Starting up: I collect stories
I am a collector of memories and stories. At the time that Blogging entered my life in 2003, sitting in the computer laboratory as an intern, I wrote about trees having emotions and a acute sense of not belonging to a group of people. Studying in a city 3000 Kms away from where the family was and especially where I hardly understood the language, this feeling was commonplace. I spent years writing and documenting on my little hobby blog. It allowed me to build a story-house of carefully crafted commentary over a long period of growing up, traveling and being who I am, creating a truly organic space.
The Cringing Disturbances With Online Content
With the proliferation of social media platforms, gurus, experts, hackers, and commentators, the space became crowded. I saw every blog with cynicism. Many sponsored posts from Bloggers came with zero commercial information for the reader. To reach Google’s page one people copied and plagiarized content. Originality of thought was somehow replaced with who is the fastest to use the latest scandals to get some viral shares piggybacking on an existing news report. Photoshopped images seemed to be all that the networks cared about backed by vanity metrics of “how many likes did you get?” Comments and discussions on Blogs were replaced by- here’s my link. Junk websites with poor quality content were often outranking really well thought out pieces. One could argue a Google rank is not all that there is, but on the other hand, it was the single biggest source of reach. The Internet had democratized Content Creation & Sharing but these came with their own problems. This disturbed me endlessly.
Then I found the real issues with Original Content
Finally when I started working with a couple of smaller companies and Startups, the issues started appearing:
a) Monkey see, monkey do: It didn’t matter to brand managers if their brand should be on a certain platform, they were doing it because the competitor was. And while the truth is you need to be where the consumers are, without a strategic approach it wasn’t working. People were thriving off randomness.
b) I have no time: To invest in original content, to hire resources to create content, to manage content projects, to design, to think…because it’s not impacting my bottom line. And the reality is, it never would unless you devote time to it. There was no one available from the CEO to the design intern everyone was busy. Perpetually.
c) The desert of ideas: Once a hiring manager said, “oh but everyone has ideas”. No. Unfortunately it’s rarely true. Everyone instead, likes to share opinions, criticize, and seldom comes up with a new idea that can create impact. Even if they do, they usually don’t have hands-on experience with implementation, and those ideas then just go nowhere. In addition, with 10 jobs per person, there is no time to collaborate. So, everyone just goes for a vacation instead.
What Could I Do Beyond Complaining?
I am not a whiner. And yet I had been complaining about the state of affairs since forever. In fact, the first time I ever wrote about plagiarism of my Content on social media was in 2005. People thought it was ok to copy-paste without crediting the original creator. These same people then worked in companies and continued stealing. Since no one had the time or resources but still need to be creating content. It was their Catch-22.
…I thought about Brandanew
Whether you were a large company, a small business, a startup or an individual looking for original content ideas and strategy, where could you go? What was the resource? Finding new Ghost writers and being unauthentic? Or hiring new interns? Or agencies which outsourced the pieces further on?
My solution was to create a firm that allowed companies interested exactly in not hiring inexperience and tardy agency relationships but going to one with experience, ideas and the right attitude. I decided to quit complaining that the world was dying with Content thieves, and instead provide a service that allowed people to have an alternative to stealing. Original content that was relevant to their target groups and connected to their brand tonality and positioning. Content that didn’t come across as a copy paste from a robot but from real people.
But, but it’s a small dot in the Online universe…
It is and that’s exactly what it takes to make a small difference. The more companies and individuals I am able to help with original content- the more brownie points it will add up to my karma I say. Small acts add up in the end. So does jumping to do something that you’re passionate about and think through in your dreams and on beach vacations.
One day, we will collect all the 7 billion stories and bring them out to the world, unabused and textured to add richness to our brand narratives. There’s hope. And, this is mine.
Upasna Kakroo is the Co-Founder of Content Marketing & Branding Startup @brandanewco (http://www.brandanew.co/) helping brands and individuals generate original content and strategize their Content Marketing & Branding efforts. She has been blogging since 12 years and has previously worked in McKinsey, Rocket Internet in roles juggling between technology, branding and online marketing.