storytelling and ideas

The difference between advertising and storytelling

We confuse the two. Quite often. We think that an ad with a story – is suddenly storytelling. Its story-selling. Storytelling is strictly – a story about the brand. THAT IS ALL. Anything else, is simply an ad with a storyboard. Ok? Ok!

Example of Storytelling –

Apart from the examples listed here in my other article.

Lifebuoy soaps – Help a child reach 5.  This brand exists because there are people in various parts of India that don’t have access to hygiene. This kind of niche, but extremely strong message suggests to the customers that Lifebuoy has done their due-diligence and actually cares enough to talk to remote villagers about their problems. It answers the question – “Why we are here” with its brand story.

 

 Example of an Ad (that can be confused with storytelling) –

A) Nike – Jogger Ad. This is a perfect example where marketers may confuse this to be storytelling. A story of the young fat boy that wants to lose weight is introduced here, with an inspiring message at the end. Sure, this looks like storytelling and can be confused with Nike’s “Why are we here”, but it speaks NOTHING about the brand itself. Its like a product placement in a movie. It means nothing.

 

 

Comparison Note –

In the case of Lifebuoy, there was a clear message. Lifebuoy is here to clean India. In the case of Nike, there was no clear message. Does Nike want to inspire fat kids? or does it say that greatness starts with a pair of shoes? The message is there, the consumer resonance is there, but it is NOT storytelling.

Contact me at contact@35.200.155.94 or on twitter at @sanchitkhera7. Im also a philosopher and spiritualist so don’t be thrown off by my twitter bio. Cheers.

 

photo credit: juhansonin via photopin cc

Data in Marketing

The Premise

There is none. Because data can be manipulated and edited and customized into any form shape and thing. Most scientific data collection processes work with sponsors that require insights and sometimes even conclusions. They outsource core/non-core processes to consultants or worse – other agencies, and the data, once gone through myriad of varying upper management and their own respective biases, is open to interpretation. I say this not from personal experience (maybe I do), but also from research.

1. Fewer than half of 100 studies of 2008, were replicable

2. Referencing Daniel Kahnaman’s letter to scientists

3. TV Ratings by Nielsen Had Errors for Months

Keep in mind, this is only an accusation, on which I am basing my argument. I maybe 100% wrong and piranhas and puppies can be best friends.

Just the level of bullshit that goes into forming conclusions about consumer psychology, sociology and even economy fails the catch up to gossip columns and cosmopolitan surveys.

Research, in its entirety is difficult. Even Dan Ariely ( every marketer’s favorite psychologist) has some amazing miscalculations in judgement. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy to Death. he’s a rockstar). Especially, his argument of ripping bandages. 

Now, the question is clear, how do we want to form culture moving forward. This is important to ask, as it directly relates to marketing. Consumers feel certain emotions that are ABCD, and their desires are XYZ. If we aren’t aware of their responses to stimuli 123, then we can damn well be sure about their desires XYZ. We can test this using a cheap Neurosky headset and some EEG reports about how much of an impact certain niches have on mass culture, and vice versa. We can also test how great of an impact stimuli has on certain people, and form strategies that way. We can be and do great things with marketing and then acheive results that are based on those specific parameters. I.e. a marketing campaign or market research data collected for Levis won’t be the same as for Ralph Lauren, even though the sample size might be the same.

The Sample Size

At what level can we be happy with our results? Can we really trust self-reported data? Never & No are the right answers to those questions. Now, the problem with sample studies is that generally people are vastly different from one another. Even inside one niche, (say gaming), there are varying personas of individuals that need to be captured for profitability and for qualitative v/s quantitative data. All in all, people may have similar interests but their interests can vary with their own past experiences and biases. E.g. a hardcore GTAV gamer may hate WoW games because of a bad incident that he had while being trolled online thus making him/her get the emotion of neutrality with sadness confused. Can you trust online surveys? – Hell no!

Finland & Taiwan. Self Reported Data. Mass aggregation. 700 People. I hate this research

Link here 

o-BODY-EMOTIONS-900

I absolutely hate this article that went viral last year. Looking at this, Nike should focus on Contempt to spike the feeling in consumers’ feet and that would get them going to buy shoes.

Conclusion

Fuck data. Data is impure, and it hurts. Its like the car salesman who refuses to sell the car, but sells the fantasy of what the car could be. There are so many assumptions, conclusions, hypotheses, that make you go – what the fuck is going on. People consider knowledge and information to be power, they won’t be letting it go to some research so easily. Its all a mirage that one day will be hyper customized into each organization’s faculty. Imagine that, one research department per organization per customer base. We’ll have positions such as – Chief Consumer Insights Officer, who’ll look at online data patterns and become aware of his own short comings 6 months later, when he realizes that he hasn’t spoken to a real life customer in 3 years. Data is data. People are data, but insights are insights – which stand the test of time, until a scientist proves them wrong in 2015 and goes wild with PR outreach.

I leave you with this last thought – what do you want your brand to be? Be that.

