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 The intermediary has been replaced by digital platforms.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

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

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

HOW I GOT OVER MY FEARS

I had the fear of flying, the fear would begin when I boarded a flight and if there was turbulence I would be in an internal mess .

I have seen panic attacks after I saw a close relative pass away suddenly with a massive heart attack. After the incident, I would land up in ERs at night with breathlessness , I was told that I am experiencing a panic attack . Nothing helped , no advice helped .

Today I love to fly places, turbulence is ok (unless it’s real bad ( : ) . I can walk into a cemetery , talk about death and be ok , panic just vanished never to come back.

How did this change occur?

1. Face the fear : I was running away , I wanted to run away . One day , I stopped, looked at fear in the eyes . Felt the fear in my body . I did not run . I got on the other side of fear and it vanished.

2. What is the worst that can happen ? I asked this question and the answer was “I will die”. And then it struck me “I am going to die anyway one day , everyone is going to die one day , why die NOW ! I will die when I have to , let me live NOW!”

3. In this moment : Being here now , dropping the future helped . I have learnt that in this moment, this moment as I write these words , there is no problem. When I get away from this moment, in the past or the future, stories begin .

4. Accept this deeply : In this moment, now there is no problem and “this moment is inevitable” , it has already occurred. No choice , can’t do a thing . Accept deeply without resistance.

5 . This too shall pass : I am not God , I am not perfect, I do get shaken up by events in life , I do falter , but I get up , I know “This too shall pass” , it does . One day we all will be dead and gone , my parents who are no more would have lived through so many fears , what is the significance now , nothing , it’s all dust .

When you deeply understand this that we are here momentarily on a journey as visitors on this planet , you will understand that this too shall eventually pass , everything will . Yet while on the journey, let us make the best of our time to live , love and leave a legacy behind.

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

STORIES MEAN BUSINESS

Our story begins at Starbucks where two storytellers met over a cup of coffee.

and the journey of storytelling began .

We saw gloom in our world, and we started telling stories of good , of real Heroes, their life , their struggle, their impact , their message, because we believe stories of good need to be told . http://www.YouTube.Com/heroesofindia

As storytellers, we tell stories because every story inspires us .

We see stories in organisations, brands , causes , people.

Organisations need to tell their stories,
because stories are remembered,
stories are shared ,
stories are passed on ,
stories touch the heart,
and inspire people to take action .

Tell your stories because,
organisation cultures are built around stories ,
your employees have stories of you ,
your customers have stories of you,
your partners have stories of you,
your community has stories of you.

A brand is built with stories.

Stories mean business.

In the digital world we are the stories we tell.

Are you telling your brand story ?

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

http://www.YouTube.Com/CrowTales

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

WHY NONPROFITS NEED TO BECOME STORYTELLERS

A few years back while taking a morning walk in Pune city I saw a stray dog that had been hit by a car , he was in bad shape .

I could not walk away . I believe that within every human being there is good and there is a deep natural instinct to care and help those that are weaker than us or in pain.

This instinct is buried under our experiences of the material world and going beyond self does not look like a natural behaviour , it is not like the world of transactions we are used to , there is nothing to get in return.

I got my car , picked up that street dog and I drove around a few hours on a Sunday morning to find a animal shelter that would treat injured animals . I did not have to do that , I could have walked away, but I could not.

What I saw moved me to act , I saw pain , I saw innocence of life and I saw the helplessness. I was pulled in and now emotionally invested . I could not walk away.

And this is what every good story does , it pulls you in and gets you emotionally invested.

This is what movies do they take you into the fictional world of the characters , you laugh with them , you cry with them , you feel the struggle of the hero you are with him in the fight with the evil and you are emotionally invested in his victory over evil.

For nonprofits the way to the purse is through the heart and the way to the heart is through a well told story.

The digital world adds a dimension of reach and helps nonprofits spread the stories of good far and wide , stories get your volunteers and donors to get emotionally invested , feel the pain of the beneficiaries , join their struggles and rejoice in their success .

It is this very reason I started Heroes of India project , as a storyteller I wanted to tell stories of good because I know the power of a story to touch a lives , create change in our world and build movements. ( http://www.YouTube.Com/heroesofindia)

Every movement in human history started with a story and every change had a story to begin with . While we all are seeing the negative side of social media to cause distrust and spread fake news this very platform can be used to spread hope and good in our world.

The world needs stories of good and nonprofits need to become storytellers .

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject