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.

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 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

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