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Newspaper innovations shape experience: Sandeep Sharma

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Newspaper innovations shape experience: Sandeep Sharma

The Indian Newspaper Kongress (INK) 2012, held on July 20 in New Delhi, put the spotlight on newspapers. Organised by exchange4media Group, the annual event aims to understand what the future holds for the newspaper industry, as stakeholders contemplated on how to bring about further growth for the medium. INK 2012 was presented by Dainik Jagran. Business Standard was the print partner.

Moving beyond the purpose of disseminating information, the newspaper has become a powerful mechanism for brands to become more relevant to consumers through disruptive marketing and advertising techniques. Commenting on innovations in newspaper advertising, Sandeep Sharma, President, RK Swamy Media Group, stressed that it should be unique, which is fundamental to the definition of innovation, something which should not be recreated.

Though the media has evolved dramatically with trends like speaking newspaper, cover jackets and half flaps, etc., innovations have to be more relevant, impactful and efficient to the TG. There has to be a balance behind the investments made into innovations with the impact. According to him, there are three kinds of innovation. The first kind is conceptual: where you are selling your idea. He cited Hutch’s launch in Chennai, where the brand had given out personalised letters inside the newspapers. Similarly, Colgate created mutual brand equity and readership for Sakshi newspaper in Hyderabad, which promoted the concept of brushing twice by distributing the paper in the evening.

The other strategic innovations have been the ones that create long term engagements and use multimedia platforms. For instance, Siemens, together with Economic Times and Mint, co-created content on issues and trends concerning the Indian consumer. This was complemented with the brand’s advertisements in the most strategic ways. This was strengthened further by extensive multimedia promotions.

“Such tactical ads create noticeability. A newspaper shapes the brand’s message, but innovation shapes experience, which in turn leads to visibility,” Sharma added. But, the success of innovations differ from brand to brand, thus advertising should focus on what is desirable to the readers and what is viable in the market. According to him, conceptual advertising creates brand connect while tactical ones may overshadow the importance of the brand and overplay the creative.

Sharma felt that the digital leap will be the forerunner of innovations in times to come. Newspaper on iPad is one such example.

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