To put consumers (read readers) in the center of the flagship media brand - Times of India, Bennett Coleman has recently hired seasoned advertising strategy professional Rahul Kansal as the Brand Director. In some sense, 'Brand Director' is a unique role that straddles responsibilities for both content and marketing strategies.
The new position of Brand Director will attempt to address an interesting paradigm. That the readers are much like consumers and a 'brand person' (and not just a content person - Editor) needs to constantly evolve the product offering. And hence the choice of an ad man in Rahul Kansal, who was earlier the Deputy MD at Leo Burnett Advertising and has spent 22 years with advertising.
Speaking with exchange4media, Kansal said, "The Times Group has decided to focus on the brand management in an more centralized manner. And my appointment is just a step forward towards that direction. I will oversee both content and brand aspects of The Times of India."
Would it be a challenge to straddle two different aspects - Editorial and Marketing communication? While Kansal accepts that it will be invigorating experience, he belives he is cut out for the task. "Yes, influencing both content and marketing would be a challenge. But I guess my background, as an advertising professional for long should serve well. After all, as a strategy and a servicing person you are handling a Piyush Pandey at one level and listening to consumers at other," rationales Kansal.
Surely, The Times Group has always focused on the marketing strategies. Various group initiatives have been well received. Case in point being the recent 'Win with the Times' consumer promo. Infact, the recent changes and restructuring point at the incessant churn to innovate and stay ahead. Along side the important appointment, another major development is brewing- creation of a formal strategy unit 'Corporate Group.' Read the part II of this story, for an inside view.