Simply throwing data isn’t enough: Max Hegerman

“Companies should utilise both the idea & the data so that consumers can feel positively about brands,” says the SVP & Head, Digital, JWT India Group

e4m by Arshiya Khullar
Published: Oct 23, 2012 8:26 PM  | 5 min read
Simply throwing data isn’t enough: Max Hegerman

The abundance of data and easy availability of every minute speck of information, be it about the consumer or at a larger macro level, has redefined the consumer-marketer relationship. The advent of technology has altered the way content is consumed, disseminated and how consumers interact with a brand. It is no longer one way communication-engagement and interaction has assumed critical mass.

In such a scenario, marketers need to combine advanced technological tools and use it with fresh, clutter breaking ideas and create a buzz.

“Digital agencies need to take the conversation from innovation and move it to engagement. You need to get people to think about brands with a smile or a heart. There is now a need to create engagement tools to embrace understanding of what a particular brands is all about,” said Max Hegerman, SVP & Head, Digital, JWT India Group.

He cited the example of Sprint, the second largest mobile telecom company in the US and how it has turned a brand website into an aggregation tool, taking live data from around 300 websites around the world and creating a customised offering for the user. The website can be customised and downloaded as a desktop widget or on the mobile so that users can engage with it on a regular basis.

In a similar example of technology joining hands with innovations to create a compelling connect, handset maker, Nokia, in a bid to drive engagement and awareness about its Nokia navigation tools set up one of the world’s biggest signposts in London. It was an interactive installation which allowed people to text locations through the web and phones and the directions would be displayed on the signpost. Such was the interest that this innovative use of technology aroused that thousands of locations were displayed.

“Experiences like these are important for the data to be meaningful. Due to such innovative ideas, people walk away with a different perception about the brand. Therefore, there is a need for brands to create something that people can engage in and that can be sustained on a long term basis,” said Hegerman.

Beverage brand Coca Cola has also been using ingenious techniques to spread happiness among its customers. This year on Friendship Day, the brand launched a unique marketing across various malls and stores in seven countries in which its vending machines located at different consumer touch points worked on a two at a price of one offer. The initiative resulted in significant traction with close to 800 cans being sold in nine hours of vending. Though it was a one day activity, the brand claims to have trended on Twitter for three days.

Hegerman also showcased two case studies highlighting marketing activities of auto brand Honda for its Internavi car navigation system, which were undertaken with the objective of differentiating its offering from other car navigation systems. Honda created a dynamic real-time visualisation for Internavi and made it available on its own website and other platforms for customers to increase their understanding about the usage of the system. It included, among several other things, animated data feeding and graphs on road conditions, a fuel economy leaderboard, and a pictogram depicting weather conditions. The activity went viral online and the brand claims to have achieved a 200 per cent increase in Internavi usage and a 100 per cent increase in the number of registrations for this system in cars.

However, it was the brands’ endeavour to open channels of communication during the Tsunami devastation that rocked Japan last year using its car navigation system that won appreciation and recognition. Internavi’s real time data collection and distribution was used to provide key timely information and analysis about road conditions in Japan so that responders could reach victims with necessary supplies faster. The data was further processed into a visual map and it also helped Google in launching Google crises response page. This effort not just increased usage and adoption of the system but also helped achieve a larger cause.

While these case studies have been taken from across the globe, according to Hegerman, companies in India are also equally poised to introduce such innovative ideas to drive engagement with people. “India is on its way to this particular time and space. Companies should utilise both the idea and the data so that consumers can feel positively about brands. Simply throwing data and information isn’t enough. We need to surprise and delight people and create a two way conversation,” he appended.

Representing one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, Hegerman asserted that the onus is on the agencies to latch on to this partnership between an ‘idea’ and the ‘technology’ and convince clients to embrace such unique propositions.

Max Hegerman was sharing his views at the Delhi leg of the e4m Conclave on October 22, 2012. He was speaking on the topic ‘When technology meets Big Idea’. The Conclave is presented by Jagran.

