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Going Beyond the Logo: How to use narrative to explain what you do - Chirag Nijjer (Branding Keynote Speaker at - Self-Help E123

Going Beyond the Logo: How to use narrative to explain what you do - Chirag Nijjer (Branding Keynote Speaker at - Self-Help E123

Chirag Nijjer

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⚡️ In each episode, Paddy Dhanda deep dives into a new human Superpower to help you thrive in the age of AI.

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This episode delves into the fascinating world of storytelling in marketing, exploring its profound impact on branding, business growth, and personal development. Chirag Nijjer, a marketing expert and TikTok influencer, joins host Paddy Dhanda to share insights from his journey and practical strategies for effective storytelling.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The Essence of Branding Through Storytelling: Chirag highlights the crucial role of storytelling in branding, emphasizing how it connects consumers to products beyond mere logos or features.

  2. Practical Storytelling Techniques: The discussion pivots to practical storytelling techniques, with Chirag providing insights into his approach. He discusses the AIDA marketing funnel (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) and its application in personal and professional contexts. Chirag also outlines the six types of stories crucial for branding: Origin, Culture, Product, Societal, Customer, and Future Stories.

  3. Personal Branding and Storytelling in the Professional World: The conversation also covers the importance of storytelling in personal branding, even for individuals not running a business. Chirag underscores that everyone has a story to tell, and effectively narrating this story can significantly influence how others perceive and interact with you in professional settings.

Episode Highlights:

  • Chirag's journey from growing up in a small business family to becoming a marketing and branding expert.

  • The power of storytelling in transforming perceptions and influencing customer behaviour.

  • Discussion on Punjabi culture and its influence on Chirag's personal and professional life.

  • The criticality of having clear and specific goals (KPIs) in marketing and personal endeavours.

  • The importance of authenticity and transparency in the workplace.

Resources Mentioned:

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Chirag Nijjer

"Chirag makes you want to stay in a 60-minute workshop for 60 more minutes" - With an online audience of 60k+ followers & 6.1M+ views, Chirag is a recognized expert in simplifying complex business concepts into practical advice. With compelling digital content and global speaking engagements, he employs dynamic real-world storytelling to help entrepreneurs navigate toward setting clear objectives and following research-backed methods.

In his “9-to-5”, Chirag is a Platinum Customer Success Lead at Google. He works with some of the world's largest global brands, as an expert in crisis management and proactive problem-solving.

His accolades include the Hunsicker Business Studies Award, a Dyer Innovation Fellowship, and appointments as a Whitman Economics Fellow, Dyer Innovator-in-Residence, and a Global Ventures Judge.

If you’d like to get in touch, reach out to!


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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Burt’s Bees Story

[00:00:00] Paddy Dhanda: Burt Shavitz a former photo journalist in New York had turned his back on the hustle and bustle of city life. He opted for a simpler, more tranquil existence in the Backwoods of Maine. The Eastern most state of the New England region of America. But took up beekeeping. It was a humble yet solitary life far removed from the chaos of the urban grind. Then one day Roxanne Quimby was hitchhiking back from work when Burt happened to drive by.

In a decision that would alter the course of the rest of their lives. But decided to offer Roxanna ride. Uh, connection sparked between the reclusive beekeeper and the aspiring artist. Roxanne was captivated by Burt's simple way of life and his beekeeping endeavors. They decided to start a business together and sell honey.

But it was their leftover beeswax that sparked the idea for a new type of lip balm. The product was a hit at local craft fairs not just for its quality, but for the story, it carried a natural, pure product born from nature and human creativity.

 I am of course sharing the story of Burt's Bees a company that's valued at over $1 billion.

 Well, this brand have been as successful without the story behind it? We can only speculate. But it certainly helps us to connect with their products beyond a simple logo.

 On today's episode.

[00:01:54] The Power of Storytelling in Marketing

We are exploring the superpower of storytelling in marketing. And how you can apply these practical techniques for yourself to be more influential at work.

[00:02:04] Guest Introduction: Chirag Nijjer

[00:02:04] Paddy Dhanda: I'm joined by Chirag Nijjer., who is a platinum customer success lead at Google. He works with some of the biggest brands on the planet.

He is a public speaker who shares real-world storytelling insights to help entrepreneurs navigate towards setting clear objectives and following research backed methods. Chirag is a TikTok sensation. And has an online audience of over 60,000 followers contributing to over 6.1 million views.

 From the city of Beaky Blinders, Birmingham, England, I would like to introduce you to Paddy Dandar. As the world becomes more automated and the robots take over, it's imperative that we build the right human skills for the future. So pull up a chair, grab a smoker or two, and make yourself very uncomfortable.

[00:03:07] Chirag's Journey to Marketing and Branding

[00:03:07] Paddy Dhanda: So Chirag, thank you so much for joining me today and talking about stories behind the story, I'd love to know your story and how you got to do the things that you do.

[00:03:19] Chirag Nijjer: I think the part I always come back to for everyone, I grew up in a small business family, ? And that's a very big part of my identity. Literally, we had cribs at the store where I grew up, ? And I always tell people, they think I'm joking, but one of the first toys I ever played with was a credit card machine, ?

