‘Don’t give them 4. Give them 2+2’

Effective storytelling is among the few units I teach in my first-year composition course. Every semester, I show Andrew Stanton’s TED Talk, “The Clues to a Great Story,” to the students and ask them to reflect on the traditional methods in storytelling and how they can tweak the ways to make their personal narratives interesting.

Following the steer to tell compelling stories, Entrepreneur publishes the following infographic to explain why “readers” today don’t have time to read anymore and how strategic communicators could cut through the digital noise to market to their audience. Essentially, the secrets are to:

  1. Show, not tell. The same-old advice from the ad folks – transform exposition into experience.
  2. Give bite-sized information. Follow Stanton’s strategy – no one has the time to digest huge chunk of text anymore.
  3. Write attention-grabbing headlines, copy. You have 3 seconds. Capture my attention!
  4. Use personal narratives. Audience wants real stories. The more dramatic the better.
  5. Give information in bulk. Avoid tediousness, save my time by giving me the package (information).

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Heineken Campaign Challenges Routine Lifestyle, Invent Possibilities

Hats off to the brains behind the recent Heineken campaign, where travelers are challenged to drop everything – their planned trips, responsibilities – to take on an unknown route to a mysterious location.

The campaign is designed to confront our regular lifestyle – an always-busy, planned, often-stressful, and indifferent lifestyle. The impact of venture comes in multiple fold. First and foremost, it reminds us of how aloof we are toward this short journey called life. It wakes us from the numbness of our supercilious acts, day in and day out.

Second, it brings back the excitement in life by pushing us to make unreasonable decisions. This is a piece of puzzle in life we’re all seeking every day. Being able to break free from our reasonable lifestyle is freeing our sanity from structure, boredom, and indifference. While being reasonable means constraining oneself from inventing possibilities, being unreasonable means doing something out of the blue – something that you’re compelled to do, with a rational mindset – to be responsible and have fun doing it.

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“Legends are not born, they are dropped,” spelled the campaign tagline. This is not the first outrageous campaign that Heineken has pulled together but definitely a notch up from their previous stunts. This new campaign is also inline with Heineken’s brand personality, which shines bright through their company tagline: “Open New World.”

Indeed, “Legends” are not apathetic people but those who are willing to create their own life, inventing new possibilities of which the reasonable consciousness seems to avoid.

So what have I learnt from Heineken? Be a wild magnolia. Challenge indifference. Invent life.

More from Heineken (previous challenges):

  1. Would you pass the Heineken interview?
  2. Heineken tests true friendship
  3. Heineken brings out the ultimate man in oneself

Considering Audience, Message, and Action in Social Advertising

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Audience theory has been in existence since the emergence of mass communication/media studies. In fact, the best way to measure the success of any message is to gather audience feedback. However, in traditional advertising, the audience is simply the group of individuals that advertisers are interested in speaking to. They can be grouped or segmented by demographic and psychographic properties. However, in the social media world, audiences share connectedness and a sense of community among online users (Gangadharbatia, 2012). Audiences on social media usually organize themselves into clicks and groups, which can be an advantage for advertisers in segmenting and identifying potential target market.

Another distinction in social media audience, from their traditional counterparts, is the erasure of boundaries – both time and space. When considering communication strategies for the social media platforms, advertisers and marketers should pay attention to the limitation and opportunities for conversations in the open webspace.

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Similar to audience theory, several message theories exist that explain how information propagates in a traditional media context. The two-step flow model of communication and opinion leadership are examples of these. However, these concepts could be adapted to study online advertising. For social media “there are fewer or no gatekeepers, and the barriers to entry are relatively low” (Gangadharbatia, 2012). Hence, brands and organizations are forced to become more open and transparent. Even so, communication strategists should continue to explore ways to engage audience in their marketing plans. As technology makes it easier to create and share content, many creative strategies involve user-generated content and audience participation.

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Erik Qualman (2009), author of Socialnomics, said that individuals no longer look for information; rather, information finds individual on social media (Gangadharbatia, 2012). This changes our traditional perception of how the message propagates through the channel – social media users have more control than traditional media users, and information presents itself in individuals based on different social contexts. [Note to self:] While collecting user perception of online/social advertising, it is important to remember its differences from traditional media message propagation and the actions it may incur.

Image (top-bottom): Appitive, theconversationprism, buzzshift