Siddhartha Mukherjee: Media Perception Study is a Potential Goldmine…

09 Dec,2016

By Siddhartha Mukherjee


Media Perception Study, conducted by our Industry for Clients, is a small but great indicator of how far away our Industry is from the genuine desire for neutral data, research and that too, a scientific one!


Media or Journalist perception studies are conducted once or twice a year by the Agency for Clients. This dipstick survey is conducted to capture the imagery/perception of their Client brand amongst the Journalist fraternity. From a marketing and brand building domain point of view, this is a very crucial Primary level data of a stakeholder.


This can reap win-win benefits for both the Client Brand and the Journalist, provided it is done well and neutrally. The reality, however, is quite stark!


1. More often than not, the very purpose of implementing such studies is lost in translation. Agencies do it as a formality, more to customize a rosy picture for the clients

2. There is no Ownership and Accountability neither by the Agency nor the Client.

3. The sampling of journalists itself is a total give away of the intent of this study

4. The questionnaire smacks of any understanding of research, objective of the study and all this, more than the agency, shows very poorly on the Client-CorpComm desk

5. The outputs of the study are barely reviewed or analyzed as a crucial secondary data

The question is that why this state of affairs? Well, the answer goes back to the same, boring, repetitive yet real cause of our Industry. We are still operating in a silo and without realization that this Media Dipstick data is actually a potential goldmine. It can be game and image changer for the Industry!


Talk to Corporates/Clients about this initiative and almost every single one ridicules it! They have lost faith and do not see any value coming out of outputs from the PR Industry so far.


What can be done:

1. Internal (CEO/Marketing Heads) should make this mandatory for the CorpComm desk as they will understand and value this data set.

2. Central Research desk within Client Organizations should get involved and work towards the sampling and questionnaire design with the Head of Communications. This will also allow the eventual fusion of some part of this data with the Secondary research.

3. A neutral, third party, not in any way associated with the PR Agency & the Client, should be appointed for execution of this survey. (The PR Agency should formalize third party service provider’s introduction amongst respondent journalists)

4. Data should be collated and submitted to the Client. Tabulation of and inference from the data too should happen under Client’s supervision.

5. The inference should be fed as takeaways for Communications Planning, Media Relations skill evaluation and PR Agency KRAs/KPIs.


Media Perception Study, as a concept, has been a wonderfully scientific thought towards brand reputation building and stakeholder management. It dates back to ever since our Industry started. However, with time, the vision and mission behind this initiative has got destroyed, or likely, been destroyed.


Our industry can establish its keenness or eagerness to change for the better by demonstrating an overhaul of this study into a potential Goldmine.


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