[Interview] Prahlad Kakkar on RoI of storytelling on social media

Social media is the one place where consumers don’t expect advertisements. They wish to socialise and get entertained – any ad push that hampers this experience doesn’t go down well. Storytelling is the one way to overcome this issue. But, then rises the ultimate debate – RoI or creativity.

Prahlad Kakkar, leading Indian Ad Film Director speaks at length with Social Samosa about how veteran brands can rise above linear storytelling and justify RoI.

How can brands rise above linear storytelling on social media?

Brands can only rise out of linear storytelling by being interactive and involving the consumer in a constant dialogue, so the adds actually become the trigger ,the interaction has a life of its own and the easiest way to do that is to first touch the consumer in some manner emotionally or economically and then offering him a reward weather its an emotional reward or a real award like free bees, holidays, etc and for that you have to challenge the consumer to display some skills and some knowledge of his which he can be rewarded for. The best way to collect the accurate analytical data on consumer behaviour and response is to very subtly ask questions which reveal certain traits of consumer behaviour. This becomes invaluable for the manufacturer to actually understand its consumers and can be very rewarding and insightful.

Creativity in creating content on social media often gets restricted when the team has to define RoI. How can one explain RoI on content marketing?

You can’t define ROI on content part, you can only eventually hope to translate ROI in a complex process of engagement, eyeballs and likes, because what social media does is creates a climate of positivity for your brand. It can then be exploited through a combination of other mediums.

Please suggest 5 things that content creators need to keep in mind owing to the tiny attention span of social media users

Engaging stories which are either emotional, relevant, funny or which deals with human interest factors like love, hate ,pain, hunger, deprivation, loss, gain, victory, etc so that once hooked into a good story your consumer does not stray or become restless and move on but it is riveted by your storytelling abilities and then you can treat him to world of rewards and keep him engaged because of the material benefits that he is getting or by the knowledge he is getting, or by the advantage he gets by everybody else because you offer it to him.

Lust, greed, aspiration, love, hate are strongest motivational factor in any medium not just social.

How would you define the conflict between creativity and business value? How can brands create a balance?

There is no conflict,  you can either be pedantic an alienate your consumer or you can be interesting, sexy, relevant and engage your consumers, by not making it obvious that all you are interested is in picking his pocket. One way street is over it has to be mutually beneficial so you have to make your product value message in human interest stories with the reward at the end. The days of hitting your consumer repeatedly with a cudgel of mediocrity or one sided information are over now is the age of seduction and it takes two to tango.

What are the storytelling trends that you foresee in the social media space?

Stories that have multiple ending, where the consumer can choose and participate so that it becomes as much as his story as yours and then you should allow him authorship to put signature on his combinations of beginning end and middle and give him ownership of the same he will love you for it.


Mr. Prahlad Kakkar was the key note speaker at SMWiBLR 2016