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Saturday, November 25

Got Journalism of Courage. Need Brave Marketing!

A newspaper that's not on the radar of most media planners, marketing and advertising junta because it doesn't give the reach and the absolute numbers is Indian Express.

But I love the paper because it is true to its DNA - the Journalism of Courage!
Of course I read it only on the week-ends as it doesn't have the ads and is a bit short on business and marketing stories!

Just wanted to share this IE story on the Mumbai train blast victims. Guys IE has been carrying out individual stories on all the blast victims on its front page since the day of the blast!(long after the other papers have forgotten the blast and gone to cover other 'Dhoom' stories or the Branjolina stories...

Every single day since the Mumbai blast, IE has been cataloguing the torn apart lives of the families of the blast victims. With sensitivity and painstaking resaerch. Francis Lewis in the picture above is the 127th victim out of a total of 187 victims who have been written about...

For Indian Express, they are real people. Who need the respect and individual attention which mass media is capable of giving but often shies away from!

For IE, the victims are not just statistics, TRPs, breaking news masala, opinion poll fodder, headline ingredients, chat show inputs!

Well, there were a lot many papers and channels who made a lot of noise over Jessica Lal, Nitish Katara and Priyadarshini Mattoo. But one can see they were largely TRP driven. I feel, for them there is no difference between a 'Rahul Mahajan' and a 'Mumbai Blast' story...But IE clearly is different!

I wish more people read the IE...And I wish the marketing guys made it more reader friendly!

I have a few suggestions though...(although I am not in the know of who IE considers it's core TG)

1. Guys, please cut down on politics a little. It won't get you readership...
2. Cover more news - in an attention starved society, readers often prefer width over depth!
3. Market yourself well...few uninspiring hoardings won't get you new readers...It's a tough world and you have aggressive competitors...You need 'Brave Imaginative Marketing' as well...
Think like a David!:-)
4. Use 'guerrilla marketing' tactics to reach out to readers who believe in 'Journalism of Courage'.
Will offer my POV on Monday on the need for 'Guerrilla Tactics'!
5. I think new media is a great way to market IE. Blogs, videos on youtube, WOM, sms/ MMS...
6. And yes, I am willing to 'crowdcast' for the IE marketing team:-) I am sure many of us will be...

Any other examples of highly principled but underdog brands?

9 comments:

ram said...

I am also intrigued by how Indian Express survives. It stimulates me more than any other newspapers. I like their views on most issues. Their columnists are intelligent and bipartisan. The one thing that we are missing is the sub altern India. I realize that the regionalization of TV media has resulted in its own dynamics of regional heroes and villians. For instance in Maharashtra there is different world operating beyond the NDTV and IE of the world. Marathi TV, journalists, intellectuals etc have their own agendas, sensibilities and influences. Similarly in TN, Andhra, Bengal, Kerala. The NDTV and CNNIBN and Indian Express may not be speaking to a huge spectrum of India

Manish said...

Factoid -Last year I had applied to IE marketing...but did not get a response:-)

It's impossible for an NDTV, CNN-IBN to speak to a larger slice of India. Unfortunately, our sheer size and diversity - in terms of education, income, aspirations makes it difficult...

I only know of two media -Bollywood and Cricket that can talk to a larger audience. But even there the guy who pays 150bucks to watch Lagey Raho Munna Bhai, the one who watches it on his 7 lac Plasma screen at his farm -house and the front stall guy who pays Rs. 15-20( a good percentage of his daily earnings might well be from different planets! Multi-plex and mall culture is meant to create/ re-inforce newer barriers and stratas!

I was just airing the micro issue of a good content newspaper lagging behind the numbers game and is there something that 'innovative marketing 'can do to help the brand!

I guess the time and the technology is right for such efforts!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to talk about a paper that's just as focussed on real news as the IE, perhaps even more - and reflects that commitment down to its business model. Tehelka. When it was founded, Tarun Tejpal chose to turn down the many financing offers from large investors in favour of going to the people, in order to maintain autonomy.
And their marketing is through events - the recent 'Summit of the Powerless' being one example. They've done a great job of carving out a niche and speaking to their constituents as stakeholders. If I have one gripe, it is the excessive solemnity of their articles, which can be a turnoff sometimes. But overall, that's a reminder of what a newspaper can be. As is the New York Times.

Manish said...

yes...full marks to Mr. Tejpal and his team! whats the 'Summit of the Powerless'? where was it held?

Mental note- must subscribe to Tehelka...currently i barely manage to buy and read an issue a quarter!

Divya Pratap said...

Hi Manish,

One idea that struck me. Indian Express should try to connect with the intelligentia and make it their news paper and voice. They can start with marketing it to universities, IIM's, IIT's, Places where the Intelligentia meet etc. In this way they can find a mindset and market segment of people who are the intelligentia or those who would like to believe or behave like one. This segment would be in line with their inward expression, "Journalism of Courage" and appeal to a set of people who believe in their idea of Journalism. Thus turn more readers into believers.

ram said...

Divya,

The notion that intelligentia hangs out in IIM's,IIT's or Mckinsey is assuming that IIT or IIM is the only type of intellgentia. Howard Gardner (http://www.howardgardner.com/) at Harvard has identified atleast 8 different kinds of intelligences and philosophers like Ken Wilber have analyzed human development in further detail. The fact is MS Subbhalakshmi and Narayana Murthy are equally intelligent but have a different types one has aesthetic and the other cognitive. Similarly a good team person has social intelligence and Salman Khan ( Kinesthetic - Physical fitness) or Ramana Maharishi ( Spiritual). Now till what we look at intelligentsia in a integrated way and offer media choices for each intelligence it will drive distort development.

Manish said...

ram, for heavens sake...goto your baby!...am off for dinner...will get into this interesting discussion after neo goes to bed:-)

ram said...

On the Tehelka, I have respect for their approach to funding, gritty journalism.

What doesnt work for me is the lack of objectivity when dealing political movements like BJP, RSS. The basis of correct journalism is to take multiple perspectives into account before arriving at an opinion. You cant paint broadbrush strokes without a reasoned analysis.

The other fact that I dont understand is the lack of a sense of humor in writing. issues in such a uni-directional manner.

Manish said...

ram...you bring fresh perspective to the blog...thanks.

i guess divya was merely pointing to a marketing way forward for brand IE. Your point on multiple -intelligence justified!