Ain’t no straight lines anymore.

Circular storytelling has helped us grab our gold fish attention-span online to an extent that don’t mind watching that one minute trailer for a new OTT series.

“Why did they show Snape is the killer in the promo, oh no!” My cousin and her utter pure fandom for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in which Dumbledore dies was so disturbing that she barely enjoyed her ice cream scoops with me. That’s how deep linear storytelling ran in our blood. We’re a country of folktales, deep-rooted storytelling tactics and dramabaazisince school. No matter which generation of X, Y or G we belong to, we know how to enjoy a good story. Now bring yourself back to 2020. Have you noticed how we don’t react much to movements within story lines and time frames? Circular instead of linear storytelling has helped us grab our gold-fish-attention-span online, so much so that we don’t mind watching that one minute trailer for a new OTT series. To take things a step further, promos of films and series aren’t always an extract from their core content now anymore. Few editors are making a separate file named ‘PromoCuts’ for pre-release promotions on-air and online. Instead, it’s a new story from within the core story that is brought alive to capture your attention. How? Think of Uri’s promo which was a stage crafted media press release in which the film’s core message was given out in a real-life, live shoot manner. This promo must be playing live in your head now as you read this and is probably remembered the most as compared to any other promo of a chocolate-boy-chasing-towards-you-on-a-bullet. No wonder, it bagged many awards due to its out-of-the-box, non-linear style of storytelling. So, is non-linear an out-of-the-box style always now? No, it’s a new normal that exists, we have to take notice of it. More than this question above, we need to understand the viewer and his/her behaviour, value and interest framework rather than to look for an instant answer to any question about viewership. Why? Simple because once we know how the mind works, we know what to do far better and sharper. Consumers today are well-equipped and well-educated about brands. Their path to purchase isn’t linear anymore so how can their behaviour be? This could be one of the core reasons why brands are launching or operating within a simple hit-strike-and-go 3 month window of engagement, operating within paid and social media – the 2 categories evaluated by standard metrics for ROI for anything and everything. According to my planner friends, the Total Customer Value (TCV) is no longer calculated only on the number of repeat purchases or the amount spent; advocacy and engagement is the only way we can make it more holistic and aligned to complete the cycle of human purchase behaviour. We know that consumers are faced with a surplus. So, what are the ways in which we can reach them without using or being a straight line anymore? 1.Brands should be more farsighted and believe in the power of building the reasons of their existence for their consumers i.e. — SOULFUL Branding. They need to adopt a holistic yet perfectly balanced thinking of brand purpose and performance marketing in their post-COVID19 content marketing strategy. 2. The need of the hour is Brand Purpose led content marketing which then further branches into various objectives such as creating realisation, awareness, consideration, preference, purchase (repeat) and advocacy. 3. Always looking for conversion rates? Yes, we get it but for better conversion rates, the consumers’ rationale has to buy a specific product that is driven by a ‘value’, hence, ‘best value for money’ becomes the core proposition and is established within the content/communication around brands owning the category with product benefits like – best price perception, meaningful selection and variety, friendly post purchase policies, etc. Most importantly, I strongly believe,: 4. We have to now more than ever, align our audiences’ passion and become relevant to them so they care for us in return. They will convert as our buyers only when their purchase rationale (trigger) is your brand’s purpose. Otherwise, not.

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