I could swipe your credit card before I knew my ABCs kind of thing, ? But and that setting was amazing, ? Cause I got to learn a ton of. Public speaking skills, a bunch of interacting with people, obviously a lot of sales, marketing and all that. But at the same time it was, it was also stressful, ?

Like you, you learn the value and how hard it is to make a dollar, or I guess in your case a pound. But one of the harder things to learn, , was that when things got tough, we didn't have an MBA, no, we didn't have consultants, we didn't have the resources to go hire someone out, Indian immigrants, , so my dad's sort of Manifesto of marketing was like, Oh, don't say it's 90.

Say it's 8999, ? Which later on in my studies, it turns out is a psychological thing that works, ?

[00:04:07] Chirag's Insights on Branding and Marketing

[00:04:07] Chirag Nijjer: But I was always fascinated with this idea of like branding and marketing. What makes this big difference?

So growing up here in New York City during when I was in high school, all the cool kids had the North Face backpack, ? For some reason, I mean, kids don't. And it was like, it wasn't even normal North Face, but it was like the tactical, like hiking gear, like backpacks. . And if you had one, you were, you were a cool kid.

. And for the longest time I begged my parents like, Hey, can I get a North Face backpack? Now for my parents, they're like, well, we understand like. If you were to ask like a brand, ? Like, I don't know, Michael Kors or something, ? But you're asking us for a tactical backpack to go to school, and these are like 130 or something, ?

They're like, we can't justify that, ? Until one day, my mom comes home, and she's super excited. She has a gift for me. She pulls out a bag, ? And she goes, Trog, the 99 cent store that just opened up next door. was selling these bags and they were on sale for like, what, 30 or something. If you looked at the bag, , on it, in the logo, it said, instead of North Face, it said the Nerth Face, ?

It was like N U R T H or something, ? Now, bless my mom's heart, she had no idea. To her, like, tactical backpacks made no sense, , to begin with. But I put it on and I went to school.

[00:05:07] Chirag's Personal Experiences and Their Influence on His Career

[00:05:07] Chirag Nijjer: Obviously, I then got bullied by a lot of my friends, ? And everyone made fun of it. But I was just always thinking from that standpoint.

I was like, my bag, Holds the same things your bag does it looks just like your bag does and it does all the same things the big Differentiator what makes this big difference is that little logo? And so that was one of the sort of examples that got me excited into branding and marketing and trying to understand like I said The story behind the story and I went over to college Shout out to Lafayette College in Pennsylvania as well as part of the posse scholarship Foundation but went to college and I started just learning as much as I possibly could .

I would, it was an entire library section that we had of business books that I'd always dreamed that one day I would own. And so I would just go check them out and start reading as much as I could. Started doing local workshops for small businesses. That sort of started going really well and I realized that, hey, like, this is cool.

Not only am I solving all the questions I had when I was a child, but now I'm doing this for people who are just like my family, who are just like me, who are starting these small businesses, starting these entrepreneurship ventures and all. And then I started putting content online. Afterwards, the content online, we were very a bit on tiktok.

We, I think we have close to 50, 000 followers. And then from there that sort of leverage itself into a speaking career. . And so now I'm fortunate enough my five to nine, as I call it, cause I have a nine to five as well. But my five to nine is I get to travel the nation, giving talks about marketing and.

branding. I get to speak at conferences, colleges, businesses.

[00:06:28] Chirag's Role at Google and His Speaking Career

[00:06:28] Chirag Nijjer: And then my nine to five is I work over at Google as my role is kind of crisis management meets proactive problem solving. I work with some of the world's largest advertisers, ? Say Wayfair, Louis Vuitton eBay, Etsy and all. And my job is to pretty much jump in when things are going really hectic or crazy, try to figure out what's going on, work with the resources internally to try to solve for them.

And then look for some of those proactive solutions in the long run. But it's a fun role and so that's my nine to five and then my five to nine, the speaking side, two completely separate but extremely sort of fulfilling parts of my life.

[00:06:59] Paddy Dhanda: meAn, that's fascinating.

[00:07:00] Discussion on Punjabi Culture and Its Influence

[00:07:00] Paddy Dhanda: And you and I were briefly talking just before we came on air about. our backgrounds and you mentioned, oh, I'm Punjabi and I was like, oh, I'm Punjabi too. And then the first question a Punjabi asks another one is, can you speak Punjabi? And you were like, yeah, yeah.

[00:07:14] Chirag Nijjer: Second question is, have you seen the little man? I actually met a Punjabi who didn't know Dilir Mandi and I was, I was shocked, ? And so I sat her down and I was like, we're not doing anything else for the next 30 minutes. We're watching every single one of his music videos and all his songs now.

[00:07:26] Paddy Dhanda: And you actually said to me, you had to learn Punjabi before you learned English. So that's kind of an interesting way around?

[00:07:32] Chirag Nijjer: Yeah, yeah. I mean, both of my parents speak amazing English, ? And so there was really it was more from a cultural standpoint, ? So they were very strict. They said you were going to learn English when you go into school. But at home you should be speaking Punjabi, ? And so we grew up, in fact, it was the first language I learned how to speak.