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The Print: Six years of shaping narratives & defining excellence in Digital Journalism

From politics to culture, economy to technology, The Print’s coverage has been comprehensive

By e4m Staff | Oct 3, 2023 5:22 PM   |   2 min read

The Print

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital journalism, The Print, founded by veteran journalist Shekhar Gupta, stands as a beacon of  excellence in authentic and impactful  journalism. As it completes its remarkable six-year journey, it's not just a milestone for the publication; it's a testament to the power of credible journalism in the online realm.

Six years ago, Shekhar Gupta envisioned a platform that would bridge the gap between traditional journalism values and the digital age's rapid pace.. In these years, The Print has not just reported news; it has deciphered complexities, challenged norms, and provided in-depth analysis that has become its hallmark.

The Print, under Gupta's stewardship, has been at the forefront of in-depth journalism, breaking significant stories that have shaped public opinion and influenced policies. Its commitment to impactful reporting has earned it the trust of readers not just in India but around the world. The publication's incisive political analysis, socio-economic commentaries, and nuanced perspectives have made it a go-to source for anyone seeking thoughtful discourse.

What sets The Print apart is not just its content but also its innovative approach to digital journalism. Embracing the power of multimedia, it seamlessly blends text, images, and videos to create a holistic understanding of news stories. Its interactive features engage readers, inviting them to participate in discussions and shaping the narrative collectively.

In an era where misinformation and sensationalism often cloud the digital space, The Print has stood firm, upholding journalistic ethics. Its commitment to truth and accuracy has been a guiding light, especially during challenging times when reliable information is paramount.

The Print's impact has transcended borders. Its insightful coverage of global events and its ability to contextualize complex issues have earned it respect on the international stage. From politics to culture, economy to technology, The Print’s coverage has been comprehensive, leaving no stone unturned.

As The Print celebrates its six-year anniversary, it does so not just as a news portal but as a thought leader, shaping conversations and influencing opinions. Its journey so far is a testament to its dedication to the highest standards of journalism. With a promising future ahead, The Print continues to inspire, inform, and ignite discussions, reminding the world of the power of authentic journalism in the digital age.

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Condemn govt's attack on media: I.N.D.I.A on NewsClick raids

Heavily censuring what it teams as an attack on freedom of speech, the alliance has extended its support to the journalists through a detailed statement

By e4m Staff | Oct 3, 2023 3:15 PM   |   2 min read


The Delhi Police allegedly conducted raids in the homes of journalists and 30 other locations in connection with the probe into NewsClick and its funding.

The portal is being investigated for allegations regarding its funding. Some of its assets have also been attached, reports said. 

The case has been filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) has condemned the raids, calling them the "BJP government’s fresh attack on the media." Extending its support to the journalists and their right to the freedom of speech and expression, the alliance has released a detailed statement:

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) parties strongly condemn the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government’s fresh attack on the media. We steadfastly stand with the media and for the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and expression.

In the last nine years, the BJP government has deliberately persecuted and suppressed the media by deploying investigative agencies to suppress the British Broadcasting Corporation, Newslaundry, Dainik Bhaskar, Bharat Samachar, the Kashmir Walla, the Wire etc., and most recently the journalists of NewsClick. The BJP government has also tried to convert the media into a mouthpiece for its partisan and ideological interests by facilitating the takeover of media organisations by crony capitalists. Both the government and its ideologically aligned organisations have resorted to reprisals against individual journalists who spoke truth to power. Furthermore, the BJP government has also spearheaded regressive policies like the Information Technology Rules 2021 that constrict the media from reporting objectively. In doing so, the BJP is not only hiding its sins of omissions and commission from the people of India. It is also compromising India’s global standing as a mature democracy.

The BJP government’s coercive actions are invariably directed against only those media organisations and journalists that speak truth to power. Ironically, the BJP government is paralysed when it comes to taking action against those journalists inciting hatred and divisiveness in the nation. In the national interest, it would behove the BJP Government to focus on genuine issues of concern to the nation and the people, and stop attacking the media to distract attention from its failures.

