by Shashikant Someshwar
January 14th, 2016

India is in the midst of a digital revolution driven by an exponential rise in internet users. Internet is transforming our lives dramatically and redefining the way we interact, engage and build relationships with one another.

I would like to call 2016 ‘the year of engagement revolution’, because I believe it will set new benchmarks in the creation and dissemination of even the simplest of messages. This will dramatically alter our consumption habits and forge new pathways for marketers as far as brand engagement is concerned.

Power of Video Messaging

When I usually call out for popular or provoking campaign recalls of leading brands from the millennial or Gen Z segments, the striking tool of engagement is often video content and storytelling.

Take for example British Airways, and the popular recall is often the emotional digital video series of 2014 from the “Welcome of Home” or “Visit Mum” campaign that saw great appreciation and context match with the Indian diaspora.

Similarly, all popular Coca Cola campaigns are often referred to, shared or talked about from a digital video storytelling context. If we move away from brands to political or current affairs based conversations, we can see the growing popularity of even stand up comics such as AIB or Vir Das using video series to disseminate viewpoints and engage communities.

Consider this, over 4 billion video views happen on Facebook every single day. Snapchat delivers 7 billion video clips daily and more than 1.5 billion Vine loops are viewed every day. Not small change this, that our most loved social networking sites are becoming mobile video juggernauts.

While to most this might seem as a way to communicate, video is poised to become the most effective way to engage and transform the communication landscape in 2016. Brands and marketers will have to consciously adopt it as a centerpiece of their strategy in order to stay relevant.

Mobile is dramatically changing the way we lead our lives and is largely responsible for transforming consumption patterns. From awareness to purchase and adoption; the technology available in our hands is increasingly shaping our habits. And the stronghold of mobile video is good news for consumers. In fact, IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) has estimated that 35% of users are watching more video content on their mobiles as compared to last year.

The online video storytelling format will play an even more significant role in our engagement and information consumption in 2016. Here are some key principles that marketers and communication specialists must keep in mind:

DONT WASTE TIME: Time is money and no matter how exciting the platform or how scalable the idea might be, stick to the core message. Don’t deviate, don’t evade and don’t waste time because chances are that you will end up wasting money if you are not able to deliver the crux of your messaging within the first 30 seconds.

KEEP IT SHORT:  Few people care about long videos. Invest in good storytellers. Look out for people who can make you laugh, make a point, teach and understand in a matter of minutes.  These gems will help you tell your story; ensure mass consumption and a happy client.

GO LIVE, THAT’S WHERE THE PULSE IS: For a more immersive engagement with consumers, design a strategy that will allow you to propagate and broadcast content in real time. Get to know the script of the live show well in advance and unleash your storytellers to come up with engaging narratives for your consumers.

WHY NOT? : Ask this question more often but not without proper research and understanding of the subject matter. The advent of social media has opened an independent medium that allows you to be creative, in control of the core messaging and at the same time imbibe a call for action. Hence it is more about reimagining the box than trying to think out of the box. Once you have conviction with good reason, a capable team, and a sound measurement mechanism, you won’t fall short of driving home the point.

DROP YOUR AK47s AND PICK UP YOUR PISTOLS: Keep it simple. Speak a universal language and see the universe rally around you.  Take inspiration from Bollywood. Intertwining product stories within people stories will earn you many more likes than a stand-alone brand story.

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