When I went to school, I actually ended up having to take special classes to help me lose the accent because I had a full Punjabi, like, accent. Because we grew up, like, listening to my parents and Punjabi music and sort of movies. But I'm very thankful for that now. I think being able to think and communicate in multiple languages can only imagine the amount of benefits it's had since then.

[00:08:06] Paddy Dhanda: I was talking about. Punjabi as a language the other day to a friend of mine, and I was explaining to her as a Westerner that Punjabi, it's not a very romantic language. I mean, it can be, but if you compare it to something like Hindi, which is the predominant language in India, a quite a harsh language. I remember my daughter when she heard two Punjabi people talking and she was like, dad, are they, are they arguing? It just sounded like they're having a big argument, but it wasn't actually an argument at all.

They were being very polite to one another.

[00:08:34] Chirag Nijjer: I always tell people is a Punjabi is a fun language. It's just fun, ? And the most mundane sentence you could possibly think of, just like, because it's very heavy on your tonality, ? It's not just the words, ? So the same words said in different ways, ? It can mean completely different things, ?

And so even just the most mundane, like, is like, Right.. It's like just suddenly that makes it just way more fun. I've also found when I meet people, . It's Punjabi people for the first time. . And you start saying things like Baji or like the Zikadna and all that. . And people immediately gravitate towards that.

I think Punjabi culture from a young age, you're taught that it's like, it's not just your family unit. It's not just you. It's the entire culture, ? And so I think when you see Punjabis, you identify and you connect immediately. You're like, oh, we have some common things

[00:09:17] Paddy Dhanda: I was watching a clip actually this morning on TikTok. I briefly stumbled upon it and just, just what you just said there reminded me of it. It was basically a guy who was busking in the street and he wasn't playing guitar or anything. He decided to turn up to Birmingham city centre and sing a Punjabi song.

Like he had a little speaker and he was singing a Punjabi song. Oh my God. He had a crowd of people. It looked like an Indian wedding happening on the street. People were just walking past and there's just something in the music that doesn't matter, like what you're doing. If you're Punjabi, you're going to get onto that dance floor and start dancing.

And he had this huge crowd of people that were just dancing. And I thought, actually, what a great idea. Like forget the instrument, just come along. If you're going to sing a Punjabi song, you will definitely attract a crowd.

[00:10:04] Chirag Nijjer: I, and it's also, I mean, you saw in the Don't quote me on this. I want to say most of the 2000s, ? But especially in the UK, ? Like you had a huge sort of wave of Punjabi music sort of taking over. . And I think one of the most beautiful things is Punjabi music is very base oriented.

? And so it blends really well with other cultures, ? I used to have a lot of friends from like like from Jamaica, for example, ? Who would, like, you threw on a Punjabi song, they'd be like, I don't understand what they're saying, but I can feel the beat and I can understand the beat.

And it sounds kind of similar to what I have in my culture. Which is why I think, yeah, Punjabi music is like, once it starts, you just can't, you can't help yourself from moving. And we saw Diljit Dasanjh recently, ? Sort of break records. I think he was at what? What was it? Coachella? I think he was performing at.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think Bajama music is having is sort of a Renaissance again, I think we saw the first wave in the UK and now we're starting to see a lot in

the U. S. happening.

[00:10:56] Paddy Dhanda: I think about the business world and from a professional perspective, many years ago, I almost suppressed my culture, even in the world of work. I always felt like I shouldn't really talk about it.

[00:11:08] The Importance of Personal Branding and Storytelling

[00:11:08] Paddy Dhanda: People don't want to know about it. But then over the years, I've learned that actually it's a superpower to bring to the table.

And, you know, just the fact that you've got. All of these stories, going back to your point about, you know, brand stories, these are our stories. And I think whenever we share something personal, it doesn't have to be like your culture as deep as that, but even just a simple story of your childhood that you're able to then share with people, it just gets people to connect, doesn't it?

And so I've really embraced that over the last few years.

[00:11:39] Chirag Nijjer: absolutely, absolutely. Two points I'll put, ? One, I think the rise of TikTok, I think has helped, at least here in the U. S., I think there's a bit of a stigma. . Definitely around brown culture or South Asian culture in general. You, you found ways to sort of fit in wherever you could.

And then every now and then Disney channel or like some big channel came out with like a, a Bollywood themed episode. . And you were like that, that was just, you know, that's all we really had. . So you became used to this idea that every now and then we'll say, if there was a wedding or a reception, I put on the suit, , met the aria, .

And like. Now I'm Punjabi, but then as soon as that suit and I step out of that reception, I'm back to being American or whatever it is, ? And whatever that definition was back then. I honestly, I have to credit TikTok, ? Because I've seen from the beginning, I was one of the earlier users of TikTok, and I saw this sort of rise of just like people putting up videos of like them in their suits and their like sort of dresses and like performing to like Punjabi songs or Hindi songs and all.

And you sort of saw this rise of like, oh, people who like were, kind of spread out throughout the US, but now suddenly like, Oh yeah, you have Indian suits. Indian suits look amazing, ? I'm going to put them on. You have a lot of huge creators that came out of that specific niche of showing South Asian culture which I thought has been sort of a beautiful sort of renaissance to it.

