Tag Archives: storytelling

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Every Caribbean Business Needs to Start This Now if They Want to Grow in 2017

As a digital media enthusiast, there are two people I look to. One is Gary Vaynerchuk, the ultimate hustler, and the other is Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist whom I had the pleasure of meeting on his visit to Ryerson University. Both men are accomplished authors. Gary’s books include, “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook”, “Crush It”, “#AskGaryVee”, and “Thank You Economy”, and Rushkoff authored “Programme or be Programmed” and “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus”. I see Gary as the practical industry practitioner and Rushkoff as the academic. However, both men agree with me on one thing, and that is, we live in an attention economy. The ultimate asset in business today is attention. Businesses are all vying for our attention and he who knows where to find the attention will win. I believe Caribbean businesses can find attention everywhere, but the variable of success could be much more valuable if underpriced or cheap attention is found.

Many Caribbean businesses invest a large part of their budget in radio and television advertising which often times does not pay the dividends that entrepreneurs envision. Admittedly, it would be irresponsible to declare that mass media advertising doesn’t work; however, much better ways to spend your advertising dollars exist. Let’s take Grenada for instance. As a business, you could advertise your products or services on Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) or Maitland Television (MTV) at premium cost. With such an investment especially for prime time programming, I am sure you would be able to reach the people you intend to. However, I think there are more effective ways to spend your money, reach the same or possibly more people when compared to television but at much lower costs, and that is using Facebook advertising.

The cheapest form of advertising right now and entering 2017 is Facebook advertising, and it will be the case for a while until everyone jumps on board which would most likely drive the cost up. Therefore, now is the time to start putting some of your advertising dollars into Facebook ads. Facebook is the most powerful social media platform in the world, outside countries like China. With 1.6 billion monthly active users and the ability to get as targeted as you desire, how could you lose? With Facebook ads, you could probably reach most in your country that are interested in a particular product, between a certain age, and of a particular gender. Let’s say, for instance; you have a product for women between the ages of 25 and 40. When you advertise on TV, do you have any guarantee that only women in the aforementioned age range would see your product? No, you don’t, but with Facebook ads you could. Now analyze your personal television watching habits. When you watch TV and the program breaks for advertisements, do you sit and intently watch all the ads, grab your phone to tweet or post on Facebook about what you’re watching, or do you use the time to get a glass of water or go to the restroom? Based on your personal admission, you may see why television advertisements may not be as effective even though it is costly.

Additionally, if you are an advertising or marketing agency, adding Facebook advertising to your services will be a huge boost for your business. One of the excuses I always hear is that people do not understand Facebook ads, but I have a secret weapon for you to learn about Facebook advertising. It’s called Google. You can learn anything from Google and Facebook advertising is no exception. Unfortunately, some persons falsely claim that Facebook ads do not work when they have never tried them. However, I challenge you to give it a shot because I have been running ads for the last two years, and I have been getting positive results. Therefore, try it and tell me how it goes.

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Ryerson MDM Storytelling Videos

Why Do Stories Spread? Join A Conversation Or Start A Conversation?

Last week, I attended a workshop held by the Transmedia Zone at Ryerson University. The host for the event was Douglas Rushkoff, one of the best media theorist today and author of the books “Programme or be Programmed” and “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus”. One of the many things he spoke about that was of interest to me was the issue of virality and what causes stories to spread. The topic of virality piqued my interest because it centers on rapidly and widely sharing information online which directly aligns with my Major Research project for my Master of Digital Media program.

In his presentation, Mr. Rushkoff indicated that stories go viral when the content that is being shared exists, but its story is not being told or a conversation about it is to be had. He illustrated his point with the example of Rodney King, an African-American taxi driver who was beaten by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. According to Rushkoff, the main reason why King’s story went viral was not because it was recorded and disseminated in the media; instead, it reached the far corners of the world because his experience shed light on an unfortunate issue that existed that finally got exposed. Mr. King’s beating brought the story of police brutality and how police dealt with African Americans in the Unites States of America to the fore. It was widely known that police cruelty was a problem in the black community; however, the act was never caught on tape and publicized until then. So because someone recorded Rodney King’s beating, it was enough to spark a response from the black community. With the tape as an overwhelming piece of evidence, people were prepared to spread it to get the conversation on police brutality started.

