Women in Leadership and IP: Ms. Nidhi Mahesh of We-Storytellers

In our continuing series of interviews with female entrepreneurs inspired by World IP Day 2023, we talk to Nidhi Mahesh of We-Storytellers about the value of storytelling, the challenge of being a startup and how to strike the balance between being engaging and legally sound[1].

Ms. Nidhi Mahesh, We-Storytellers

What inspired you to start We-Storytellers and what is your vision for the company?

I have been a marketer for almost 15 years. Before that I was a television journalist with some of the top news channels in the country, reporting on politics and business across the country. Communication has been the underlying force in my entire career and the affair with the written word only got deeper with time. As a marketer I understood the pain of not being able to create quality content consistently.

Content is a crucial part of marketing strategy; it is the engine that drives not just customer engagement but brand positioning and trust in leadership. However, most of the time marketers struggle to find content partners who can speak their language with a deep understanding of the domain and flourish in the art of storytelling. I started We-Storytellers to fill this need.

How do you define business storytelling and why is it important for organizations and brands?

When you write content, you tick off a requirement. When you tell stories, you connect. Business storytelling is logic wedded to emotion. It is a subtle art backed by science. Stories evoke emotions, build connections and influence how an audience thinks and behaves.

In marketing, a good story drives potential prospects to connect and engage with a brand. Targeted contextual content allows brands to engage with their customers’ thoughts and behaviors. Without them, a business or brand has half a story – their data points. When we look at a datasheet or statistics, it is difficult for prospects to connect emotionally with numbers. Enter stories! Stories help companies sieve data and draw out insightful and actionable content that speaks with the target audience. And that is what We-Storytellers does.

What are the challenges and opportunities of being a woman entrepreneur in the field of marketing communication?

As a startup founder, work is life. I keep saying with We-Storytellers, I am a mom all over again, and an indulgent one at that! There are days when 24 hours seem too little. Thankfully, I have a strong support system, a joint family and many friends who make it easier to sail by.

Most of the companies in our space struggle with clients who are unable or unwilling to understand the difference between quality and quantity. Many times we are asked to convince accounts and finance departments in the client organizations who have absolutely no idea on the intricacies of communication and content. They try to push through unreasonable terms that stifle creativity, and most of the time it is counterproductive.

I see a huge opportunity for us to be the partner of choice to every company, intent on communicating with conviction with their organization and outside. Every day begins with a new promise and a new set of challenges. There isn’t a dull day for us. We are proud and humbled for the trust our clients have reposed in us, in our short journey. Last year we were recognized to be among Top 25 Content Agencies in the country winning the India Content Leadership Award. These recognitions enthuse the team to strive harder

What are the skills and qualities that you look for in your team members and collaborators?

We are a close-knit team. We have a team of employees and an extended pool of writers, designers, digital marketers and tech support. And we are in constant touch through the day. We are a bunch of passionate individuals who love what we do. Our optimism and genuine enthusiasm translate into a vibrant and enjoyable work environment. We are a team that is driven by passion for business storytelling. Passion, commitment, and willingness to learn are some of the qualities that best define my team members.

What are some of the projects or clients that you are most proud of and why?

We-Storytellers is filling a critical gap in how organizations communicate with their internal audience and external stakeholders – customers, investors, influencers and media. We exist at the cusp of marketing expertise, industry understanding, people practice strength and critical content focus. The right mix of these expertise is hard to get.

On one hand we act as an extended product marketing team for organizations while on the other we work on their executive communication and employer branding initiatives to build a brand inside out. In less than a year we have been able to successfully launch two productized offerings – Startup Marketing Kit and Bespoke Thought Leadership. We are working with more than 10 global clients and are proud to have won their trust. The fact that all our projects are won by word of mouth with zero promotion is a testimony of the trust our clients have in us. This inspires us to push the bar higher.

How do you keep yourself updated with the latest trends and developments in your industry and domain?

I enjoy reading. There are a lot of book clubs that I am part of, and I actively take part in all discussions across platforms. I also attend workshops; table talks and meetings that align with my objectives and goals.

What are some of the best practices or tips that you can share with aspiring storytellers and marketers?

Simplicity is crucial. We must comprehend our intended message and establish a clear structure. When narrating a story, a systematic approach is essential. While I’m not prescribing a rigid framework, every story benefits from a discernible flow and structure. I emphasize the importance of clarity, structure, and flow.

Understanding the essence of our message provides clarity and dictates our starting point. With this clarity, we navigate the story’s progression, ensuring engagement from the audience until the final word. In essence, a story’s structure involves knowing where to begin, how to seamlessly advance and how to captivate the audience throughout.

What are your future plans and goals for We-Storytellers and yourself?

We are seeing a good response to all our services including Marketing Communication, Startup Marketing Kit, Bespoke Thought Leadership, Employer Branding and Storytelling Workshops. Also, we are planning to start We-Storytellers Academy, a place to create and nurture business storytellers. There is an explicit need in the market for quality talent in this space. Our aim is to create a structured program in association with universities and business schools to encourage talent.

How do you ensure that your storytelling services and programs are original and do not infringe on the intellectual property rights of others?

To ensure originality and avoidance of intellectual property infringement in our storytelling services and programs, we employ several strategies. First and foremost, we conduct comprehensive research to build a foundational understanding of the topic, ensuring that our narratives are uniquely crafted. Proper citation and attribution practices are rigorously followed when incorporating external information or ideas.

We also utilize plagiarism-checking tools to identify and rectify any unintentional similarities with existing content. Additionally, we source media from public domain platforms to guarantee the lawful usage of images, quotes, or other resources. In cases of uncertainty, we seek legal advice from professionals well-versed in intellectual property law. Through these, we aim to deliver our content that is not only engaging but also ethically and legally sound.

[1] https://we-storytellers.in/ 


Nidhi Mahesh is Founder and Chief Storyteller of We-Storytellers. She has worked in marketing communication for more than 20 years and her film “Aami”, the first of-the-children-for-the-children-by-the-children film in India, was awarded the best film at the KFK Film Festival Athens (2004).