Why Advertising And Marketing Will Always Be About Great Story Telling - @srinistuff

Srinivas Kulkarni, head client servicing at Social Kinnect talks about the relevance of story telling in this digital age with apt examples

Editor’s Note: Srinivas Kulkarni, a communications professional for over 10 years with interests in passion for advertising, creativity, social & digital marketing has shared a guest post which talks about the relevance of story telling in this digital age with apt examples. Currently head client servicing at Social Kinnect, Srinivas is also a travel blogger (Travel Tales).

They say Mad Men are inspired by Art! They say that Ad guys function solely on sips of coffee, coke, Red Bull or a few smokes a day. (Disclaimer: Smoking is injurious to health.)

They say, inspiration always comes to you without any prior intimation or for that matter a great ‘BIG’ idea always lurks around the corner before it hits you on your head. For many, inspiration is always around us.

For some, it’s derived from the hidden artist in our mind, body and soul and for many others it’s a constant struggle to come up with that story, that big idea or the game changing campaign that works wonders when executed properly. Without really stereotyping anyone or anything and not running the risk of generalization as well as letting the ‘Mad Men’ obsession that I have, I can safely say that many folks were fascinated by the good old days that advertising enjoyed when you had a three martini lunch, a bar in your cabin, drinks throughout the day and most importantly that stimulated approach towards working in a way where your creative gut feel didn’t actually ‘feel’ wrenched down by so many things that people are doing these days.

Well things are certainly a little or rather lot different today. Digital has always been predominantly perceived as a game changer in terms of advertising. They said, that there’ll be no bifurcation of digital, social, mainstream, offline, BTL or ATL and everything would be combined into one further down the road. This was about five years back when I started working in Digital. Today when I look at the way the world has changed, I realize that the aspect of bifurcation was never a question to be asked in the first place.

Advertising and Marketing has always been about and will be about one thing and one thing predominantly. Great Story Telling! 

Rest is complimentary to the process of inspiring human beings with something that they always knew about themselves.

Some recent TV commercials that tell a beautiful story 

Be it the great way you tell a story about an old woman compassionately trying to feed a few spoons of homemade Dal to her ailing son which had been doing the rounds lately. (Read: Fortune’s recent Ad by Ogilvy.) Be it the emotional tussle and envy between the younger of the two brothers when the older brother always keeps getting something new. (Read: Volkswagen Polo Ad.) Or this really beautiful and enchanting yet silent visual story telling with some great music to give you goose bumps by MMGB: Pepsi ‘Beats of the Beautiful Game’

Be all of these or simply some design units that would go on a print campaign to convert into a call to action. Every single element of a great Ad creative tells a great story, more so in the digital age today.

Why do we Advertise?

Yes we are all behind selling a product or an idea to those consumers like us by coming up with innovative ideas, campaigns, stories or for that matter simple facts in day to day lives we tell about each other, ones that help us relate to that campaign, that boy, that girl or for that matter the person that made the ad.

One of the key things you see across all mediums today is various anecdotes, stories, incidents and passion shared across in visuals, stories, incidents, events and many other forms of storytelling. Every single consumer of yours is interested in telling his story. He’s someone who likes to show the world what he wants, what he dreams of, what he aspires to do, where he would like to spend his next vacation, what food he’s eating and what cravings he has. Pretty much everything is a story told, untold. Read or unread. Eventually these are the core and base of your insights. This is something you as an advertiser need to create as an underlying statement. 

Would the consumers really like to tell their stories?

The answer to which is, ‘WHY NOT?’ And I mean, why the hell not? Social/Digital media and advertising has gone to such an extent that, each and every consumer out there has become so important in terms of expressing, venting, channelizing their thoughts thanks to the exposure that these platforms are giving them, that they’d be the first one to tag your brand, talk to you, tell you if they’re pissed about something related to the brand. So why not get the same consumers to actually do something good for you. Be your brand advocates or brand detractors!

Story telling in the Digital Age!

Get these consumers of yours to tell their stories that connect back to your product. Don’t get them to endorse your product, get them to endorse their story! A story that can be told in as many words, visuals, videos or for that matter emotionally tied in to your product. That’s the power of crowd sourcing content these days. If your brand learns to do that well, then there’s no stopping you. Some recent examples that did this well is the Magic Pencil Project Of course, this was something really extraordinary element of storytelling with wishful thinking, this campaign got people to think beyond the ordinary and brought forth the idea that ‘Every pencil is a magic pencil’ and the brand taking a back seat with letting the consumers do most of the talking and spread the word about what their story was all about in an imaginative way.

Another really great example of a brand taking the story telling route in order to spread their message across was this innovative campaign #BreakingStereotypes via social media by Trulymadly.com which is a matchmaking portal and how it used the power of crowd sourcing and individuality among every consumer and people who have stories to tell the entire world. Yes, they flipped the whole aspect of match making and tried to find a strong emotional connect within the young audience who are truly fed up of all the stereotypes that surround them. It connected with their audience by asking them to tell their story and encapsulated them in visual imagery with strong messages.


And then there was one of the really interesting social media campaigns of the recent times where Oreo promoted Oreo Orange Creme making #OreoBesties. It got people to share their stories running the #BestieBond campaign which lasted for at least two days across Twitter where people shared their stories on what made their bond with their bestie unique. While they did that, the brand created really stunning and visual images of their stories and shared it with the rest of the world. This is something that appealed to everyone as it told their stories in a great and unique fashion.

Essentially, be it on digital, mainline or any form of advertising, today Great Story Telling boils down to three core things:

1. Who’s telling the story?
2. What’s inspiring others and how is it exciting?
3. Lastly, why is it important for your brand and how it’s using these stories?

If you understand these simple principles of today’s consumer mindset and their abilities to talk about your brand, you will figure ways out to get your consumer showing the world that your brand is epic, without even telling them what to say. Just hit the right chord, make the consumer centre of your brand’s universe, give them an avenue to voice their opinion, thought and stories will flow! What say you?

Image credit: Cruxcatalyst