Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: Times Now faces serious brand erosion if Arnab Goswami exits + My friend’s office disallows cellphones…

03 Nov,2016

By Jaisurya Das

 

It’s ironic how I discussed Arnab Goswami in this very column two weeks ago when he talked about his passion to build an independent media house. Today he’s back, trending with his seemingly sudden resignation.  At the time of writing though, it’s still uncertain if the resignation is accepted as he continues to come on the channel.

From discord with the principal shareholders of Times Television to partnering BJP MP Rajiv Chandrasekhar and Rupert Murdoch with Fox News are all the theories making the rounds.

So be it. I wish him well though, creating an independent media entity is far from simple..

I pity the Times Television Network though since they rode on this one man for far too long, so much so that the brand is synonymous with its anchor. Now this isn’t great news for the discerning brand managers there. It’s exceedingly tough to shake this off. Take the example of Ricoh and Canon who spent millions the world over to get people to learn the word “copier” and yet failed miserably. Xerox  is how the world knows this industry.

‘Fedex-it’ is what a courier in several countries is called. No matter that market shares of DHL and UPS may be significant. Times Now is Arnab Goswami and this is tough to shake off both for the TOI Group and for the new entity that he may create in the next few weeks.

I can imagine the boardroom discussions getting intense at the TOI group trying to search for the right face who can carry his legacy on. He may at the receiving end of social media jokes time and again but there is no sharing off his persona and how he got the TRPs and GRPs moving skyward for the channel.

Will Rajdeep Sardesai get a new lease of life with Times Now or will it be the ‘Christian Amanpour’ of Indian media Barkha Dutt who will rule the roost in Arnab’s chair ?

Well, this is left to be seen but I certainly don’t envy the TOI group at this stage. They over-marketed him and now face serious brand erosion. One man, one show and the entire media house rides on him…

Well done Arnab. Wish you the very best !

 

On that faint glimmer of hope of independent media, I move on to our readers from Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi who have sent in interesting questions this week…

 

Dear Sir, I have two questions: One, what according to you is a fair age to do an MBA so that it helps one in a career in the ad-sales media?

Honesty, I don’t believe there is an ideal age to study for a management degree or any other for that matter. Learning is a continuum and hence must go on, irrespective of age. After all its your craft that will make the difference!

Having said that, advertising sales is an area that is about passion to innovate, compete and achieve given objectives. As far as I know, the MBA is really most relevant and point of entry. Once you are in, it’s pretty much your performance and ability to build a strong network of constituents that are really valued.

Yes, a sound MBA can give you a good foundation and perspective beyond the obvious but with advertising sales getting tougher by the day. It’s finally the individual who will make the difference.

An MBA doesn’t separate the wheat from the chaff. Good craft does.

 

And my second question, after an MBA, is it wiser to get into a marketing role or continue in sales. I enjoy sales, but I am often told that the rise is faster and better in marketing.

There is no marketing role without a few good years in sales. I firmly believe that being there on the field is the only way to learn how to market.

If you haven’t done that, then your marketing prowess and initiatives will be purely based on second-hand information and academic belief.

A good marketer and brand manager has invariably spent over a year on the field to understand the dynamics beyond what is apparent.

I may be biased since this is way learnt marketing and for me its about experiencing what happens at the point of purchase. My honest advice would be to get into sales, learn the intricacies and then evolve into a sound marketing professional.

Marketing isn’t just about degrees, it’s about understanding your audience and potential customer.

 

A friend of mine and I had this argument last week. He said the editors of most Indian publications have a fair or at most wheatish complexion. There is no “dark” or dark-complexioned editor. This, my friend said, leads to a latent colour discrimination. True that? Or a non-issue?

Absolute rubbish and a complete non-issue!

There is no colour discrimination whatsoever and I can say this quite emphatically having hired several professionals in content and other streams.  This is the last thing that comes to your mind when you are looking for a bright spark!

For god’s sake, please don’t waste your time on all this trivia. There is no discrimination and if at all, it’s based on your competence!

 

I have recently learnt from my friend that his office – which is part of a well-known media corporation – has disallowed the use of mobile phones in the office. This is so regressive. How do they expect journalists and sales professionals to work without cellphones ? Please help. Thanks.

Well, I can’t really help you remedy this issue for your friend but if someone senior enough is reading this, it may strike the right chord!

This is more insecurity than anything else. This isn’t about disturbance during work hours etc. This is insecurity. The principal shareholders have obviously a lot to hide or are worried about information leaking during office hours.

Photo evidence can be very damaging and hence today’s mobiles could be detrimental to those who have several graveyards in their cupboards!!

I most certainly think this is ridiculous in today’s world when technology is by far the largest enabler for most of us. Yes, we survived without mobile phones but the industry isn’t what it is now either.

So if the company in question can invest huge sums of money in upgrading their technology there is no reason why their people shouldn’t be allowed to use a basic tool of communication.

Yes, you could create etiquette guidelines to ensure that work isn’t disturbed in any way, but curtailing is undoubtedly unfair. But then, if you are insecure, so be it!

 

No insecurity for us though at Dear MxM, and we will be back with clockwork precision next Thursday!  Until then, enjoy your weekend and take good care of yourself. Yes, please do keep us on our toes with your questions on editor@mxmindia.com Do mention your City and Dear MxM in the subject line.  Sayonara and God Bless!

 

Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist, eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. He is also Contributing Editor of MxM India and Co-Founder of pune365.com For more on his work visit www.xanadu.co.in. The views expressed in this column are his own.

 

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