This article is written by Usamah Naveed.
“No child will ever ask you to read a newspaper at bed time. They want you to tell them a story. So do your consumers.” – Bharat Avalani
Bharat Avalani, fondly known as ‘the memory collector’ is a serial marketer from Malaysia with over 25 years of experience in Brand Management, Consumer Insights, Media Strategy, Brand Activation, Market Development, and Integrated Brand Communications.
He is a Unilever veteran who has crisscrossed over 65 countries leaving his mark wherever he goes. He is an expert in designing and delivering brand experiences through story-telling. In order to infuse his methodology into the Pakistani business ecosystem, Change Mechanics invited Mr. Bharat Avalani to address an audience of business community leaders and executives in Pakistan.
In partnership with Hashoo Group, Change Mechanics organized story telling workshops in Lahore (Pearl Continental Hotel) and Islamabad (Marriott Hotel) on 13th and 14th December, 2018. These workshops were held to aid Pakistan’s business community leaders in enhancing their understanding of brand identity and the story behind it. Mr. Avalani carried out activities to engage the audience and provided a few pointers for people to learn and follow. He explained the science of storytelling and its importance.
“A story is a fact wrapped in context and delivered with emotion. For a business leader it is very important to have storytelling skills for them to be more engaging, influential, and inspiring” – Bharat Avalani
The workshops entirely revolved around grasping storytelling as a tool. The attendees themselves were executives and/or board members at each of their organizations, who would normally find themselves in situations where their words would have a meaningful impact on others around them. There were discussions on how to add finesse to speaking skills and transform a bunch of mediocre sentences into captivating stories. However, a deeper understanding of the concept was essential.
So, Mr. Avalani categorized stories into two styles; contextual and factual. An activity was carried out among the participants with the purpose of realizing each other’s story-telling styles, identifying which style suits them best and how to improve them. The audience was intrigued as to how impactful this exercise turned out to be.
Finally, and most importantly, the workshop focused on helping the participants craft out their own version of a perfect story and put that into practice. Mr. Avalani explained how every story includes a set of standard elements such as time, place, context, discussions and questions. Apart from that, he also taught the participants that every story has a hidden purpose which needs to resonate throughout.
For example a success story should entail a problem and a solution, and in order to emphasize on the success element we need to show a past success illustrating how the sponsor felt before the solution, and then how they felt after the solution.
After understanding the dynamics of storytelling, participants were asked to create their own stories keeping all of these factors in mind. They were called up on the stage to read aloud the stories they created and to show everyone what they had learned. The participants also received certificates for being a part of this hands-on training workshop.