Founder Spotlight: Robert Cristobal of Frame316
Loyalty Through Engagement
“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” – Ira Glass
All of us have stories to tell—it is in the manner that we tell these stories that determines whether we will be able to leave an impact on the people around us. This is probably what Robert Cristobal had in mind when he established Frame 316. He believed that it is in the way that stories are told that leaves the lasting impact to this world. He wanted the customers to see the value of the brand that his clients are offering by telling stories that not only engages the audience but will leave a mark as well.
His story: the journey of Frame 316
The young Robert Cristobal promised himself that he would not work for anybody. He wanted to do his own stuff that’s why up to now he works hard so that he wouldn’t work for anyone. As a first-generation web designer, he knew how it was to code a website from scratch—with the use of a simple text editor. He even describes the feeling as “sweating with blood” since to come up with a 3-page website would take a very meticulous series of coding. Eventually, he left web designing when open-sourced CMS (content management system) such as WordPress and Joomla became a trend. Every little kid can be a web designer nowadays. But the advantage, he says, is that even though a new generation of younger web designers came, the older generation has the advantage of reverse engineering a web page because they understand code on a higher level.
Robert then moved to Singapore and shifted to photography which led him also to appreciate and learn about filmmaking. A few years later, he decided to be on the strategic level of business and combine all the experiences that he had learned and use it to strategize for companies to help them build their brand with the use of the content (web, imagery, videos & blogs) that he can provide them. Thus, Frame 316 came into being.
Using stories to amplify brand communication
“In most parts of Asia, content marketing is still an evolving buzzword, but in the western part of the world, it has been a trend and a norm in digital marketing,” Robert shares with us. Frame 316 focuses on showcasing brand values and delivering that message to the customers. He says that the best way to do so is to tell them a story. Most companies forget that they should convey a message to their customers and not just introduce the product then sell immediately. Robert says that informing people that a certain brand/product exists may work for a while but it will not sustain awareness and loyalty to that brand. Companies should go beyond informing, “The most you can do with information is nod; informing is not conversing,” he shares.
Every story starts with a conflict. Robert says that the single formula for a good story is when the audience wants to know what happens next. He starts with the story’s conflict—the purpose of the product. He says that most clients don’t know what they want but they do know what they don’t want. To address this situation, he goes through a series of consultation with the clients for him explain how content marketing works and the value proposition that comes with it. “It is not for the faint of heart because it really takes time to get the results,” Robert says. He also shared that most companies would just want him to do a video and that’s it; but he wants to go more than just create a video that says, “Hey, buy our product.” For him, it doesn’t make sense to pay tons of money for just one video; that’s why he would offer them—with the same budget—a series of videos that will position the brand through “thought leadership” and the strategies to share, execute, and measure it.
Engaging customers gain loyalty
“There are tons of data available to us, the channels, not to mention the speed of the internet—it’s very hard to stand out unless you know how to tell your story,” he says. Most companies forget to care about what their customers feel or think. Since the goal is to get loyal customers, you get loyalty by engaging them. This is what Robert emphasized, “Loyalty through engagement, through storytelling.”
Content marketing is an approach where customers should be at the center; it’s all about conversing and finding out what people have in mind—knowing and understanding people and creating a story around that on behalf of the company. For Robert, storytelling builds that relationship. “Talk about why your product is valuable then your customers will start buying your product,” he reminds us. For a content marketing strategy to work, he adds that the story needs to be authentic and relevant. “It takes years to master how to tell relevant stories, and it stems from a good understanding of people. Unlike how marketing usually communicates one-way, storytelling is a two-way process,” Robert emphasizes.
Evangelizing what he does
Robert says that the most effective way of getting clients is through networking. “Not the networking where you need to be open-minded and buy supplementary medicines; by networking, I mean, building relationships and meeting people. He tends to evangelize the clients that he meets in the Philippines saying that, “they need to do it because everyone else will be left out if they won’t.”
For those who would want to become a start-up, Robert gives this advice, “It would be a bit cheesy but I think that’s one thing that founders tend to miss out: to really believe in what they do. Because you are the first customer; if you don’t believe in yourself, there’s no point in getting people to believe in what you do. Business is all about making people believe in what you do enough for them to spend money, to pay you to do what you do for them… The faith in what you do has to come from you.”