The Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) in partnership with exchange4media presented the AIM Engagement Survey to the industry stakeholders on July 9, 2012 in Mumbai, as part of the three-city tour.
A panel discussion on ‘Magazines - The power of Engagement’ was held primarily for the media and the advertising industry as well as for the clients to highlight the importance of investments on advertising in magazines. The panel comprised Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar UM; Shubhranshu Singh, Marketing Director, India and South Asia, Visa; Nathalie Gerschtein, General Manager, Garnier; Mrinmoy Mukherjee, Director, Marketing and Business Development, Raymond Ltd; and KV Sridhar, National Creative Director, Leo Burnett, India. Tarun Rai, CEO, WWM presented the brief prior to the panel discussion. Annurag Batra, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media, moderated the discussion. The panel discussion was preceded by brief individual presentations by the panellists.
The topic for panel discussion was ‘Magazines - The power of Engagement’. The discussion primarily revolved around how magazines have a high engagement value and how advertising in magazines can prove beneficial for brands. A major focus was also on media planners and what steps can be taken to attract them to this particular platform.
Commenting on the power of magazines, KV Sridhar said, “Content has to be in context with what publication you are putting up and what mindset you are talking to.” He also stressed on the importance of putting the core content and context together and deciding whether it is worth creating separate advertising for that magazine to actually talk to a particular mindset.
A valid point discussed was the how futile it is for magazines to compete with television. Commenting on the same, Shubhranshu Singh said, “Magazines are ideally bought by niche interest people and magazines primarily cater to this niche set. Niche cannot be considered less since there are enough people present in every niche set. There are big opportunities that are getting closer to the editorial input. Readership is the best way to differentiate. Readership numbers in the form of collaterals need to be put on the table.”
Tarun Rai added here, “Though we are not competing with television, we are aggressive and hence have employed competitive research for the same. Magazines may not have a similar reach as compared to television, but they have high involvement value as compared to other media platforms.”
Agreeing with Rai, Nathalie Gerschtein remarked that it was imperative to know how to use the media and elaborated on how magazines are important for a brand like L’Oreal. She added, “Working with magazines is very interesting since the quality and engagement is very different.”
The panellists also discussed about the designing of the magazines and the audience that they reached out to. Mrinmoy Mukherjee observed that there is a practicality about how a magazine gets designed and how it goes out and gets circulated. “What is of critical importance is the ability of the creative idea to be manifested in the magazine. A replica of television commercial may or may not work, but if it is something that stands out and has its own substance, that’s when it works,” he said.
The discussion then shifted to what marketers want from magazines. According to Annurag Batra, marketers want the magazines to be an advertising platform, a PR agency where the message is amplified as well as a direct marketing agency. “They need to figure out what they want from the magazines. They can’t have all three things,” he added.
During the course of discussion, Shashi Sinha also mentioned how product is designed in a particular way and if tampered with will undermine the value. “It is unfortunate that as values add to the client, there is a desire to go the market stage, which is fundamentally a wrong way to go,” he felt.
Rai concluded the panel discussion by reinstating the point that they are not fighting with the IRS (Indian Readership Survey). “AIM believes in quality in terms of interaction by magazines,” he maintained.