But the second thing I'll also add on is your point of the brands, ? In the stories that you're able to tell, we don't relate to a logo. We don't relate to any given brand, ? Like if I told you like, Oh, how do you feel about Amazon? ? Like, you'll think about it as a company. You don't imagine it as a person. . But it's part of the reason why we've seen this huge rise in like, you know, the duolingo bird duolingo bird. . I mean, 10 years ago, if you told me that, yeah, one of the largest marketing campaigns was going to be a walking around, like bird mascot, people like what, . But. We connect with that, ?

During the 2013 Super Bowl here in the U. S., there was a power outage. And at the time, Oreo, the cookie company, they came out with a tweet that said something like, you can still dunk in the dark. And it went on to win a ton of awards and a bunch of accolades. But it wasn't special, ? Like the messaging itself, the text, it was the fact that they used social media as like, it was one of the early examples of using social media as like reactionary Marketing as opposed to this months long sort of plan And all it really did was at the end of the day for the consumers.

It just reminded them Oh, even at a big company like Oreo There's just another person on the other end of the screen who finds this situation just as funny as I do and is human and I think that's part of the reason like for a lot of people ask like oh if I have a business and I want To build a brand.

I'm like one of the first things you learn to do is be able to tell stories because we don't relate to A logo. We relate to the stories and like the people that those stories imply in the background.

[00:14:02] Paddy Dhanda: One of the questions that was coming to my mind was, look, if I'm sat at home now, I am working as a professional and I may not have my own business, so.

Why should I listen to the advice on this particular episode? How is that going to help me? So if I'm a professional, I don't know, working in tech, then should I really care about brands and stories? Is that something that I need build for myself into my own life or is this for other people?

[00:14:30] Chirag Nijjer: No, no, 110 percent for everyone, ? I think one of the simplest ways was I think Jeff Bezos actually said it he was like your brand Is what people say about you when you're not in the room? And I can't, there's a single person that I've met in my life who genuinely does not care what someone has said about them when they've left the room, ?

We obviously care, and I think one of the best advices I got, and I'm sure it's an old adage in and of itself, is if you are not telling your story, then someone else is. ? And the power we give away when we are not actively telling our story is pretty dangerous, ? Because people can run with, for example, like say, even like if you need to cancel a meeting, ?

I could have an entire family issue coming up behind me. I could have a huge valid reasoning as to why this is happening. But if I don't share that story, or if I don't share the details, the person on the other end can just assume what they need to assume. Oh, this person's unreliable, this person isn't following through, ?

And so that was a real life example sort of given to me there. My understanding of marketing and the way that I've shared it, marketing and branding is that all you're really doing is handling someone's curiosity, ? And what I mean by that is, for example, there are models in within marketing.

For example, have you ever heard of the ADA marketing funnel?

[00:15:31] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, no, but please do enlighten me.

[00:15:33] Understanding the Marketing Funnel

[00:15:33] Chirag Nijjer: So it's four layers, ? That everyone goes through whenever they're doing anything. And I know how broad this sounds, but it's just cause when you hear it, you'll see how broad it is. The first one, A stands for awareness. I stands for interest, D for desire, and A for action, ?

So you become aware of the fact that something exists, you begin to become interested in it, you begin to desire it, and then finally you take the action. Whether that is buying a t shirt, so you become aware when you go to the mall, you see the t shirt, so you become aware. You start looking at it, so you become interested in some of the features.

You start going, you know what, I could imagine myself wearing this shirt, I want it, so you begin to desire it, and finally you take the action of buying it. Or, if you meet someone, , and say, let's even look at this podcast, for example, ? So when you're doing this podcast now, I became aware of the fact that you exist because I saw all the videos that you're putting out, ?

I became interested in wanting to connect, so we connected, ? Then I desired being on the podcast because you reached out with details, and finally we took the action of actually scheduling something, ? And now the most important part about this Is that everyone will go through these stages regardless, anytime they're doing anything, ?

You got any scenario, you can do it. But the important part is to look at the flip side. I could have become aware of the fact that you existed by just seeing all your clips and never have done anything with it, ? You actively kept putting more clips, more clips, ? And you were active on LinkedIn and all the other platforms.

I could have gone into interest, looking at all the things you're doing and never moved on to the desire phase because I could have been like, oh, he's cool. Nice. I'm going to save his videos. But then when we connected, you actively reached out and were like, hey, would you want to be on the podcast? ? I could be stuck in like, yeah, I want to be on the podcast and desire phase, but then you actively went, here's the Calendly link. Let's schedule something. ? So I think the reason why this model is so powerful is one, you can break down any human behavior into these four steps. As a person so whether you're going into a meeting or you're trying to pitch something say you're working in a business and you're doing Entrepreneurship as opposed to entrepreneurship, ?

You can break down each one of these stages. I've got to guide my audience through these stages I do the same thing when I'm giving talks or presentations become aware interested desire finally There's an action I lead you to at the end whether that's sign up for my email list or hey reach out to me And I'll send over that you'd like the notes from this meeting But on the flip side for someone is like also to realize like it's my job to guide people through those steps When Nike uses this formula, ?

Nike creates these large expansive campaigns like the Colin Kaepernick ad. Think of any of these ads that Nike puts out that feel very motivational. It's like Are you a motivational company or are you selling me clothes, ?