Live everywhere, moving from social to perennial

Brand everywhere are going live every day, to showcase events, production, behind the scenes, and more on their favorite platforms of choice. With Instagram and Facebook taking a huge leap of innovation towards the 24/7 model, and Whatsapp following suite in the coming quarters, Social+Live is quickly becoming the next avenue of marketing commuincations. Mahesh Chauhan also famously pitching to Nearbuy using Facebook Live as a showcase of creativity and depth.

What is the potential of being online and social real time? – The upside is tremendous. It creates a fan-focused moment, when you’re excited to open Facebook while taking a break, or on the weekends. It makes the relationship between the brand and the consumer more transparent and synchronous. It reveals who the brand is every day, and people can re-imagine what it’s like to have a one-to-one sales conversation at scale.

Brands in the US have pioneered their way into the minds of the customers with live, chief among them are FMCG and Media brands. Brands in India can come a long way if they use the techniques that the West is using all these years and build upon them. Celebrities have been leveraging the Live platform for almost a year now, and they’re loving it – reaching a larger chunk of their followers per live story compared to a regular post, and are connecting directly with their fans to promote their movies or merchandise.

Businesses in India can take over Live using the following quick tactics –

  1. Create an online event – Brands in the consumer space have an immense opportunity in renting a space out, crafting an experience over there, and inviting their audiences to participate in a live event during the session. Fans can interact with the product, or ask the representatives to share their vision for the next few months, etc. E.g. a Puma Store that’s completely online, and sales heads can talk about the upcoming shoes for an extended period. The experience can also be gamified with a contest like activity, where participants can interact with the brand by answering basic questions or interacting with brand collaterals.
  2. Press Release, Media interactions – B2B brands can now open up any press conference, media interaction event, or other public meetings to Facebook live for their audiences to ask questions and drive insights from the media activity directly as well.
  3. SME Webinars – For startups, consultants, and small business, these come in very handy. When you can interact with your colleagues, fans, and prospective leads from the comfort of Facebook, you convert a passive entertainment tool to a powerful lead generation mechanism.

Honesty in business

Quite often you find people being dishonest, delayed, and denoting that they are busy or are occupied with other things. Employees, people, engagement, and emperors. All diamonds to dust, and figuring out where they belong. Underlying it all is a brand marketing problem. Its a problem of a clear communications, and clear company policy. What does the people working for other people stand for? What does it belong for?

That is the essence of corporate culture. And selling it to the employees is a brand marketing problem.

That is all.

The Product Game

Heres the thing – Apples, Snaps, and Googles, all in it to win it. Facebook’s catching up playing around with tech and Ai with VR around the corner. So many words.

Snapchat changed its name to reflect its focus on hardware and everything around – Moments and Experiences. Which could mean hardware cameras or software memes XD

1M+ views and likes/dislikes disabled and comments turned off. Casey Neistat should have been roped in, but he’s busy competing in the social space with Beme – another player who thinks – Experience and Authenticity are the corner-stone of all media shared by humans. Yes

Snap’s PR outreach is also weak. Its boring, and lame. If there was any company that could have done this it was Snapchat, but its a hefty price to pay for these goggles. Whats the problem –

“THERE IS NO EPHEMERAL NATURE TO THESE GLASSES”

The whole premise of Snapchat is its chill. Now if people start buying these bulky goggles and paying a ridiculous sum for it – its a bummer and doesn’t match its ethos.

Now if the snapchat glasses (spectacles) were low-tech bluetooth, 5 MP camera attachments and battery outlets with a cheaper, thinner material that you could pick up for $50-60 and toss away when youre bored – That would have been a category killer. Forget Google, Snap is here to stay. THEN, Snapchat could have upsold to a $130 model. But yeah these will be offered across all malls, concerts, and shopping areas across the world in no time, and sales might not pick up.

Its funny, because the video is weak and Snapchat has actually acquired a media buying and media production company. But the problem is that at the $130 price point, Evan calls it a “TOY”. Which is even more detrimental. There is no synchronicity in messaging across media, and the comms look fake. That’s not what Snapchats all about.

Now why did they do it? Because Investors were told early on that that’s what they would be getting. Hence the crazy valuation. Same with Uber, whos investing in driverless trucks. Justify the valuation.

They’ll have to rope in a lot of influencers to push this out, and connect with trend masters to see who’s hot and who’s not. But this won’t i think have a detrminental nature on theapp

References –

https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/09/28/snapchat-set-to-roll-out-sunglasses-that-record-video.html

http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/23/13039184/snapchat-spectacles-price-release-date-snap-inc

https://www.cnet.com/products/snapchat-spectacles/preview/

https://www.spectacles.com/

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/26/why-snapchats-new-glasses-could-be-more-than-just-a-toy.html

Snapchat unveils $129 sunglasses that can record video in 10-second snippets

What’s more important – The Product or The Marketing

Thats a reduntant question and an absurd one – Product managers think that they know it all and Marketing Gurus want the next best thing in promotion. Its all a cycle, where there are some elements (either product or marketing or both) that drive it forward. Companies that drive both forward (Airbnb, Monster, and RedBull) perform far better in markets where the competition is stiffening up and product differentiation becomes a meagre difference of lemons.

