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.

PUT YOUR EXCUSES ON HOLD

The cage is fictional, there is none , we create our imaginary cage .

The day I understood this I experienced freedom.

When you put your excuses on hold the other side is joy.

In school and then college I was always on the stage participating in elocutions and debates.

I loved the stage and the audience in front of me.

When I would be on stage I would be in a zone.

I loved to communicate ideas , enrol and inspire audiences.

I could get those around me find their expression and express more fully.

But then life happened. I put myself on hold.

There were more important things to do.

“I will do it some other day in the future” I said “when the kids are grown up , when I have enough money in the bank , when I am well settled.”

I kept postponing my dreams to the future.

Then I turned 50 and it occurred to me I have finite time.

One day I made a bucket list and I jumped head on.

I wanted to sing , I went ahead and recorded my first song in a studio. It’s there on YouTube.

My first song recorded in studio

I bought myself a professional home studio equipment , now I sing whenever I feel like.

I wanted to cycle . I was warned it is risky and this is not my age .

I went ahead and bought a cycle , I invested in the best I could.

I am now a cyclist, I cycle every day , weekends is for long distance.

When I cycle , it’s just me and the wind on my face , I can feel the freedom.

I wanted to see the stars I went ahead and bought a professional telescope.

That experience of watching the planets was surreal.

Felt the vastness and being one with existence , limitless.

I wanted to write a fiction story book . I did that and self published it . It’s on Amazon .

I got my first royalty check , felt good.

I wanted to teach non profits the art of fundraising with storytelling.

I travelled to five cities and over 500 non profits in India attended my workshops !

I always wanted to start my business.

I kept postponing afraid of the unknown.

I finally jumped in at 55 !

It is profitable and growing.

But more importantly I am doing what I always loved to do , helping individuals , businesses and causes express themselves fully . Live their potential.

I wanted to tell stories of good through films . I had no experience, no team and zero budgets.

One fine day I just decided I will do it . And that too during peak lockdown !

In a few months we have made over 10 short documentary films .

Launched the YouTube channel’Heroes of India’.

We now release two films a month.

I wanted to camp next to a waterfall overnight in heavy rains.

Camping next to a waterfall

I did that , the sound of the water splashing against the rocks and tapping of raindrops was out of the world experience.

From a typical corporate formal life , no fun wardrobe and look , I decided to just be myself.

A small step but one more step in the direction of freedom.

I love being myself

When I stopped my excuses , I truly found my joy.

Have to do it for pay check was an excuse.

Have responsibilities was an excuse.

What will others think was an excuse.

I cannot do it was an excuse.

I am not capable was an excuse.

I will do it sometime in the future was an excuse.

Excuses kept me safe in my comfort zones.

We have reasons , many excuses, why we postpone life.

We make up by trying to live on the weekends.

We trade our joy with a cage.

Sometimes the cage is golden. Yet is after all a cage.

When I look deeply there was no cage , it is all our own creation.

Now I have stopped all excuses , I have started living every day , every moment.

I have no regrets as every step of the journey has been a learning experience.

I refuse to die with my song in my heart.

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

P.S – Passion project is a message, life is finite , don’t die with your song in your heart

THIS IS THE FUTURE OF MARKETING

Post pandemic average time people spend on their smartphones has gone up by 25%.

80% of the traffic in the digital world is video.

Consumers have switched off from interruption advertising .

They consume content.

Visual content is what is consumed.

A well told Story is consumed , touches the heart , entertains , educates is shared can go viral in the digital world.

Brand Storytelling is engaging your consumers , pulling them into the story with visual storytelling.

The Brand is not the story.

The Brand is part of the story.

Think of it as intelligent product placement in a film.

Consumers are more conscious of Brands they consume.

They connect with Brands that care about their environment, communities and people.

Brands that tell stories of good build a positive brand perception.

The future of marketing is Brand Storytelling.

The future of Brand Storytelling is Digital , Visual , Local language visual storytelling .

Brands that tell stories of good, connect with the heart.

The Brand and Social Responsibility departments in an organisations are different , managed by different teams.

Having worked both as head of marketing and head of social responsibility in a global IT company I see a great possibility to build a bridge.

I see a great opportunity for coming together of Brands and Good to make a positive impact in our world.

Visual Brand Storytelling will connect Brands and Good.

Stories of good are watched , remembered and they are shared.

Because we all want to share HOPE .

In a world filled with gloom consumers seek Brands with empathy.

The future of marketing is GOOD.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Founder http://www.CrowTales.in a Brand Storytelling Company

Founder Heroes of India http://www.YouTube.com/heroesofindia

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

BRAND AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The outcomes of Project Deep blue indicate that is possible to align Brand purpose with CSR .

Mastek an IT solutions company wanted to build its employer brand in the campus , it suffered a low brand recall. Mastek is a global IT solutions company with a unique people culture and high social conscience. We needed to communicate this brand message at the campus. The traditional route would be sponsorships of campus events but there fear was getting lost in the noise.  

Project Deep Blue was designed as a campus contest which would connect social sector , students , employees and the brand Mastek. Students had to solve real problems of the social sector through IT solutions. The students would be mentored by Mastek employees. The project was not superficial and needed 4 months of intense interaction and working as a team.

Through the process of participating in Project deep Blue students experienced 1. The unique people culture of Mastek as they interacted with Mastek mentors 2. They gained real life experience of solving social sector problems 3. They were exposed to subjects like design thinking and building IT solutions from experts at Mastek.

The result was that in the 4th edition of Project Deep Blue over 800 student teams participated in the contest ,a strong brand recall as a socially conscious organisation and a IT solutions company has been built at the campus and most important the unique people culture was experienced by the students in interaction with mentors. Mastek mentors too gained by engaging and learning from fresh out of the box thinking of students. The social sector gained with out of the box IT solutions developed by the young students. Mastek gained by instantly recruiting the best talent.

The outcomes of Project Deep blue indicate that is possible to align Brand purpose with CSR . I am of the opinion that in the digital world telling Brand stories around CSR would help build Brand Trust and align CSR with business. What are your thoughts ?

Check out the video of contestant feedback on Project Deep Blue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyulIb_3ID0&list=PLWpXLvyorqav3B0O21rHTHUDj0YNmrVmm