'English news helps to set the narrative for brand building'

At the Pitch CMO Summit 2021, panellists shared insights on how a cluttered medium like English news is relevant to the media plan of their respective brands in today’s time

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Mar 26, 2021 12:58 PM  | 5 min read

exchange4media Group hosted the Pitch CMO Summit & Awards 2021 on 24th March 2021. The Pitch CMO Summit is a flagship property of the exchange4media Group. It assembles some of the most dynamic leaders in the brand community and is set in a unique forum created to encourage dynamic conversations. The theme of the summit this year is ‘Brand Purpose: The Game Changer In The New Normal’. In the times of adversity that we live in, marketers are grappling with the realisation that brand purpose is no longer something ‘nice to have’, but increasingly a moral imperative in the eyes of consumers and even their own employees. 

The Pitch CMO Summit saw a decorated line up of leading brands marketers speaking session after session. The Summit also included two panel discussions that diverged more around the core theme. The second panel on the Pitch CMO Summit was centred around the topic ‘Building Brands On English News’. The topics for the discussion largely revolved around why English news is an important component of any media plan, how brands are targeting the premium audience & millennials, ways of reaching the affluent consumer across markets, the impact of rising levels of English literacy and higher disposable incomes, the importance of legacy brands among many other aspects.

The panel discussion was be moderated by Pooja Jauhari, Chief Executive Officer, The Glitch. The panel recorded insights from Bidisha Nagaraj, Chief Marketing Officer, Schneider Electric India; Gaurav Dhawan, Executive Vice President & Network Sales Head, Times Network; Samir Sethi, Head of Brand Marketing,; Sandeep Shukla, Head Marketing & Communication – Global Operations, Jaquar Group; and Supratik Sengupta, Head Marketing - Consumer Healthcare, Lupin.

The session kicked off with Jauhari asking the panellists to share their insights on how a noisy and cluttered medium like English news is relevant to the media plan of their respective brands in today’s time. 

Nagaraj shared interesting insights around the same and according to her English News doesn’t entirely mean TV but it is spread across various platforms. 

She adds “One aspect is the news itself and the penetration, we are said to reach 1 billion internet users by 2025, so obviously, English news plays a major role. But, when I look at the consumption of news, it has a low shelf life as compared to sports or entertainment. Therefore, there is a great opportunity to leverage the nature of the content itself.”

Explaining how English news becomes important for a category like bathroom fittings and lighting in a  country like India, Shukla added that it helps to set the narrative for the audience that are early adopters. 

He further said “A medium like TV news today gives us a higher recall value, especially for our category where we don’t have tonnes of money to spend. We are building a category that is very functional to the aspirations, you need a big screen TV to do that. English news is very very important, but the dynamics are changing.”

Speaking about the importance of English news on TV for a brand like Policy Bazaar that advertises 12 months a year, Sethi added a different perspective. According to him, English news democratises the audience and cuts across regional and language barriers as well. Sethi also believes that the genre has wonderfully capitalised on prime time.

He adds “While I may not advertise on regional channels or platforms, English news ensures that I am getting exposure from say South India as well. It means that the audience is reminded of me, even when I am not heavily invested in the regional markets”. 

Sengupta had an intrinsic insight to share as he talked about the fundamentals of a market plan in terms of reach, frequency, and cost of contact. He said “In those terms, English news would not make sense in those numbers. But when we look beyond those numbers, there is an interesting pattern. When you reach an English news audience, you reach a premium audience.”

Dhawan coming from a news background talked about the evolution that has happened in news over the last 15 years.  According to him Times Now was the first channel to bring the factor of ‘views’ into the picture as a game-changer. 

He added “The narrative has completely changed over the years. Today every channel is doing what we began doing when we started. The evolution has happened in a way that we are harnessing the strengths of technology in real-time to bring forward news that matters to the audience.”

The session concluded with Jauhari taking quick inputs from Dhawan on how they as an English news network are adding to brand building. “We as a news network are helping set the narrative - narrative of the nation and the brand, and we take it to the consumers so that they buy into it. The narrative building is the way forward and that is what we are focussing on right now.”

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