Marketing

13 Apr: Don’t complete your visual story

A picture says a thousand words? Maybe it needs to be less verbose. A picture that tells an entire story is stable, it’s safe, it says it all. You get nods when you tell an entire story using a picture. A picture of an apple is just that, an apple. Your audience will look at it, acknowledge and move on. A picture of an apple while having a headline that reads “Apple” is just plain condescending to your audience. Don’t ever do that. But a picture of an apple with a headline that reads “Orange”, now there’s intrigue. Just like a real story, give your audience a reason to be hooked, give them a gap between expectation and reality, give them a reason not to pass on your real story that is yet to be told.

29 Nov: Content overload

There is so much content in the world today. Every company wants to publish content, every organization is trying to get your attention. In addition, every person in the world is potentially a media channel. With this much content in the world, how is it even possible to get your word out? From the perspective of a consumer of information, how do you expect to find the stories you care about? With options and a multitude of choices, a paralysis of sorts naturally arises. As humans, we will continue to stick with a few channels that give us information. It used to be the 9 o’clock news, now it’s the twitter and Facebook feed. Do I really want these channels to curate content for me? Perhaps we need to get back to the fundamentals: For organizations: – Spread your word one person at a time, through conviction, emotion and a…

02 Nov: Power of isms, metaphors and one liners

The world is now in the attention deficit era. Tweets, Vine videos, constant bombardment of texts, notifications and GIFs have made us all crave content that is punchy, quick and delivers an emotion. Even when you try and describe something important in a meeting or in a conversation at the dinner table, if you are not entertaining and delivering your thoughts succinctly, you lose your audience. Worst yet, they whip out their smart phone and start tapping away. So what is a communicator to do?  What do we all do? Start using metaphors, and start to boil all your words down to something short and meaningful. If we start talking about branding, this is how I’ll kick off our conversation: ” Don’t attempt to express your brand, you should instead brand your expression” Wanna learn more?

01 Oct: Stories that move #1: Innovation comes in all shapes & sizes

A group of engineers were sitting in a conference room and their heads hung low, amidst walls of post it notes and scribbling on the white board. It looked like they’ve spent days in the room. And they did. They sat there wondering what was their next move. In a couple of days they will present their plan to the executive committee, and that’s also when the fate of their project will be decided. They were at their wits end. 12 months had gone by and the prototypes still did not meet their size requirements. Management had gotten wind of their side project and wanted to put an end to a distracting project but they were intrigued about what they had heard. The new implantable device would be smaller, much much smaller than anything out there. A size of a pill basically and it would power the heart. But soon, that vision will end. They would…

14 Aug: What stories teach us about change management

One of the fundamental things about any story is change. Change that is irreversible. Your characters will change, the environment will change and most importantly as a result, the emotions of your audience will also change. This is true in any great story and should also be true in any change process: an irreversible change from The Beginning to the New World Order. The idea of an irreversible change is an interesting one and you can essentially prepare for driving change in an organization using the structure of a story.   1. The Beginning The beginning context in any story is there to help the audience feel some empathy for the protagonist and gives a baseline of what the world looks like today. This empathy and context is important  because the audience needs to make an emotional connection as well as understand how everything changes throughout the story. For an…

06 Aug: One simple way to breathe life into your story

You are eager to tell a story to your friends, or even your clients, something you have experienced. You are excited and you start blabbering away, only to notice that their attention slowly start to fade away. You’re left with trying to figure out how to end your story, and you promptly decide to just end it, sparing your audience the agony, and yourself the despair of watching their uninterested reactions. This has happened to me many times and also during presentations. Has it happened to you? I’m sure you have, we have all seen our audiences checking their phones, looking at their watch, even staring blankly out the window, while you are frantically trying to divulge some very crucial information. In this first post in a series of posts about story telling (#9story9) , I will share 1 insight/rule to spruce up your stories, however you deliver your craft. When…

15 Jul: “Story” more than meets the marketers eye

Robert McKee’s book: “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting” is an absolutely amazing reference for screenwriters. But even more than a reference for screenwriters, it has provided me, a mere marketer with some pretty tremendous insights that will directly impact what I do. Storytelling is not just about films and screenplays, it’s fundamental to being human and what more useful to a marketer than a book that reveals human truths? “Story” is a wicked weapon in the marketers arsenal and like a good climax: “Inevitable and Unexpected” Some questions I will answer in upcoming posts and draw insights for all kinds of storytellers: What do great screenplays and presentations have in common and why should we care? (Hint: Something Nancy Duarte found in her research in: Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences) What makes a person sit through a movie? Even more revealing, what makes a…

23 Jun: Is social media just hype?

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal: Social Media Fail to Live Up to Early Marketing Hype, the author presents a survey conducted at the end of 2012 with ~12,000 U.S. adults about social media. 62% of them responded that social media does not have any impact on their purchasing decisions and 30% responded that it has some effect. At first glance, it does present a compelling argument that majority of social media efforts fall on deaf ears. Low ROI. However, if you take a different look at the data, you might come to a different conclusion. 30% of consumers admitted through a survey that social media influences their purchasing decision, which is a pretty nice return if you can effectively influence 30% your target audience, don’t you think? In addition, people do not necessarily know what influences their behavior, much less being able to report it in…

19 Jun: The problem with storytelling

In the book by Robert McKee, Story: Style, Structure, Substance and the Principles of Screenwriting, he asserts that there is a big story problem. In short, there is a tremendous lack of good ones. As a veteran in the film business, he never had the problem of rejecting a script that tells a wonderful story but had terrible grammar and literary technique. A good story is what matters, everything else can be fixed. I draw the same parallel to business presentations, sales pitches or anytime you need to influence someone to do something. Wonderfully crafted pieces are far and few between. We have all been either guilty of it or a subject of terrible presentations that bored everyone to tears. Lets make a promise to no longer impose our problem on our dear audience, lets commit to creating, crafting and telling delectable stories, where ever we go.

10 Jun: Technical Presentations #3 – Self awareness

Being aware of yourself is crucial during a presentation. This is why most presentation classes involve a video camera and dissecting your every move. If you have a good grasp of these five categories, I promise you will be already be ahead of the curve. General appearance – make sure that your attire is appropriate and there is no distracting piece of accessory for your audience to focus on. You never want to have a piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth while you are selling a million dollar project. Facial expressions – frowns, furrowed eye brows, rolling of your eyes, be sure that your expressions remain friendly. Smiles are encouraged but vary your expressions to make a point. The larger the audience, the more exaggerated your expressions should be, unless a zoomed in video of your face is displayed. Hand gestures – Again, large movements for large audiences, vary…