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'Journalists should remember that they're not the story'

At the e4m English Journalism 40 Under 40 Summit, journalists spoke about the daily challenges of providing unbiased news and how to navigate in a polarized news landscape

By e4m Staff | Oct 3, 2023 11:58 AM   |   4 min read

e4m English Journalism 40 under 40 Summit

Journalism in India is thriving but not without its challenges. One of the key areas of discussion has been the issue of biased and unbiased journalism across mediums. At the e4m English Journalism 40 Under 40 Summit, a panel discussion was held on the topic ‘Navigating Unbiased Reporting in a Polarized News Culture’. It dealt with topics like safety and ethics in reporting, media bias and revenue models.

The panel was moderated by Ruhail Amin, Sr Editor, exchang4media Group and included Aditya Raj Kaul- Executive Editor National Security and Strategic Affairs, TV9 Network, Dr. Surbhi Dahiya Professor and Course Director, IIMC New Delhi, Dipankar Ghose, Deputy National Editor, Hindustan Times and Sneha Mary Koshy, Sr Editor, NDTV.

Dahiya, being in the academic space, spoke about how the news has become polarized and echo chambers have been created. “In the very first class, we tell students to be very objective, very balanced in their reporting. But what happens in this polarized news culture, in this media environment in which news and information are very heavily influenced or characterized by extreme differences, maybe in perspectives or maybe ideologies or political leanings, it often results in a very sharp division of the society into distinct ideologies or partisan organizations or groups. Each one of them consumes news from sources that align with their existing beliefs or preconceived notions or values or political preferences.

So, then echo chambers are created. Echo chambers happen when basically consumers consume news from sources, which make them re-believe or reinforce their pre-existing notions. So, we especially at IIMC, train our students so that whenever they write something, they have to have diverse sources of information. So, we teach them that you will have various sources of information, but you have to decide whether you're taking this information solely from one angle or one perspective or one source.”

Speaking about personal bias of journalists and how to keep that at bay, Dipankar Ghose says, “I think in terms of bias, it's incredibly important for a journalist or a reporter to understand he is not the story. One of the things is that we see this happen more and more, I think it's emblematic of a phase where everybody's getting on social media, everybody has a voice, that you seem to want to be active protagonists in a story, and that's a problem. You can be a protagonist in the story in the sense that you're one of the people telling it honestly. But you are not the story itself. You are not adding to the story. You should be adding to a diplomatic push. You shouldn't be taking away from a diplomatic push, you're reporting the diplomatic push.”

Aditya Raj Kaul explains how revenue models and TRP ratings affect the system. “The most essential part in TV journalism at least, is the kind of revenue model you have. This revenue model directly impacts your journalism, whatever you do. Of course, you had the TRP controversy around it. And this revenue model is completely flawed because these are completely based on advertisements that you get. For advertisements, the channels have to reach out to the people out there, the companies out there and tell them that they are number one and you are most watched, and how do you do that? So, there is BARC that comes into the picture or other agencies.

So now the ball is in the government’s court to have a kind of neutral TRP system either under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry or have an independent player out there who does not see any kind of profits coming in from either any channels media houses, or any of the corporate houses out there.”

Sneha Mary Koshy shared with the audience what exactly reporters can do in a polarized news situation. “As a reporter, you have to put your foot down. If your office says you have to do something you have to say this is what it is. Fight for it because it is your story. If you are a reporter, if you're a journalist, stand for your stories. It's more important than ever before. So, you debate it out, you discuss it out with your editors. That’s where I come from, that’s what I believe in.”


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Press Club condemns raids against Newsclick

As per reports, the Delhi police carried out searches at homes of several journalists

By e4m Staff | Oct 3, 2023 9:17 AM   |   1 min read


The Press Club of India has condemned the Delhi police registering a case against news portal NewsClick. As per media reports, the homes of some journalists associated with it were searched.

The portal is being investigated for allegations regarding its funding. Some of the portal's assets have also been attached, reports said.

The case has been filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).