I was reading a book called “Spreadable Media” by Henry Jenkins et al., and it is in direct contrast to Mr. Rushkoff. In his book, Jenkins mentions that content and stories spread online when people take part in a conversation that is already taking place. Interestingly, Jenkins even used the writings of Rushkoff to justify his position. Consequently, when given the chance to ask for clarity and seek Mr.Rushkoff’s stance on the matter, I pointed out the two points of view to him at which point he made it known that he does not agree with Jenkins. He stated that he does not think that content spreads when it’s part of an ongoing or existing conversation; instead, it has greater reach when it is part of a conversation that people are not currently having.

Personally, I think both men have a point, and my belief merges the two concepts. I believe virality results when non-mainstream content that many know exist is shared. Consequently, it gives people a voice to express themselves based on what their experience or what they see while evoking the feelings of others that empathize, share the same attitudes or concerns, or in some cases contradict their opinions which then lead to greater sharing or spread of information. Therefore, in the simplest sense, if at least one other person can relate to or denounce something I believe is worth sharing, the individual might share the content as a means of consciously or subconsciously showing solidarity for a common opinion or possibly as a show of opposition. Others then become exposed to the information and the cycle of sharing continues.

I hope to work with brands and communities to help them create their stories and spread them to the masses. Currently, I am doing some more research into this idea of why stories spread online. I am quite excited about this area, and once my research is concluded, I will share my findings.

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Creative Ryerson MDM Social Media Storytelling

Storytelling is the new Marketing, Branding, and other Good stuff in Business

I was sitting watching Mcguyver on demand when I received a video from an acquaintance from one of the online groups I am a part of. The video was about a guy with some religious message, and I decided not to even bother to watch it. However, while I was posting an image on Whatsapp a few minutes later, the video started playing, and the guy started telling a story about a civilian that saved a soldier’s life. The story highlighted that the civilian’s mom wanted to abort him a few years earlier, and the mother of the soldier whose life he ended up saving sat with her and encouraged her to keep the baby. The story got me hooked, and I watched the entire video, even the message after the story.

That got me thinking; it validated what I have been working on for the past few months; storytelling is how Brands can use their story to grow their businesses. Gary Vaynerchuck stated that he day trades attention and build businesses. To him, the ultimate asset in business , in this internet led era in which we live, is attention. Therefore it is of utmost importance to find ways to get and keep this asset. I believe that to get the attention, we need to tell stories.

In January 2016, a tourist (Jessica Colker)was murdered while exploring a deserted beach while on vacation in Grenada. Note well, Grenada is my home country.The incident generated lots of international media interest; most of it negative. The coverage painted a picture of a dangerous, barbaric island with savage people and where rapists and murderers roam freely.  Some literature even issued travel warnings and advisories.

As a Grenadian, Colker’s murder stunned me; particularly because Grenada is one of the safest and friendliest Caribbean islands with extremely low crime rates. I anticipated the coverage given the international ties of the victim, however, what I did not expect was the very negative image that was painted of Grenada and Grenadians like me. This sparked the creation of the #IamGrenadian counter-project to share the real stories of Grenada and Grenadians online.

Six months later, the Facebook page  garnered 11,000 likes and massive engagement; that’s when I realized that storytelling was a powerful way to shape a brand’s narrative online. As part of my Masters Degree in Digital Media, I am currently working on the best way that brands can tell their stories across multiple platforms. I will keep everyone updated on my progress. I am not going to talk about the benefits of storytelling or the steps to create a story; these can be found with a quick search on google or by visiting the business of story website. Nevertheless, storytelling is the future, and I will be writing about the different ways a story can be created and shared across multiple platforms. Stay tuned for progress updates on my research.

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