media which is why it needs to exist . It brings people together, it connects people and hearts .

It is the one thing that has kept us sane in prolonged periods of lockdown.

It is for us the users of social media to keep the balance on the side of good , on the side of humanity and guard against hate and spread love and compassion.

WHY DO WE TELL STORIES?

There is mystery about life and death , that is how we become storytellers.

That we will just vanish one day without a trace seems inexplicable.

From where do we come and where do we go are questions asked since the beginning of time.

There are no answers , it all seems meaningless, after all nothing matters, and to make sense of our existence we tell stories.

In our stories we create religion , we create God.

Nation is a collective story , there are no real boundaries.

Stories make us more secure in an insecure existence.

We create our villains and we create our heroes.

We create the story of what is good and what is bad.

We create stories of success and failures.

We create stories of bravery and valour and of cowardice and treachery

We are ready to live and die for our stories .

We connect with our stories .

Our fears ,our pains , our suffering, our desires our dreams are similar.

They are universal truths.

Below the layers , we are the same , our stories are similar.

We tell stories because that is what we are – Storytellers.

WHEN THERE IS GLOOM, CAN A STORY SPARK HOPE

It was this very question that got me to start Heroes of India YouTube channel.

Global pandemic had been announced.

The world was locked down.

There was uncertainty, gloom.

The storyteller in me wanted to change the narrative.

With stories of hope , of real heroes.

Those who did not walk away.

Those who chose to make a real difference in our world.

I wanted to tell these stories through short films.

Even if I could inspire a few or get a few to support their work.

I would be happy.

But I had no budgets , no experience, no team and it was lockdown.

Excuses.

I used the Nike slogan ‘Just do it’.

I wrote a few mails , support poured in.

The team happened.

The team took on the challenge.

Today we have made 12 short films on YouTube.

Do you believe that the narratives we tell define our life ?

Do you believe the world needs stories of hope?

Do you want to be part of this movement?

If yes, Join me in spreading the stories of good.

Can you help us cross the one thousand subscribers milestone?

Subscribe to https://lnkd.in/dhvZuxP

Are you a content writer, video editor, digital marketeer ?

You can join as volunteer.

Drop me a mail at sanjay@crowtales.in

A STORY MEANS BUSINESS

I took Shaktiman to Chennai and created chaos.

Parle G sales was having a tough time in Chennai.

We decided to take Shaktiman to Chennai.

I had built the first pan India integrated marketing services company with presence in 124 markets.

Parle products was our client.

I knew the power of stories.

I knew that Shaktiman (Mukesh Khanna) was a hero for children.

As a character he stood for good values.

Was aligned to the Brand Story.

We worked on a plan to take him to Chennai.

Kids could meet him at an open ground.

The only condition for entry was cut the newspaper Ad and attach two empty Parle G wrappers.

We did a integrated campaign Ads , school promotions , PR.

On the D day Shaktiman was on stage.

We waited.

We expected a maximum turnout of ten thousand.

The police commissioner was chief guest.

On that day was chaos , over one lakh crowd turned up !

Kids came in school busses.

Each wanted to touch Shaktiman.

Their hero was in front of them.

Parents too wanted to touch him !

Next day front page news in Chennai was Parle G Shaktiman comes to Chennai.

Parle G sales shot up in the South , market share was captured.

A Story can inspire action.

A Story means business.

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

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

BRAND + GOOD = CHANGE

The future of Brand communication is Storytelling for good in the digital world , stories that inspire change , stories that connect with the heart , stories that are passed on .

The world had changed long before the pandemic , it started with internet , networks could connect across the world , I found one school batch mate and then a few more and then most of them . We met again after 35 years ! This was magic , I could find my school St Xaviers batch of 81 Tribe thanks to the internet . We once again bonded and stories came alive , thanks to the internet.

But then one one more change had already happened and that was the launch of apple smart phone , it was a phone , it was a music pod , it was internet all rolled into one . Over time apps were built that allowed for social connections , that allowed tribes of a few to connect . The smart phone was the world literally in our hands.

When people connected , they shared stories , stories of their lives , they listened to stories , stories that made them laugh , stories that inspired them , people shared stories with their friends and their family members . Like a virus pandemic that we see now spreading across the world , stories spread , the word ‘Gone Viral’ was born.

Control Shift

A bigger shift was occurring in the marketing world . Interruption marketing as we knew it was losing it’s grip , mass media , mass media advertising was losing meaning as consumers could no longer be interrupted . They did not want to be interrupted and they had also lost trust in Brands. They had logged off mass media and switched to consuming content on the smart mobile device .

A bigger shift occurred when price of data fell , now there was no restriction on the quantum of content being consumed , more mobile phones , more data being consumed , this was gradually killing interruption marketing .

Shift to Video

No one would have imagined that anyone could own a personal broadcast network and that could be beamed across the world . So long as you had a single viewer that was sufficient. Long tail had arrived. Influencers arrived , they were the new media , they could influence decisions.

As networks improved along with fall in data prices video became the primary data consumption capturing 80% of the data traffic.

Now stories were being told on video and stories were being shared across platforms like YouTube, facebook , Instagram , Linkedin.

Brand Story

Brands saw the shift from mass media to digital , from advertising to entertainment and they started to shift . Brands were now telling stories to capture audience attention , they are entertaining , educating , informing , there is a shift .

Brand for Good

There was another challenge that was faced by Brands , Brand Trust was at an all time low and in the post COVID world this is even more true , consumers expect Brands to be compassionate , they need to move from selling to connecting . These are troubled times where consumers feel the need to be cared and supported . Brands that care are top of the mind of consumers.

Amongst the gloom and doom consumers are looking for stories of good , stories of hope . Brands need to connect with stories of good .

Time for Good Stories

As head of social responsibility and Co-Founder of Mastek Foundation, I could see that there was a gap between doing good , philanthropy and business purpose . Now they all come together . They are not different divisions . Thankfully I wore both the the hats , head of marketing communications and head of Corporate Social Responsibility. I saw this change early.

When I combined the idea of students working on projects to build IT solutions for social sector with mentoring from Mastek employees I found I was building a strong employer Brand Story.

The Future

The future of Brand communication is Storytelling for good in the digital world , stories that inspire change , stories that connect with the heart , stories that are passed on . These would be stories told through visual mediums. There are so many good stories to be told.

Brands exist for a purpose and it is time to tell those stories . Every Brand has its own broadcast channel , its time to put the switch the channel on.

I am now on a mission to connect Brands with Good through Storytelling on good in the digital world.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Founder http://www.crowtails.in

Founder http://www.brandforgood.in