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BJP's Dr Sudhanshu Trivedi and Gaurav Bhatia top e4m Party Spokespersons List 2023

This initiative aims to recognize and honor individuals who stand at the forefront of political communication

By e4m Staff | Oct 2, 2023 2:21 PM   |   1 min read


In the glittering ceremony of the second edition of e4m Party Spokesperson’s 50, held in New Delhi, political luminaries Dr Sudhanshu Trivedi and Gaurav Bhatia of BJP, along with Congress spokespersons Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Pawan Khera, and Supriya Shrinate, as well as AAP’s Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh, emerged among the top ten.

The event, held on October 1, 2023, celebrated these eloquent architects of national narratives, acknowledging their role in shaping India's democratic discourse.

Dr. Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of BW Businessworld and Founder of exchange4media Group, highlighted the power of political representation, emphasizing that these spokespersons are not mere voices but influencers who echo their words in the corridors of power, impacting policies and public opinions.

e4m Party Spokesperson’s 50 initiative aims to recognize and honor the individuals who stand at the forefront of political communication, evaluate their effectiveness, and acknowledge their impact on the national discourse. By systematically assessing their articulation skills, credibility, and ability to engage with diverse audiences, we aim to shed light on the leaders who master the art of political representation.

The ranking process employs a comprehensive and unbiased approach. It considers various parameters such as communication style, media presence, knowledge of issues, and public influence. The assessment involves a thorough evaluation of their public statements, media interactions, and overall impact on shaping political narratives

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The big digital news conglomerate in India is still to be built: Sukumar Ranganathan, HT

Sukumar Ranganathan, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan Times engaged in a free-flowing chat at e4m English Journalism 40/40 Summit & Awards

By e4m Staff | Oct 2, 2023 8:26 AM   |   5 min read


The exchange4media 40 Under 40 English Journalism Awards were preceded by a conference where, among many other panels, Ruhail Amin, Senior Editor, BW Businessworld and exchange4media held a free-flowing dialogue with awards jury chair Sukumar Ranganathan, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan Times, around the different media being used in an evolving newsroom.

Amin began by pointing to the immediacy of television news as opposed to the daily nature of print news and asked Ranganathan how print had navigated that sea change in news consumers’ expectations, where they could get news from their screens immediately while their newspapers came in once a day.

Ranganathan held a slightly different point of view, noting, “If you look at most news channels, and even the specialized channels, they have two kinds of information. One is information that is based on real-time. But by and large, if you look at the substantial stories that TV plays out in the course of the day, you've already read it in that morning’s paper. So rather than print following TV, the unfortunate thing that happens in our country is that TV follows print when it comes to the big stories.”

“This is not a print versus TV thing. Some of the smartest people I know work in TV. But maybe it's because they don't invest adequately in research, or in specialists who can tell them the areas that they need to be looking at. So, a lot of TV journalists end up looking at the morning's paper and saying, hey, this has happened and we've not really covered this; there are countless examples of this, especially with an exclusive story. And the good thing in print is still that when you invest in good journalism and good journalists and in allowing them to travel and spend time on stories, you will get interesting investigations and exclusives.”

Ranganathan added that these were the stories that TV news then plunged into and claimed, without giving any credit to the original person or publication that broke them. And then of course, there was the advent of digital media and its upending of the situation again.

“Now, the news is broken on digital media. TV shows you the news and discusses various aspects of it. And print gives you the perspective and gives you reinforcement and that is in an ideal scheme. But given the fact that many of these platforms are not functioning to their ideal requirements, the truth is actually very, very different.”

According to Ranganathan, “The biggest advantage that print has not just in India but anywhere else in the world is the fact that print, unfortunately, is still the only medium that believes in newsrooms. And it's the only journalistic medium which believes in shoe-leather reporting. It believes in the importance of reporting, it believes in the importance of getting people to where the stories are. It believes in having specialists and beats and everything else. TV does not. So irrespective of whether you're looking at an Indian television channel or an international television channel, you have to look at how many reporters they have.”

“If you take the Indian example, it's very glaring, because TV channels invest in anchors. They don't believe in investing in journalists and they don't believe in investing in reporters. They have anchors more than they have reporters. And the aspiration for everyone in TV, unfortunately, is to become an anchor. I don't think anyone wants to be a reporter. And without reporters, what journalism are you really going to serve?” he added.

