LISTEN GOLDFISH. I WANT TO TELL YOU A STORY
Content’s only demand to an audience that unapologetically and famously leaves things unfinished.
And why shall we not? #spoiltforchoice can easily be the hashtag of this new world. Still, isn’t it strange that 90% of times when you pop the question of the best story they encountered ever, the references are mostly memoirs of the dusty, carelessly stacked, old Once upon Time archives.
We love the old.
We live the new.
And what we really are interested in is ONE HELL OF A GREAT STORY!
What is great story? Who is a great storyteller?
The first great idea to me is the sequence of events of a story. And the emotion it strikes among readers or listeners.
Let’s take a step back before we step into the future. As life progressed on earth, it blessed us with the gifts of technology, but it also began to get boring. We had flying objects that took us to the skies. But we sorely missed the idea of a flying carpet.
Basically Science entered. And Magic poofed away!
And so did tragedy, heightened emotions and drama.
The genius of a storyteller often lies in identifying the emotion that will hold dear forever. Hence stalwarts of the writing world picked some emotions and experiences deeply rooted in life & death. Popular story formats started emerging and garnered immense popularity among geographies and readers in spite of the striking similarities between them.
Hence we see that a woman in Amritsar will love Laila Majnu with the same spirit that she will hold on to Heer Ranjha. Or maybe the Verona cupid struck Romeo & Juliet.
The second great of storytelling is based on another golden rule of the new world- LESS IS MORE.
Once upon a time, is certainly timeless. But not if you have less time. A brilliant storyteller today can convey his message by speaking maybe a word or two. Or a word into two.
An example I hold close to my heart in this reference is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class W212 ‘Sorry’ commercial. Yes. It is a two word story. The word is Sorry. Twice. And I doubt Mercedes has cracked the communication code any better than this ever after. This was gold!
A third very crucial point that brands need to endorse to is the fact that storytelling for their products or services needs to adapt to capture the interest of their audience by telling a story or reciting it in a way that the customer identifies with a thread unifying the two stories- the story of the brand & the story of a customer.
Swiggy is to me, the hero of online storytelling. At a time, when direct emailers were becoming the keep away, the taboo of marketing plans, Swiggy attempted a creative leap of faith. They used their technology to study my food ordering habits and based on that knowledge wrote to me this beautiful emailer which summarised the exact number of meals I had ordered, the orders I put into the cart but left unordered, the cuisines that were my favorite, the dishes that I had made it till my plate the most that year. This email was sent on the first day of the year, with a Thank you and All the best for the New Year! I suddenly felt special, loved, favored, celebration-worthy. And then I did what the sly creative aimed at. I ordered a cake from Swiggy!
Sly, Yes. Brilliant, YES YES YESSS!
Swiggy still continues to write personalized emails to me(their customers) along with pictures of great food. And I fall prey often.
Good storytelling will move you. Intelligent storytelling will move you enough to put your money on the table.
I would like to burst a myth here.
Storytelling is not about words. Sorry, Storytelling is not just about words.
In modern storytelling, yes when you are talking to the Goldfish, they need to know your story, the very first time they have their eyes on you. Your colour, your shape, even your edges…everything you bare, is narrating your story.
New Indian startups are living by this rule. A good example is a Cult.fit (Health and Fitness), Cure.fit’s logo. One looks at it and you get the famous Vitruvian man of Da Vinci and the clear message of the human body’s potential to stretch, move, evolve, commit to growth & like they say #bebettereveryday. For those who do not know Da Vinci and his masterpiece, the logo still has a splash of high octane energy and extreme movement vibe.
The way I understand it today, a good story is like a grandma’s kitchen recipe. It gets passed on generation to generation and eventually one story concludes with many different versions.
This practice is ancient, but also has adapted to modern storytelling. An interesting example from the ancient is one of the most popular stories of Indian mythology- The Ramayana. Though the first text was scripted by Valmiki, this dramatic epic has seen a twist in the story as it moved Southern(Kamba Ramayana), Eastern India(Krittivasi Ramayana) & even South East Asia particularly Thailand(Ramakein), Burma(Yama Zatdaw) & Indonesia(Kakawin Ramayana).
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A great story’s canvas is so large that it opens room for adaptations by equally fascinating storytellers. Now here is the detail. A good storyteller will confirm the story and shape it to suit a certain imagination that his mind and creativity bring forth. A bad storyteller only adds gibberish. An example of this is a very unfortunate one. True stories are delicate business. And a storytellers’ accountability to telling a true story should be fact based and precise. Bad press is a good example of the adaption of stories gone wrong. This gets more severe with the advent of virtual platforms and troll stigma.
While we can go write a full series on this, we intended to address the Goldfish first and foremost. So we shall just do that. There are two things that you must know when you talk to a goldfish.
The Goldfish speaks only in one language: The Goldfish language.
Customize your story based on the age, space, the language, the gender, the demographics that represent the Goldfish – Himika GangulyTweet
How many of us knew Bata is a Swiss brand till you read about it? They customised, communicated and fitted so well to the Indian Goldfish psyche.
And yes, the Goldfish might not remember the entire fish tank, but it will certainly remember the meaty worm you feed it. In the form of Life altering lines. Taglines. How do you forget a great tagline. They take room forever.
“Stores do not like People. They like credit cards.” Just like they said it in the evergreen Pretty Woman.
Or the way they say it now!
Snapdeal- Dil ki deal
Pepper Fry- Happy Furniture to You
I hope you are inspired to write a new story today and share it with the world.
Happy Storytelling to you!
About Himika Ganguly
A Marketing and Corporate Communications professional with knowledge and experience in the field of Brand Management, Content Ideation, Execution & Marketing of Events, Strategic Alliances – Social Media Management, Public Relations, Media Planning & Media Management She is an author of two fictional books, The Great Indian Matrimonial Tamasha & Her Day in His Life. She is also a Guest Faculty at many B-Schools. Founder of a Social Media Channel (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)- Day Dreamers by Himika which interviews unconventional talents/career paths/startups.
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