In many walks of life“old is gold” holds true. But does this usually happen in branding? Over the years, enterprises have constantly had to reinvent their approach to brand communication with customers. At one level, branding is all about connecting with people (customers and potential customers and other stakeholders like employees and even the media and other businesses, through people).So, one may argue that at an emotional level, there are some themes that have timeless and classic appeal. However, the constant evolution in technology and communication mediums can seriously impact the way a message can be conveyed. The radio gave print a run for its money and then television came in to take over where radio left off. Now it’s the era of the internet. The obvious take-away is that there must be a constant change in the way the message is packaged, so that it leverages concurrent technological progress and is tailor-made for the mediums that are available. So, while the message may never get old, the way it is presented must constantly evolve to stay relevant.
In the current scenario, the debate between textual content and audio-visual content has been clearly of the latter, decided in favour especially when it comes to building brands. Studies show that our brains process visual information 60,000 times better than entire blocks of text. Statistics also suggest that 40% of online viewers give a more positive response to visual content than text-based content, especially videos. In addition, the arguments in favour of audio-videos can go on and on. Now club this winning medium with great story-telling…need we say more?!
Yet if we had to present a granular picture of what exactly it is that makes audio-video storytelling the future of brand building for entrepreneurs, it would be the following three advantages…
Ability to create a niche in the overcrowded market
The old… In a situation of constricted consumer choice and limited mediums of transmission, simply listing out the benefits of the product or service and how it could be accessed would be adequate. A brand building exercise would simply comprise of conveying how great a company was.
And the new…Today, when customers are spoiled for choice and inundated with multi-channel stimulus, information about products or services on social media will go unnoticed; but you can get people to read (and like and share) great stories about brands they trust. Further, they may not read blogs or listen to podcasts about how awesome a company is; but, once again, they are likely to read blogs and listen to podcasts that offer useful insights or unveil interesting sagas or a strong social message from a company that does not seem to have vested interest.
For a brand to create a niche for itself, it also needs to have a focused approach. This may sometimes come at the cost of ‘being everywhere – doing everything’. Take for instance the brand ‘Videocon’, which started out with a popular low margin – high volume consumer electronics image. Then the company diversified into a range of infrastructure (oil and gas and telecommunications) and even the DTH TV segment. It became a case of a diluted brand, losing its original brand value without gaining a strong new one. Now, even of it had tried to tell its story through a brand audio-video, it could have been a challenge. Was it possible to build a cohesive story around such a journey? We’ll never know now.
This in no way suggests that a brand cannot evolve, even into something completely different from its peak avatar. In fact, brands must evolve to remain relevant for their clients. However, for best results, the evolution should follow a path guided by a clear vision. This kind of change in a brand lends itself beautifully to audio-video storytelling and manages to retain the niche that it has carved for itself.
Enables better engagement and retention
A brand goes beyond logos, websites, social media and advertising campaigns; it must have depth, which comes from a vision and mission or purpose. Many a times, brand building is more about selling the values of a company rather than its products. Take for instance the brand-building story that surrounds a company producing intermediary products. Its communication may be B2B but it still has to tell a good story to make downstream businesses buy in and stay loyal. There are many smaller cases wherein an understanding of what is important to the target audience matters more than the actual product or service. Take for instance the case of a tech consultancy firm that supports its clients in their digital transformation journeys. If it had to narrate its brand story, it would have to do so in a touching way, explaining technical prowess in simple terms so that its true value can be appreciated.
Can reach further because it does not assume literacy
Especially in a country like India, where practical literacy levels are low, an audiovisual can make a much larger impact than textual content. More importantly, the language diversity can also be addressed by emotive images and storytelling.
Take, for example, a company with a pan-India presence that wishes to speak to its employees through a brand story. There are various aspects of such inter-regional storytelling that must be taken into account. Since a story appeals to the viewer only if, it feels familiar at some level, a brand story that is destined for different regions must fall back on emotions that are universal across the country. So while ‘love for family and country’ makes a great theme anywhere, including celebrations in a brand story could alienate those who do not partake in those festivals.
The above article is authored by Saurabh Sharma, CEO, Think WhyNot Films (TWN-F).