Siddhartha Mukherjee: TV broadcasters must start taking Thought Leadership seriously!

16 Mar,2017

By Siddhartha Mukherjee


It is good to see that TV Channel houses have started to rise above the rat race of TRPs.


It is wise of them to have realized that beyond the toil of keeping the Advertisers happy and Viewers informed about their upcoming programme offerings, there is a huge world called Organisational Management. More so, in today’s Reputation Economy, Management is all about creating and maintaining a Halo Effect or Thought Leadership that will seamlessly transcend the TV Channel’s brand values across every single Organisational stakeholder – Viewers, Advertisers, Distributors, Content providers, Government, Society at large, et al. Very importantly, in this, PR Machinery has a bigger role to play!


For decades now, Corporate Thought Leadership has typically been the forte of industry verticals outside the Media and Entertainment (M&E) sector. The M&E sector was caught up in the effort to put some method to this sector’s unstructured madness. After years of erratic expansion and lack of formal blue prints, now, finally, indications have started pointing towards consolidation within the TV Broadcast Industry. Creating Thought Leadership is one such strong indicator!


It is not that TV Channel houses have not attempted creation or change of Thought Leadership earlier. They have!However, my personal view is that they have been myopic and the communication effortswere half hearted.


Interestingly, given that this time, one of the biggest broadcast networks has roped in the “perfectionist” celebrity, we are only hoping that this time, it works well.


The question however is, what are the key things that the TV Broadcast houses can consider:

1. Thought Leadership is a Corporate Brand Reputation Project:

Yes, this is a serious business. Creating or resigning Brand Reputation is about erasing old brand promises and imprinting new ones. It is not easy. Stakeholder management specialists have to be roped in and made to work towards a specific set of Communication and Business Objectives.


2. Thought Leadership doesnot work under time limits…effort should be perpetual:

For the halo to stay in the minds of the stakeholders, it has to be a perpetual effort. Doesnot matter which month of the year or what business scenario we are in! Which means that for Business Planning within boardrooms, this is one key reference point. A kneejerk spurt of Ads, TV Promotional and PR campaign may definitely create gratification within the TV Channel Management but it sure calls for lack of actual term results and assured wastage of money.


3. Is not about innovative Taglines but about creating Touchpoints:

Huge efforts and monies are spent on coming up with one catchy Tagline that tries to explain the brand’s new thought! However, if it fails to capture the minds of all stakeholders right from the time he or she wakes up till the time the person goes to sleep, the taglines remains to be an ornament in the locker! The Communication machinery should be able to translate the meaning of the Tagline into media exposures (news, promotions, videos and ads) and actual experiences.


4. Not just about CXOs:

One of the biggest mistakes Thought Leadership and Corporate Reputation efforts make is that they limit the planning and execution to the CXOs. That should definitely be avoided. On the contrary, involving the internal ecosystem, the employees, the biggest and readily available viral tool for a brand should be made to be involved in the Thought Leadership creation and sustenance process.


5. Corporate Communication and Public Relations Jugalbandi:

To manage such a large matrix of External and Internal Stakeholders, it should not be about carpet bombing the market with One pager ads, Promos and Viral Videos. It is about phase wise, block by block but cohesive management of perceptions across stakeholders. The Corporate Communications team through Public Relations approach is best placed to manage this! Incase the Paid(Advertising or Promotional) tools are to be brought in, the Corporate Communications team should be empowered to take a call on that.

The TV Broadcast industry’s seriousness towards Thought Leadership actually indicates what Corporate Brand Reputation should actually mean to Organisational Management in any industry vertical or sector. Till few years back, one would never imagine that TV Broadcast, of all the other sectors in flux, would be one of the torchbearers of this initiative. It is a sign of Corporatisationand Consolidation. More so, it is a sign that Corporate Communications and PR Industry associated with this Industry will think beyond MarComm!


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