And most people look at it and say, why are they bothering to get political? Why are they bothering to be involved in sort of societal stories? It's because that's their awareness content. It's the content that gets you going, oh, yeah, that's interesting. Then they start going into, like, showing you things like their different shoes, , and the different technology that they have and what they're doing to empower athletes.

That makes you interested and then they go into going well, you know that technology that so and so athlete uses that you think is interesting Well, you could wear that and that'll make your shoe game better now. You're in the desire. Oh me Yeah, I want to be part of this and then Nike goes Okay, well by now because we've got 25 percent off for December or something So they're very deliberate about guiding people through those steps and the same way anyone who's looking at these models is marketing is more than just for business It's for the story you are telling about yourself.

[00:18:43] Real-life Examples of Effective Storytelling in Branding

[00:18:43] Paddy Dhanda: So CEO of Duolingo, he. I recently did this TED talk, how to make learning as addictive as social media, and it's got a very compelling title. So I thought, I'm going to check this out because it sounds like something I would be super interested in. It was great because there's so much storytelling in there.

He talks all about his background and how he grew up in Guatemala and the, just the whole kind of history behind why he decided to launch his company. And at the end of the TED Talk, I'm looking at the comments in the comment section on YouTube and somebody had summed it up. They said, It was a fantastic TED talk, but I feel like I've just watched a 13 minute advert for Duolingo because the whole talk was about promoting this product and this brand.

And it was exactly that. It was a masterstroke, I feel, because although he hooks you in and there are lots of great learning points in there, it was all about Duolingo. You walk away becoming a fan of this company, but it's all through that storytelling that you're talking about.

[00:19:49] Chirag Nijjer: No, absolutely. I think the thing I'll point out is have you ever heard of the six stories for a brand? ? So this is one of the easiest exercises I go through when I'm talking to someone and they're like, Hey, I have a business. I want to build a brand, ? Like I'm working with a clothing brand, a clothing business now.

I wouldn't even say so.

[00:20:04] Understanding the Difference Between a Business and a Brand

[00:20:04] Chirag Nijjer: I think the difference between a business and a brand, ? Is that a business is single faceted. I'm selling a product. Once I've sold you that product, I may follow up, but then that's, we're done for the most part. A brand is like, not only do I sell this product, but this is who I believe in.

These are who we are. This is what we do. Blah, blah, blah. It feels more like a person, ?

[00:20:20] The Six Types of Stories for Branding

[00:20:20] Chirag Nijjer: And I've always argued that the transition from a business to a brand is just learning how to tell at the bare minimum, six types of stories. . And the six types are one, your origin story, ?

Which I'm trying to think of a brand. Oh, have you ever heard of the beauty blender?

[00:20:31] Paddy Dhanda: I think I need to know about that. That sounds like a good, good tool for a guy.

[00:20:35] Chirag Nijjer: So it's like a little sponge that is used by people who are makeup enthusiasts, ? To blend, literally to blend their makeup in, ?

You've definitely seen it around. It's like this little, like, swoop pink, like sponge thing, ? But anyways the stories that they tell is like how the founder, , was herself in television for a long time. Cameras were becoming more advanced, and she started realizing her makeup wasn't looking the way she wanted it to, so she Invested in this business to help like, you know to spread this and that origin story Led itself to her like the credibility of the brand the second type is culture stories people learn to tell So these are stories like Ben and Jerry's talks about things that they're passionate about and the social justice causes They're working on you have your product stories, which are like actually focused on the product themselves, ?

but I think the duolingo example was a great one where I'm talking about the product, but I'm not really talking about the product, So Warby Parker is another one. Are you familiar with Warby Parker, the

[00:21:27] Paddy Dhanda: No, no,

[00:21:29] Chirag Nijjer: So they were one of the early companies to pioneer that e commerce, like ordering your glasses online practice, ?

And a lot of their story is that they've started out is that we actually started because we saw how like expensive normal glasses can be. Because they're controlled by certain companies, ? And we want to democratize access to these glasses. And so when they talk about a lot of their advertising early on, they kept saying, oh, our glasses are plastic and metal just like everyone else's.

But now, let's move on. But if you buy a pair, here's what it does. Or here's the mentality that went behind designing this. So they were talking, not about the product, but about what the product symbolizes. As a whole, , which I think is similar to that duolingo talk from what I'm hearing from you is I'm not telling you that look, these are the six features we have.

I'm telling you, oh, like, and this is the lesson we learned from doing this thing, ? We're like, you hear about the product and a lot of products cool, but he's not sitting there going, Okay, this is the exact this is what our product does. One great example. Are you familiar with 1000 songs in your pocket?

[00:22:19] Paddy Dhanda: So is this the iPod when the iPod first came out and Steve Jobs talked about the songs in your pocket? Yes. Okay. That's what I have heard


[00:22:26] Chirag Nijjer: Exactly.

[00:22:27] The Importance of Focusing on Benefits Over Features

[00:22:27] Chirag Nijjer: So when the iPad came out, it can be argued it wasn't the most technologically advanced thing, ? Like there were other competitor in the market, but what helped them stand out is when most competitors focused on the features, ? So X number of megabytes or whatever they used to have back then, ?

