Anchor | One Big Idea by Arvind Sharma: Turning a story into two-way communication

08 Jan,2013

By Arvind Sharma, Chairman & CEO, Indian Subcontinent, Leo Burnett India


Television dominance led to the creation of the term ‘brand story’ because that is what TV does best – tell stories. A story by its nature is a one-way communication. There is one story-teller and many listeners.


Now technology-led changes are leading us into a world of two-way communication. How these will shape brands’ new approach to communications is the most interesting question. Some of us believe that brand communications will continue to be about brand stories with consumers as storytellers and multiple endings.


I believe that just like the TV-dominant era required a new way of thinking about brand communications/brand stories, a new way of thinking about brands is needed today. A way of thinking that will drive synergies through TV and print, social media, smartphones, mall activations, PR and branded content. In my view this new way of thinking will be ‘participation platforms’. The most important task for any brand will be to define its human purpose; design ‘participation platforms’ relevant to the purpose, and invite consumers to get involved and populate the brand with their thoughts, actions and emotions. Brands that get consumers to participate in their brand world through their participation platforms using multiple converging channels will enjoy an edge. By tapping into people’s energy to do and to be heard, participation-platform driven brands will have lower marketing costs and stronger consumer affinity.


At Leo Burnett, the participation platform approach shaped our thinking on Coke Studio. Coke Studio provided a wonderful platform for people to share, celebrate and spread happiness. And it is driving brand results. More campaigns based on this approach are on the way.


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