Pointing to the business model taken up by industry benchmarks like the New York Times and its successful subscription service in the digital age, Amin asked Ranganathan how he thought the story of Indian print media would unfold.

“I know everyone keeps obsessing about the New York Times and The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. And I think it's very important to understand that especially when you're talking about business models, all business models have a temporal element to them. All the examples that we spoke about started off at a certain period in time. If they were to start trying to do the same thing now, I'm not sure the business model would work. A lot of the Financial Times’ subscriptions, even the digital subscriptions, still go to organizations. So if you're a Unilever, for instance, which is based in London, I think you'll probably take a few hundred corporate subscriptions to the Financial Times digitally and give it to your senior managers. Will they still be doing it 20 years from now is my question, because the entire generation of managers would have changed and they're not people who will probably get their information from the Financial Times.”

Noting that he wasn’t sure if that model would work if NYT and FT started them today, meaning that they definitely wouldn’t take in a market like India, Ranganathan said, “I've said this countless times before and people who've heard me before will probably think I'm repeating myself but at least I'm being consistent. The big digital news conglomerate in India is still waiting to be built. No one has built it yet. The big traditional media companies are still struggling with their models. We have our challenges. We are struggling with our own challenges. But the big digital New Age media conglomerate in this country is waiting to be built.”

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Fake news cheap to produce, genuine journalism really expensive: Arif Mohammed Khan

The Governor of Kerala was speaking at exchange4media’s second edition of English Journalism 40 Under 40 conference and awards 

By e4m Staff | Oct 2, 2023 8:04 AM   |   3 min read

Arif Mohd Khan

“We live in a mass media or a social media age where the role of responsible media has acquired even more significance,” said Arif Mohammed Khan, Governor of Kerala. The Governor was speaking at the second edition of e4m English Journalism 40/40 Summit & Awards on September 30. He was the Chief Guest of the event.

In his address, Khan said that the modern trends in media led to a plethora of channels using various technologies to supply information and views. “We know that free media is absolutely vital for a healthy democracy. Media also has the duty to promote social harmony and national unity which are the prerequisites for any progress towards prosperity.  Objective free and fearless are the adjectives that have been used traditionally to articulate what people expect from the media but one is tempted to ask whether media organisations hire consultants who offer pre-scripted fear-based topics. How many media professionals can still afford to uphold the time-tested journalistic ideas?” he asked.   

Khan further said that the jargon used for this practice is known as stunting or just water reporting. “I do not ask about unbiased journalism because the majority of the journalists now do not really have a role in deciding what is to be printed and what is to be left out.” 

He expressed his deep appreciation for the sincere and hard work of the jury chaired by Sukumar Ranganathan, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan Times,  to select the young leaders in English journalism.  “The lofty standard set by the jury to ensure that only the best of the best would figure in the list is evident from the fact which has been pointed out earlier that only 18 have been selected for the awards.” 

In his speech, he quoted American journalist H.L. Mencken who once said that freedom of the press is limited to those who own one. 

He further added that with business models in media being drastically altered, the struggle to survive profitably sometimes compelled media to resort to a form of sensationalism, or even fake or paid news. “As a result, we have progressed from stories to narratives. The saying at present is that fake news is cheap to produce and genuine journalism is really expensive. A solution to this needs to come from the media itself because it gives the media's self-respect and dignity that is now at stake and it is high time that it is restored.” 

Khan hoped that the award winners and their future work would contribute more to the restoration of the grand stature of the media. 

“The winners of today's awards can be genuinely proud of their achievements, especially in the light of the social impact of their work. However, the awards also put them in great responsibility with regard to ethical and professional standards, in news reporting, as well as the social impact of every word that is printed or broadcast.” 

He also mentioned that at this decisive juncture, the boundaries between news and views are blurring and marketing concerns override editorial propriety. “Those in the media have a duty to be vigilant to safeguard the reputation of journalists. Like everyone else, the journalists also have an obligation to perform their duties in a manner that serves the larger interests of the society and promotes the constitutional ideal of human dignity.” 

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