Apple focused on the benefit of that feature. So not just telling you what they offer, but why you should care. So they focused on a thousand songs in your pocket. And for consumers, that was a lot easier for us to understand, ? Like, oh, okay, cool. This is what the point is going to be. And it's a lot of this features versus benefit type of marketing.

And it's always like the benefit type wins out, ? That covers the first three stories, sorry.

[00:22:59] The Six Types of Stories: A Recap

[00:22:59] Chirag Nijjer: Origin, culture, product. Then the fourth type of story you learn to tell is societal stories. , so a business can operate in a vacuum. A brand cannot. , so think of Nike's Colin Kaepernick ads, or think of any ads where like they comment on what's going on in society as a whole. They're reminding people that, hey, we are at the end of the day made up of people just like you who are also existing in the same reality as you do. A great example actually of this now is have you heard of the Stanley Cup car? Fire at all?

So there was a woman who went viral on TikTok because she put up a video of her car burning down. But the only thing that survived in her car was her Stanley cup. It's like an insulated cup that you hold. They've always said they're very durable, the company, but this is a real example where almost no marks on the cup itself.

In fact, I think, don't quote me on this, if the ice inside the cup was still Like frozen,? That's how you know, and like that obviously became an amazing marketing ploy for this company, ? Real life example But then what they did is they did something even better is they offered to pay to buy that woman a new car so it doesn't always have to be this massive like nike colin kaepernick societal issues racism and all this Sometimes it can just be as simple as reminding people like hey We get it, ?

Like this is a tough situation. We're sorry this happened to you, but the fact that you were there and like you shouted out our product, we're going to help you out and just reminds people like, oh, these are human the fifth type is the customer stories, ? Starbucks during the pandemic did something very interesting.

I think it was during the pandemic. They kept coming out with almost like a weekly or biweekly series where they highlighted typical customers that would come in, ? So one day they highlighted a mother with her Children. They highlighted a working woman. They highlighted someone who is working like at Starbucks, ?

And this whole idea to show these almost personas of like, look, our customers all vary, but they have some things in common. Like they view Starbucks as an escape from things, ? And then lastly is the future stories. Think of any stereotypical Tesla, SpaceX, Virgin Atlantic, ? All those like, so like here we are pioneering into the future kind of stories.

[00:24:54] The Power of Storytelling in Marketing

[00:24:54] Chirag Nijjer: But if you learn to tell these six. Basics these are very easy, ? I mean, I literally this is what I do with most of the clients I work with is i'll have them sit down and go give me 500 words for each one of these stories and the reason being is this actually leads to a much more powerful exercise.

[00:25:07] Paddy Dhanda: I was just pondering there about this podcast and I was thinking out of those six, which one would I focus on most?

[00:25:15] Chirag Nijjer: make all six I always tell people is I'm not doing anything that is profound , ? I would love to sit there and say, I've come up with the new, you know, marketing religion, I'm giving you incredibly basic things, ? That work.

The problem is with most people I work with, I found it's not a lack of opportunity. It's a overabundance of them, ? And I tell people stop overcomplicating it. Give me 500 words for your origin story. 500 words for your culture. 500 words for your product, ? And the key being when you simplify it, ?

Is you are also now giving your audience and your team members the words that they need to use when they're talking about you. Remember this comes full circle. We said your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. Option one is I'm going to do a bunch of really cool things and then let you figure out what you're going to say about me.

That's kind of risky, because we can all come and see the same play and walk out with a hundred different interpretations. Versus if I, throughout our entire conversation, constantly For example, me giving you stories is not I mean, I'm very fascinated, I love them. But part of the reason is, when I leave, and at some point you're in a dinner conversation with someone, and you go, oh, you interviewed Chirag, what was that like?

You're like, oh, he had really good stories. Why? Because I'm constantly using the word story, story, story. I'm giving you the words that I want you to use when you're talking about me. Same thing happens when you're in a corporate setting as well, ? If you want people to acknowledge that, oh, this is someone who solves problems.

Then constantly share, like, hey guys, I identified this problem, ? And here's what I came up with. If you guys want to try it out, here's a link to my project document that you can copy, ? Problem. Solution. If you want to see what I've done and copy it, you can. I'm deliberately using these words so that when people are sitting there and they're asked about me, Oh, yeah, Trog, he finds a lot of problems and he finds a lot of solutions for them, You can go check out some of his

[00:26:56] Paddy Dhanda: There's a subliminal message in there about the language that you're using. And it gets you to kind of repeat that once you're not there. And how do you build your storytelling muscle as an individual? Because I met a couple of people.

Close friends who are absolutely amazing at telling stories like they can walk into a room of strangers and within five minutes there'll be a big crowd of people around them because they're sharing these crazy stories and they have this gift for being able to Tell them in such a way that it just gets you hooked

[00:27:30] Chirag Nijjer: I have to acknowledge privilege that I have, I'm a South Asian college educated male with a degree working in

tech, right?

[00:27:38] Paddy Dhanda: And for Google

[00:27:39] Chirag Nijjer: I think the point of privilege to point for me, I found it is much easier than it may be for others for me to have a voice in a room, right?

