The art of storytelling a must-learn for brands: Erik Johnson

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | April 04, 2012
The first day of the India Social Summit saw Erik Johnson, vice-president, APAC, Facebook emphasise on the need for brands to tell a story to consumers as it is important to build essential connection.

The first day of the India Social Summit held at the Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon on April 4 saw Erik Johnson, vice-president, APAC, Facebook emphasise on the need for brands to tell a story as it helps to build an essential connection between a brand and a customer.

Johnson started the session by citing the example of Facebook Timeline and how it encourages people to tell stories by capturing various moments of their lives. He said, "Consumers are no longer spectators. Rather, they play a role in deciding a brand's role. A brand is no longer what we tell the consumers but what the consumer tells us. Therefore, it is important to tell a story so that the consumer can be a part of that story."

He cited the example of how a woman called Deb clicked a picture and posted on her wall about a rash her little son had developed. Soon, she got a call from one of her friends, who suggested her to take the boy immediately to a hospital.

Deb, who rushed to the hospital, was later informed by the doctors that her son had a rare immunity disease. As she was informed on time, Deb was able to save her son.

Next, Johnson remarked, "Globally, about 850 million people are connected via Facebook, of which 425 million remain connected from their mobiles and 500 million people log on from their computers. Facebook receives 2 billion posts every day and 250 million photos are uploaded every day. In India, currently it has a user base of 50 million people. The social network site is swarmed with information every day."

"People tend to listen to who matters the most to them and the social network allows people to follow those who they consider important. And, it is here that 'Unique Identity' created on social networks plays an important role," added Johnson.

Then he stressed on how earlier people lived in a more integrated world, where they were aware about their neighbours and interacted with them. However, all this has changed with time. With social networks, the interaction has become more targeted. Also, brands, too, now have targeted communication.

He explained, "It is no more about blasting a message. Communication needs to be more specific and targeted. For example, using the Facebook Page Post or Newsfeed, brands can have a natural and authentic conversation, which the consumer would value more."

Concluding his presentation, Johnson emphasised that while the traditional medium of advertising will exist, the new medium will play a bigger role in targeted and one-to-one communication between brands and consumers.

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