From being a blogger to creating a mini empire of sorts, which has gone beyond the digital space with TV shows and online radio; from being the go-to influencer for brands looking to connect with the millennial consumer to now becoming an author, Malini Agarwal, or MissMalini as she is popularly known, has had quite an interesting journey.
Agarwal who is the Founder and Creative Director of MissMalini Entertainment created her niche by focusing on Bollywood and Indian TV news, celebrity gossip, fashion trends, beauty tips, and lifestyle updates. It was no surprise then that the keyword for her session was ‘entertainment’.A product of the internet age, Agarwal drew similarities between the internet and other mediumssuch as television, print, radio, etc.for consuming entertainment and more importantly, the ‘story’.
Using the internet to tell a good story
Proclaiming, “I love entertainment”, Agarwal said “entertainment made me feel something—happy, sad, angry, sometimes confused, and that’s the secret to good entertainment.” Drawing parallels with a good story,she said that a good story makes you emote even without any human interaction. She cited examples of good storytelling, courtesy Bollywood, which taught her several lessons in life. Similarly, she spoke of brands that tell really good stories, elaborating, “Nike has taught me to have the guts to ‘Just Do It’, Apple has taught me to think differently, Airbnb has taught me that I belong anywhere, and Redbull has given wings and that is what’s important. When you tell a story that reflects a human experience, you form a connection that resonates with your audience.A story must inspire an emotional reaction. The trick, however, is to be authentic because consumers aren’t stupid,” she said.
What makes a good brand story?
With brands being driven a lot by perception, Agarwal says a brand story isn’t what you tell people. It is also based on the signals a consumer sends, with the story being made up of facts, feelings, and interpretations. This can also mean that your story is probably not told by you but by the company you keep.“The beautiful thing about the internet is that you don’t have to tell your story alone. You can find your virtual BFFs (best friends forever) and do it together,” she said.
Decoding influencer marketing
With the term‘influencer marketing’ on everyone’s radar, Agarwal decipheredit to say, “Influencer marketing means that you are connecting with people who already have virtual families and they are helping to take your audience to the best parties in town with the most popular people and as a result, you are going to become popular as well.”
Go to where the party is!
Agarwal went on to equate the internet with “a never-ending game of tag where you have to go out and find your audience, which means that you have to go where the action is and you have to go dressed the part.” This means that one must have an understanding of the different mediums and how to use them. So, while Facebook is a great place to share links, content, and multimedia formats, Twitter is great for conversations and interaction with your idols and celebrities. Instagram is visually appealing with Insta Story helping to build engagement while Snapchat helps create stories.
Interestingly, while many believe that digital will lead to less consumption of television, Agarwal has a different take on this. “People think that in the age of the internet, you have to ignore terrestrial media, but that’s not true. In India, television is still important but what’s interesting is that the content that millennials are consuming even on television is the kind of content that is being created for the internet,”she said.
Agarwal also stressed that the internet is a two-way conversation and it is important that you interact and engage with the person on the other side. “The internet for me is a second life with real people and real feelings and if you treat it that way then you will tell me a great story. In fact, you will tell a great one,” she concluded.