When I speak, people do stop and listen so I have privilege there. What I say as far as practicing it forward is It's just practice people ask me I mean you have to think about this idea is I literally grew up performing.

I'm talking to 50 60 different strangers every single day for decades, and it's like, then you slowly start building that skill over time.

one of the advice that I'll when they're presenting especially, I think the biggest mistake when I'm coaching people through becoming more effective presenters, don't make a script. flies in the face of some of the feedback often given to people, right? Which is, make a deck, practice your deck over and over again.

I strongly disagree with that, right? Because for me it's once I've created a script, then I'm trying to predict all of the little things that'll happen. And most of the fun things that happen, like for example in this podcast, are things, we haven't even covered anything that I've wrote down because all the fun things come from those, sort of the side tangents, the, the in the moment movement and pivots so what I usually guide people through is like, core statements. This is the big point. I'm going to drive home. These are the three little examples or stories or like models I'm going to talk about.

And this is sort of like defining last sentence or last like key point I want to leave with. My slides are not my presentation. I am my presentation. My slides are just there. Just the only purpose my slides play are just like, you know, those TikTok videos where you see like the, the speed runner on the bottom and like the person talking on the top or like someone rolling clay. It is just there to keep your attention and so what you do when you're no longer tied to the slides or tied to the script is you allow yourself the freedom to start You know, moving in and out. And the worst case scenario, you go on a long tangent, you could always just go, okay, cool.

Now, let me come back. I already went over point one, two, point three. You can easily remember five points. Anything beyond that I think is when we get a little hazy. also gives you the freedom to experiment. One last tip I'll throw in I did a talk a while back and there was a statistic on the screen. But I purposely, I, I tend to avoid text on screen as much as I can. I like doing graphics so I didn't put the statistic on the screen. I forgot what the statistic was and I'm sitting there and I'm going, ladies and gentlemen, I'm going, to be very honest, I've forgotten the statistic.

But it's very high and if anyone asks, I remember the statistic and you were all very impressed and like immediately everyone started laughing. Sure, it doesn't hurt your credibility but like, if you do that through the entire presentation, yes. But it was one little tidbit, and I think what it did was it made my audience realize like, oh, he is human, and it broke the ice.

I would rather the audience be laughing the entire time and we're coming up with like this deep connection, than for them to be sitting there like I'm some sort of guru's Speaking on top of a hill, because you'll never remember that message. What I want them to remember is that feeling of like, okay, cool, I can do this.

What Chirag said makes sense and I can apply this. And I feel comfortable.

[00:30:23] Paddy Dhanda: that reminded me of a story since we're on to stories. A few months ago, I was out in the Netherlands doing a talk with a good friend of mine and was in such a rush for that trip that I forgot my belt. And I took my jeans and my jeans are like a little bit loose. I can't say like, I definitely need my belt all the time, but they're not the best fitted. So I'm getting up, I'm about to do my talk and I kept shuffling around and then I'm on stage and I just thought I'd call it out because people could see that I

was, you know, being distracted. So I just said to everybody, I said, Hey, I apologize if I shuffle around.

I said, it's because I forgot my belt and I'm just pulling my trousers up. And the first time he got a little bit of a laugh. But I was being deadly serious. I just wanted to call it out. And as the talk went on, I kept pausing and pulling. And then after a while, I think I started doing it on purpose almost, because every time I did it, I'd get a laugh.

And there was a moment at the end where we invited people to write one word or two words of things that they were going to take away, actions that they were going to take away. And we got them to write on a piece of paper and throw it at us like a snowball. And. just remember at the end, we were going through all of the papers and this one just, it was so memorable.

Somebody put on there, next time, don't forget your belt. And it was just amazing. But like you say, you know, sometimes being human and just calling it out is the done thing to do and it can actually work in your favor because people do warm to

[00:31:53] Chirag Nijjer: Yeah, no, call it naivety, young age, is I've never really understood this, people have this huge desire I want to be seen as an authority. There are people there who see me as an authority, as like someone that they can trust and speak to. I want to break the fourth wall. I shouldn't seem like I'm just someone on someone who's speaking on a stage and you can't connect with me? Because then we're not building a relationship, you're just an audience, ?


So the more you can engage the audience in the conversation, that's what makes it fun, that's what makes it exciting to do these things. I could just sit in front of a camera and speak for hours there. The purpose of being In person is interacting with people. And yeah, sometimes it's something as small as the bell thing.

[00:32:25] Paddy Dhanda: So you mentioned you had a few things written down that we didn't get to cover. So I'd love to pick one or two of those that you would really want to, talk about.

[00:32:33] Chirag Nijjer:

[00:32:33] The Importance of Clear and Specific Goals

[00:32:33] Chirag Nijjer: One of The common mistakes I see lack of a KPI. Are you familiar with the Key Performance Indicator? Your Key Performance Indicator is, the you use to measure success. and I've found that, like, when I'm working with brands and they're , like, we want to grow our followers, or I'm talking to someone who's like, working at a company, and they're like, oh yeah, I just well on like, to do well on my project, or on my promotion, or XYZ thing, and I'm like, Well that doesn't really tell me anything.