Think about this scenario in auto industry –

A BMW V/S Mercedes Benz.

Mercedes beat BMW in the luxury car space this half year (H2016) by 7% points for the first time in 5 years!

Both car manufacturers have a great product, both grew from last year (BMW – 5%, Merc – 12%) and both have a great sales team at the end of the line to deliver the product.

Last year’s sales –

moss_012116053904

Now, barring illegal or unethical activities leading to chokeholding the competition (because its India), we can see that consistent growth in this sector has been great! Because our economy’s growing quick and we’re reaching higher levels of income brackets slowly and steadily.

While Auto industry spends 8% of all Indian media spends, its burning close to 5000 CRs in media spends.

What makes it better than any other industry to study? – One reason – Bad advertising.

The ads aren’t emotionally connecting with the upper echelon and yet because of the global brand value of Merc and BMW they sell to impress. (Esp in Ludhiana)

So what I’m saying is that even if the industry is doing well (aka the product) it can’t escape its brand perception (aka marketing). You buy because you perceive it to be worth your time. If not, you move on.

The Product. The Marketing. The Sale – are all connected.

Dr. Ettlie is to thank for this matrix – ORM – Operations, Research & Marketing are the only three legs on which a company is built for its life time. You can thank him here – He’s a nice guy

Pokemon Go – They had a solid outdoor base to launch

Hi there, here we are. Pokemon Go has been insane, longest time spent, quickest to jump to number 1, quickest to enhance market cap, and insanity craze on its competitor’s platforms – FB YT IN SP

So WTF is going on? You know. Why are people crazy about it?

What you don’t know is that there have been many apps that did exactly what Pokemon did. Same went for Angry Birds. And Candy Crush.

What’s different – Story. Story (derived, borrowed, lent, or created) has been inherent in its success. What we didn’t know is that Pokemon regularly held events, conferences, seminars, and get togethers across the US and Australia. It had a sense of awesomeness about it (much like a comic-con) and people loved it. Crowds gathered to watch it. Check out their FB page here.

So they already had a pretty solid base

The Promise – They promised fighting simulation in the game (which might come in 2017) so people are hyped for it. They did it via two videos hitting 30M each, as well as a Google Prank video. Similar to how Deadpool got funded. The Promise of epicness for bored consumers.

The hype – All of the media was (paid?) invited to talk about it. They were most likely handed press kits to talk about it in the news. Similar to how Snapchat got famous (controversy and cool-off model) Pokemon go had its share of robbings, accidents and eye witness accounts of disasters. A few stories amplified, made it look as though it was a national endemic.

Exclusivity – You cant have it if you arent in the US or Australia. Now you want it more because everyone’s talking about it. When it launches in Japan, thats when the shit will hit the ceiling.

Cosplay  – Cosplay made it cool to pretend to be someone and walk around. That’s what Pokemon Go is all about. Playing a story based game without the heavy expensive clothes, while still being Ash Ketchum

Hacks/Outages – Hackers noticed this. They shut down the servers. This increased the hype to now become a cultural phenomenon

Love – People love Pokemon. And now, with the world in turmoil, they want to connect with their inner child to once again become safe in their own world augmented over so much hatred

Influencers – Influencers will try anything. Brands will collab with them to promote anything. The collaboration helped a lot to get people excited about the one game that forces you to go outside and play socially instead of the lonely confines of call of duty. PewDiePie made 3 videos totalling 10M+ views, along with atleast 100 more influencers

FOMO – Nope cant miss out on it. Gotta catch em all

Charm – The UI of the app is pretty good looking along with its interaction mechanics when you play it. Its got an addictive indication to it (probably developed after solid testing) that makes the user want to play it again n again and gain seemingly free things that are virtual (characters, pokemons, etc)

Pokedex – Yes in the series, Ash carries a Pokedex which is a tablet. Now people carry large phones which psychically reinforce the message that they’re carrying a Pokedex cum PokeBall.

ashandpokedex

Community – See, Pokemon nerds didnt get a chance to meet each other traditionally. Now they did. The more they connected the more their stories spread. People would ask “what did you do today” and theyd say -” I met someone new playing Pokemon Go in the park” and the conversations flow onwards. WOM spiked with accomplishment, added to hierarchy of being the best Pokemon trainer.

Business – Retail outlets, restaurants, etc make special deals, and offers to Pokemon Go users, adding more incentive to play the game.

Now the question is – have there been games like PoGo before? Yes But they all lacked story and connection.

Branding, PR, Comms – Heavily controlled brand communications over decades. Nothing is out of place and everything is well strategized to the T. Whether its a new console launch or a new storyline for Pikachu, its always thought through and strategically placed in key outlets.

The Youth – Playing it all day as a distraction from the everyday, snapchatting, instagramming and making it a fun-social-casual experience for everyone to be a part of. Pokemon is truly raceless, colourless, agendaless, cool for both nerds and jocks, and fun for everyone secretly wanting to be a part of a latest trend, or even a meaningful story which touched them as a child

Its sparked a new industry – X for Pokemon.