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

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

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

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

OVER ONE MILLION SUBSCRIBERS IN ONE AND HALF YEARS ON YOUTUBE – AND SHE DID NOT CHASE SUBSCRIBERS!

Subscribers vs Views what must one chase on YouTube? Let us understand this from the case study of Rachana Ranade who crossed one million subscribers I just one and half years without chasing subscribers. So what did she do right ?

I subscribe to over fifty YouTube channels, but the real estate on my phone is just 5.8’ in, so what should YouTube show on my smart phone home screen when I log in ?

This is the challenge for any platform algorithm. The logic says show what the audience watches so they keep coming back .

That would be the objective of any platform- to ‘GROW AND KEEP THE AUDIENCE HOOKED’.

In this post let me take the case study of CA Rachana Ranade an financial YouTube influencer who has been a huge hit , in a short period of just one and half years she garnered over one million subscribers. She is the top female financial YouTuber in the world.

She got there by not chasing subscribers.

So what did she do to get there ?

To begin with she is an expert on her subject , she is a CA and she had been teaching for over 9 years when she began her YT channel . Also her style of teaching simplified the complex world of finance so it would appeal to the masses.

What else do we learn from Rachana

1. She has defined her audience well – her audience is anyone in India who wants to invest in stock markets , her audience is masses .

2. She understood what her audience wants – she simplified investing in stock markets . She identifies the topics that her audience is interested in watching , she adds value to her audience . Her team does extensive research before she selects the topics on which to make videos.

3. Quality videos- each of her videos is well researched , simple yet highly informative and well shot . Most people who watch her videos watch the full length of the video so she gets good watch time which is essential for algorithms .

4. Click Baity Thumbnails and titles – each one of her thumbnails is well researched and gets her audience hooked to watch further . She would have good CTR .

5. Consistent – she has been consistent with her content over the year . Always innovating .

6. Authentic- she is completely passionate about what she does ‘financial education of the masses on stock investing’ , and she has her own style of simplifying the complex world of finance.

7. No Sales – she does not sell anything, she does not give tips , she does not ever show biases , she is completely in the giving mode . She genuinely wants to educate as she says “I am a CA and I am a teacher and I am proud about that” . Yes her audience buys her course but that is not her aim of the video blog . She is building the most important asset ‘Trust’ with her audience.

She understood that The objective of any platform is – “to get more audiences spend more time on the platform.” Full Stop.

She did not chase subscribers. But she chased making good quality content , that is valuable to her target audience , she is chased watch time and she is constantly optimising her Thumbnails and Titles as she knows that the real estate on YouTube is cluttered and her videos need to stand out .

She knows her success on YouTube is as good as her videos , views , likes and comments she knows that YouTube does not automatically show her videos to every subscriber and she knows her subscribers have a choice to watch hundreds and thousands of other videos.

As she says “It is 99% hard work and 1% luck.” and she has completely 100% dedicated time to her YouTube channel.

CTR and watch time are two important metrics to measure for YouTube content creators.

She knows she has a small window of opportunity to show up on the home page of her audience and to get audience to click her videos out of the dozens they see and that the videos on home page are a tip of the tip of an iceberg.

Is there any another way ?

Yes create your own platform and get your audience to subscribe. It could be to your blog or email which will keep them on the latest videos released.

There is another option . Get your audience to click the notification button.

What we learn from Rachna is don’t chase subscribers, chase quality content that is watched in a field where you are an expert and passionate about and keep at it day in and day out . Also don’t forget click baity thumbnails and titles as you need to stand out from the crowd .

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

BE YOU , BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS TAKEN

Be you,everyone else is taken. This one step can be liberating.

We are obsessed with what others think of us. We want to be liked, famous and approved. We seek attention because that makes us feel important.

We can easily be put down with unkind words and picked up if appreciated.

In organisations there is a game , it is called “What will the boss think” and yes it’s important because the boss decides the future growth within the organisation or so we think.

We seek approval of our peers because it makes us feel important and we want to belong.

Social media feeds on the inherent human desire to be liked so we post and then look back to check likes and comments.

This wanting to be liked , approved , appreciated, creates a unseen pressure and ties down our freedom , freedom to be who we are .

Freedom comes from being authentic, confident in our own skin , not wanting to be like anyone , not being a copy.

And then we have the rebels, who also are trying to project an identity of being different, rebels . Yet there is the pressure of hold an identity that is not authentic.

What if you could just drop your wanting to be like someone else , anyone else or seeking approval.

There is a famous Hindi film song in India ‘Kuch to log kahenge , logon ka kam hai kehena‘ ( people will always say something, that is their job). And you can never please everyone.

What if you can ignore what others think , and you truly can , just try it now , drop the baggage of wanting approval , and see how it feels.

Do your stuff , rock your boat , be different, be you because you are made different.

Each one of us is unique, and there is no one else like us anywhere in the world. We have our own unique gifts .

What applies to individuals applies to organisations . There is a unique story of each organisation. ‘Why’ it exists. Find that why and live that why.

Carrying an image that is not you is stressful, being authentic is liberating. And when you are genuinely authentic it reflects and you stand out. Not because you want to be liked but because you are who you are , different.

I found being authentic truly liberating experience, I blog because I want to , I express what I want to , I cycle, I sing , I create because that is who I am , I love to create , build on new ideas , grow business, mentor individuals and business to play to potential . This makes me happy.

What will others think stops people from taking the first step , from living their dreams . And it is not worth it , no point with dying with your dream in your heart.

Be YOU because everyone else is taken.

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

EVERY ORGANISATION HAS MANY STORIES , TELL YOUR STORIES

Organisation cultures are built around stories,
founders have stories,
organisations have stories,
employees have stories,
clients have stories
communities you work in have stories,
there are stories around work you do , impact you make in the world.

Tell your stories , because stories cut through communication clutter , stories touch hearts , stories are remembered and stories are passed on .

Stories mean business.
Organisations don’t buy , people buy and people buy stories they connect with .

Leaders tell stories, stories that inspire change , start a movement.

In the digital world, you control the stories you tell , no intermediaries ,no barriers ,you can reach your stories without filters to your tribes across the world .

You can build , engage and convert your tribes with stories you tell .

In a world that has just witnessed a once in a century event of the pandemic. There is a nervous uncertainty. Brands have a role to play in healing , comforting and being responsible.

It is time for organisations and brands to tell stories of a better future, for the people , for the community, for our planet.

Let us tell stories of hope , stories of love , stories of compassion, stories that inspire change , stories that make a difference.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Storyteller , #passionproject

Founder , Crow Tales , Heroes of India

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