That's not a tangible goal you can go for. I was working with someone who had she had 10, 000 followers on one platform, social media, and she had 100, 000 on another. And so we get into the call and she goes, Chirag, you know, I've listened, I'm agreeing, it's not a lack of options, overabundance of them, I'm going to pick one thing to work on, I'm going to work on the 100, 000 follower account instead.

And I go, let's pause for a minute, because the key performance metric that you, or indicator that you're using, is followers. But that doesn't really make sense because you're not a media company. You're a company company that needs to sell things. So I said the key performance indicator should maybe be sales.

So we looked at our analytics and the platform that we only had 10, 000 followers. Was leading to 90 percent of her sales Most of the people that came from the 100, 000 follower platform. They just came onto the site looked around and then left right now You can always strengthen that there's a million strategies strategies to play But it was a great example of where if you looked at followers a key performance indicator That didn't really make sense for her in her business Then she would have been misguided and she would have ran in one direction. But when she looked at herself and goes, What's the most important thing to me right now? The one thing that I can measure and look as my North Star, it became a lot easier for her to strategize and find something that works for her. And the same thing I acknowledge for anyone that's working on any goal that they have.

Don't just say you want to get fit. Give me a very specific metric. Whether that's your BMI or whatever that is. Don't tell me that you want to start walking. Tell me how many steps you want to walk and that you're aiming for.

[00:34:12] Paddy Dhanda: So my last two questions for you on this episode, the first one, if I could give you any superpower to abolish something in the world of work for 24 hours,

what would that be?

[00:34:24] The Power of Transparency and Authenticity in the Workplace

[00:34:24] Chirag Nijjer: I would, want to abolish that that sort of fear or stigma people have about sharing what they want out of this. . Right. At the end of the day, wherever we're doing we have some goal whether it's, hey, this brings me passion or I want to go for a promotion or I want to make more money, ? And I found the most successful conversations or partnerships that I have is when we hop into a call and I go, okay, cool. We're both been assigned this project. Let me ask you, this is what I want to get out of this like when my manager asks me about this, in six months, I want to tell him, Oh, I did this thing and I had this skill that I developed and we came with this outcome. What about you? Right? And that person goes, Oh yeah, actually, you? know what? I'm promotion in three months. I want to be able to have a good story to tell there. Then it's like, okay, cool. Nice. Now I know what you want out of this. You know what I want. Let's split up the work, or let's, like, help each other, let's, like, work together as a team. Which, unfortunately, I think, in corporate America, or in just corporate or work in general, I think people tend to be a bit more guarded. it's almost seen as taboo to be ambitious I think, don't be a snake, don't be rude, but like, at the end of the day, we're all in it. You know, it's a stereotypical question, why do you want to work here, and they expect you to give some passionate plea. like, I just work here because I need money.

Right. Kind of thing. And in reality, that's for a lot of people. We all have a goal in mind. So why not be open with each other and Frank so we can help each other reach those goals. idea that certain conversations are taboo, whether it's pay or things like this, that that's what I would want to more


[00:35:37] Paddy Dhanda: Got it. You went all deep on me on that one, but yeah, I love that. Thank you so much, Chirag. if. You could recommend any resources for people who want to know more about this topic and also how can people get in

[00:35:50] Chirag Nijjer: yeah, yes, yes, yes.

[00:35:51] Resources for Learning More About Branding and Storytelling

[00:35:51] Chirag Nijjer: So if you just want my content, my goal is to make as much as of what I learn free and accessible as possible. I hated that idea of like growing up and not having access to information? So if you do just want to, you know, learn more learn more marketing and branding like sort of tricks and tips and all these things that happen behind and the stories behind the brands. Check out chiragspeaks. com, and I'm on all the especially TikTok and Instagram, and we're trying to grow the LinkedIn right now, so please connect either way. If you want to book me to speak as well, always happy to, do as well but other than that I think one of the big books that I've been recommending recently, it's called Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Satch so Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Satch, Why those who tell and live the best stories will rule the future. I think he does a really good job of sort of breaking down the basic premises. Of this mentality, once you start viewing everything in the terms of a story that's being told you start noticing a million other things.

But I really good gateway into getting your mindset down that route.

[00:36:45] Paddy Dhanda: Oh, amazing. Thank you so much, Chirag. We'll include your links in the show notes as well so people can get in touch with you. And please do, please do contact Chirag. He's an amazing guy and I just love your energy, your positivity and your passion for this topic as well. So. I know we are out of time and I just want to thank you.

It's been a pleasure getting to know you and I feel like I'm a lot wiser than I was at the start of the conversation. I have lots more stories that I can now put into my storybook that I carry around with me.

[00:37:13] Chirag Nijjer: It means the world to hear that, genuinely. From someone like yourself very, very impressed with the work you're doing. I look up to you so, to me, this trust me, an honor for me to be on this side so, really appreciate it. And hopefully we'll connect more in the future,

[00:37:25] Paddy Dhanda: Oh,

thank you so much. It's the end of another episode. Thank you so much for listening. Please do connect with me via LinkedIn and drop me a message. And let me know your favorite takeaways from the episode. Also, don't forget to subscribe to the superpower school newsletter so that you can be notified of all future episodes. Simply visit the website, Thank you once again

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