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Vivek Pandey, Vice President, Revenue Strategy & Analytics, Times Internet lists down 5 effective story-selling tips fo...

5 ultimate story-selling tips to expand your brand presence and reach

Vivek Pandey, Vice President, Revenue Strategy & Analytics, Times Internet lists down 5 effective story-selling tips fo...
  • In times when growing a business is becoming increasingly complex, only the right branding & marketing strategy can help brands register sustained profits.
  • The stories a brand tells, the way it tells it and who the stories are told to become an important part of the brand’s journey.
  • Vivek Pandey, Vice President, Revenue Strategy & Analytics, Times Internet lists down 5 effective story-selling tips for brands to expand their reach and presence.
Growing a business may seem like a complex affair. Why, one may ask? After all, we live in an age where Google Analytics lets marketers track the average conversion rate of each webpage, and Facebook Ads and Google AdWords allows bids for leads and sales. This is because, irrespective of the tools available, it remains indispensable to discover a profitable niche by defining a target demographic and then appealing to that TG. Whether a brand is selling products, services or simply knowledge or news, irrespective of analytics tools and digital channels at disposal, only the right branding & marketing strategy will help it register sustained profits.

Why focus on branding, when it is so much easier to track PPC and SEO results! Digital marketing activities are outcome-oriented and metric-driven, while branding is a deliberate, subjective process that is both an art and science. This is unfortunate because building a strong, trusted and purpose-led brand is a powerful differentiating asset for any business, especially in today’s highly competitive crowded markets.

Here are 5 tips to help marketers establish, expand and strengthen a brand’s digital brand presence and reach in an effective manner:

Think Stories

Stories have a profound effect on the listener - stories are what our lives are made up of, stories are how we remember people and stories make us feel a little less alone in the world. The art of storytelling cuts across histories and cultures as the single most important communication form. Your brand is a story and only as good as you tell it, to yourself and your customers. Mission, Vision, Strategy and possibly even Profits flow from it. So, the first thing we should do when we are thinking about building brands, is to think “What’s the story here?”.

Render Stories

Stories have to be rendered and rendition is an art in itself. Be it dastangoi, puppetry, pandwani or good old fables, the rendition is as, if not more, important as the story. Your story can become your employee culture, your next marketing video, your blog or website, a news article in some trusted publication or a series of banner ads running on 4 faces of a cube ad format. It is something very specific, and more about the medium than the message itself. Don’t blindly take your television ad and run it on digital video, don’t take your newspaper ad and plaster it on the homepage of all news websites.. Work with the owners of media and co-create digital appropriate renditions of your stories. Industry leaders in digital co-creation are BBC Storyworks, Economist’s ‘Thought that Counts’. In India, Times Internet’s Spotlight partner with brands render digital-first stories.

Amplify Stories

There is an idiom in the Hindi language - “Jungle mein mor nacha, kisne dekha”. Translated in plain English it means what is the use of the dance of a peacock in a jungle when no one is there to see it. It is similar to the English saying that one shouldn’t hide one’s light under a bushel. And all of this ultimately implies there is not much use of an awesome story or it’s rendition, unless it reaches a critical mass, the ` tipping point”. But this amplification need not be through a loudspeaker - it can be through a community network that builds traction through identified influencer nodes. It need not be a fixed banner ad but a targeted native ad running on adtech platforms like Times Internet’s Colombia. Gone are the times when an advertiser put up an ad and hoped for the TG to read it.

Choose Who To Tell The Story To

We all know that marketing begins with a target group of consumers, or TG. Unlike the earlier definition of TG, the audience is not a homogenous identity. Marketers today define their TG sharply, contextualising on the basis of usage patterns, psychographic triggers and other nuances. Here’s where Adtech comes in. Colombia has more than 7000 addressable audience segments among it’s 520 million+ users, enabling marketers with the needed flexibility to define their target audience. Coupled with Colombia’s Machine Learning capabilities, a marketer can optimise his campaign for better performance, all of this neatly hidden behind a self serve interface. Your agencies or marketing teams can easily find the best audience for a particular campaign and ensure that the story is heard loudly by all the right ears.

Listen To Their Stories

It is not a one-way street and there is no such thing as a passive audience. This truism is getting truer with the evolution of generations from X to Y and now Z. Gen-Z is not the listening type. Have open arms and open channels to listen and process the stories your audience have to share. Not all of them would make you feel good, some of them may not even sound relevant right now - but it is in these brutally honest, shamelessly public and emotionally personal stories that the future of your brand lies. Shutting your eyes and ears won’t stop the video or the music. Responsible media houses would allow you to take data back, take learnings back, not create walled gardens that rob you of a direct connect with your consumers. Invest in media that welcome deep partnerships and can also do custom research and insights for you, not one-size-fits-all standard dashboards. Almost every single Spotlight + Colombia campaign on Times Internet is dovetailed with consumer research, dedicated account management and deep insights so you take away not just conversions but learnings from every campaign you do.

And if none of this makes sense, don’t overcomplicate. Forget catchy headlines, memorable visuals, narrow or wide funnels and lower and lower CPAs. Just get down straight to thinking in stories, and whispering them loudly into relevant ears.

- By Vivek Pandey, Vice President, Revenue Strategy & Analytics, Times Internet