By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran, Special Features Writer
In the time that the world was shut inside due to the pandemic, the world of business has seen many drastic changes, not least of all how consumers see companies and brands. The pandemic hit hard, and in such times of hardship, many were naturally not at all inclined to buy the traditional marketing ads and gimmicks that were popular in the past.
Miri Rodriguez, an award-winning and globally recognized storyteller at Microsoft as well as the owner and chief executive officer of Be Mindful Be Happy and best-selling author of the award-winning book Brand Storytelling, recognized such a shift in the younger generations of consumers, who were more conscientious about a brand’s story, mission, core values, and social stances before establishing a relationship with it.
“Conscious consumerism had emerged and then the pandemic accelerated this trend even more as humanity was given a unique opportunity through the tragic global events to rethink the way they lived, engaged, leveraged their time, invested their money,” Ms. Rodriguez told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.
“Today, this consumer behavior is prevalent in almost all generational cohorts and consumers are not only more conscientious about how and where they want to invest in (not just befriend) a brand but they are expecting brands to tell their stories and showcase their human traits as part of the selling package.”
In turn, she added, brands are becoming more aware of the need to humanize themselves through stories, showcasing of humans behind the brand, demonstrating social stances, and having a voice, hence the continued need to learn more about storytelling as a business practice.
Ms. Rodriguez, who will be the key speaker in a Brand Master Session hosted by the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA) centered on the theme ‘From Story Designing to Storytelling: How brands should engage with their customers today’, will highlight the importance of stories to the core human experience as it is fundamental to how human beings connect to one another.
As the pandemic has been a shared global struggle, she said that brands need to lead with empathy to humanize themselves and become in tune with the needs of their customers.
“The biggest lesson is that any adversity of this depth and magnitude will always bring us back to the core human needs we possess. As such, brands that want to keep relevant through these critical moments, should remember that while these moments are temporary, they can leave a great brand legacy by tuning into their customer’s humanity with empathy, remove the transactional aspect of the relationship and forge a deeper bond that will undoubtedly transcend business to client expectations and establish brand loyalty for the long run,” she said.
“To me, stories and communications are at the heart of every business and an essential part of the human connectedness approach,” she added.
Ms. Rodriguez holds a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Georgetown University. Through more than 15 years in her career, she has been directly involved in the marketing, communications, and storytelling fields through several verticals of businesses.
She will be joined in her Brand Master Session by Professor Alberto G. Mateo, Jr. from the Asian Institute of Management, who will speak on the topic “Business Insights and Implications from the Recent Adversities,” and Leigh Reyes from MullenLowe TREYNA who will talk about “Brand Personas Resulting from the Pandemic from an Agency POV.” It will be held on Nov. 4, 10 a.m., via Zoom.
“I’m really excited to deliver this session and talk more about brand storytelling from a design perspective. There’s a misconception around storytelling that it’s just telling the stories. But it takes careful intention and design to craft stories that truly matter and are impactful,” Ms. Rodriguez said.
“In this session, I will be sharing my storytelling methodology which is centered around Design Thinking principles and will share examples of how I’ve employed these steps to deliver successful stories as well as some insights and case studies from brands who leverage these principles during the pandemic and are winning today! I can’t wait to connect with everyone at this event! See you all on Nov. 4 for the PANA Brand Master Sessions.”
For more details and to register, visit PANA Facebook page or pana.com.ph.
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