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

HOW BSR COACH GOT 1 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS IN ONE YEAR

Nithya Shanti a close friend had organised a session with BSR Coach a highly successful YouTuber . As a marketeer I am always keen to learn and took up this opportunity.

BSR started making YouTube videos because he was not confident and came from a vernacular medium school. This was his way of getting over that fear of speaking . He started with a goal of making 365 videos on YouTube.

Prior to 2018 BSR had made over 120 videos with fewer than 3000 subscribers on YouTube . He felt demotivated and gave up . He stopped making YouTube videos.

It so happened that he was called for Josh Talks ( equivalent of Ted Talk in India ) to share his experience on succeeding with speaking English. This video garnered over 5 million views. He was surprised. He analysed and understood what he was doing wrong .

He found that lot of people were interested in this content around succeeding with learning English . That was his first lesson . Below are few of the lessons shared by BSR that could be used to any YouTuber to grow a million subscribers.

1. Make content that is being watched , not content you think they like : It is easy to find the content that is being watched by audiences. Do a simple YouTube search . You need to focus on what is already working and watched.

Broaden your audience first before going narrow. If you want to target those with Heart disease take up all chronic health conditions that are being watched along with the narrow focus .

2. Watch time is important: Earlier he would make short videos and that was a big mistake . He realised that algorithms of YouTube looked for watch time and those videos were thrown up to audiences. From 3-4 minute videos he shifted to videos that were above 9 minutes.

3. Consistency : for past one year he has been consistently sharing his videos every Tuesday and Friday at 4 pm . He realised that the YouTube algorithm looks for consistency of sharing, also the audiences get used to the frequency and they expect the video.

4. Time : He found two time slots work for his audience 1. 6 am ( people have some time in the morning) 2. 4 pm ( evening break from work) .

5. Thumbnail: He understood that thumbnail plays the most crucial role . It is not the quality of video but the quality of Thumbnail that is essential. He found colours like Yellow and Red got attention . He recommends text occupy over 80 % of the space of the Thumbnail.

6. Title: This is next in importance , he studies titles that are working on the subject he would take up and puts up those titles and at times he would even copy titles . ‘How to’ , ‘Tips ‘ , ‘Secret of’ , are great title words used in title searches.

7.Language : He found that Hindi language has a far bigger audience and reaches masses rather than English which has a much smaller reach in India . He is clear he wants to reach masses so he uses Hindi more than English.

8. Give freely : He does not mind sharing freely, he is not bothered about anyone copying his content.

9. Negative Comments : He does not bother about negative comments and let’s them be . At first he would get demotivated now he is got used to it .

10. CTA : He has learnt that audiences need to be reminded to subscribe and he does that at the beginning and at the end . “Tell your audiences what they need to do maybe it is to join a program , have clear CTA .” he says .

11. YouTube live : He does long format YouTube live workshops with thousands attending. This also gives him longer watch time.

VIEWS and WATCH TIME are two most important parameters according to him to drive subscribers. One doesn’t need the best equipment and invest a lot of money to be a successful YouTuber he says .

He says all videos will not go viral and there is no way of knowing which will but a few that do go viral will add maximum subscribers. So consistency is important .

Organic way is the best way to increase views and subscribers he says . I have seen his sessions and I must confess that BSR is highly passionate about what he does and this is reflected in his session.

Thank You BSR Coach for sharing freely your success as a YouTuber and Nithya for organising this . May you inspire many more .

If BSR can achieve 1 million subscribers in one year through his dedicated focus and hard work, so can anyone if you pick up the best practices. Begin now and be consistent, no excuses.

P. S – Please do subscribe to the the BSR Coach YouTube channel

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

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

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