Jaldi 5 with Sorbojeet Chatterjee: Events like half-marathon deepens bond with readers

12 Mar,2013

It’s been a hectic fortnight for DNA’s vice-president – marketing, Sorbojeet Chatterjee. The women’s half-marathon was a show of strength for the newspaper and one wrong move could lead to much embarrassment. But, as those who visited the event tell us, there is much reason to cheer for Sorbo, as the CMO is better known as, since not only was the event a big success but it also offered reason to cheer as a positive rub-off to the newspaper brand and as a successful sports-cum-cultural property. He took some time off to respond to MxMIndia’s questions a day after the event.

 

01.  It’s been an all-new team at the helm at DNA… organizing a successful event like the half-marathon must be a marathon effort?

A new team also brings in some fresh thinking and added dynamismThis year the mandate was to scale up on all fronts.

 

Since the event has been fully sponsored, wouldn’t it have been nicer for the entire entry fee to have gone in to the charity cause selected?

We are the only half-marathon of stature that contributes 50% of the registration fees to charity. Going forward we plan to make the scale bigger by adding more NGOs and a larger corpus

 

02.  From the point of view of the benefit to the brand, would you say DNA benefitted?

A newspaper brand needs to be a relevant and integral part of the local milieu. Marquee events like a women’s half-marathon allow us to create special engagement opportunities that deepens the bond with our readers. Besides differentiated and innovative offerings are the best way to widen the reader family. Thus a one-off women’s half marathon will add some value to the brand, but the larger objective is to create a steady flow of events and engagement platforms that will strongly seed the brand in the “DNA” of our readers.

 

03.  We’ve seen events run by publications becoming big and standalone properties of the publishing company (eg Filmfare, Femina awards). Do you see the Stayfree I Can Women’s Half-Marathon also becoming that?

‘I Can’ is an extremely powerful ethos and the long-term strategy is to extend it to various round the year engagement opportunities for women across multiple interest areas. There will be always be a finite limit to how much one standalone event can grow. However, the moment we create a strong umbrella brand the opportunity to scale up is infinite

 

04.  We know it’s too early, but a couple of things that you would like to do to make it bigger and better next year?

We would definitely like to grow in scale in terms of participants in the existing market as well as expand to newer markets. While we have almost doubled the registrations this year – there still exists a tremendous potential that can be tapped. Besides, every year we have been looking at ways of bettering the “runner experience”. We need to continue to innovate to further broadbase participation.

 

05.  DNA is also published from other cities. Will you take this to other publishing centres (like Bengaluru, Pune, Ahmedabad etc)?

This is only the second year. This year the focus was in terms of scaling up the event in Mumbai. The integration with Zee TV helped get national awareness. The logical step is to take it to the other ‘DNA’ markets in due course.

 

It’s unfortunate that other media vehicles do not report on what their competition is doing… even if it’s for a good cause. Your comments?

This year the media coverage for the event has been fantastic. Every news channel has covered it extensively. They realize that if an event is an integral part of the city – they must be true to their consumers and cover it.

 

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