The authenticity of TRPs influence decision making

Guest Column: Ronita Mitra, Founder, Brand Eagle Consulting, writes why an environment fraught with squabbles amid the recent TRP scandal is an unnecessary risk to any brand’s equity

e4m by Ronita Mitra
Updated: Oct 13, 2020 1:50 PM

In the midst of all the business and brand challenges a Marketing head is faced with as a result of COVID, he/she is now faced with a new challenge – questionable TRPs by certain channels (supposedly questionable until the investigations are completed).

Unfortunately, a genre that is caught in this controversy is the news genre, a genre that not only has the role of disseminating truthful, objective news but is also significant for advertising many categories and brands. With an increase in viewership since the start of COVID, the genre has also gained in importance in the recent past.

Now let’s look at the implications of this messy situation from the CMO’s lens.

In being entrusted with the task of planning its marketing and advertising spends to build the brand, the CMO is accountable to several stakeholders – management committee, board of directors, etc - for justifying the effectiveness of every Rupee of the organisation’s advertising spends.

Media, especially TV spends, being a significant component of the marketing spends, for the CMO, the authenticity of information is essential, in fact, a non-negotiable, TRP information in this case.

Channels need to appreciate the fact that spends by brands/ organisations on media is not an end by itself but a means to an end – the end being a positive impact on a brand health metric or a consumer behavior led metric.

Marketers may decide to play it safe and pull out advertising from such channels/ genre who are caught up in this whole imbroglio surrounding TRPs. In fact, questionable information will have a cascading effect in the entire organization, with not just the CMO, but the CEO/ board/ entire senior management taking a position on pulling out ads from controversial channels.

Further, the environment where Marketers want their brand to appear is as important as the numbers. Marketers would be averse to having their brand communication appear in an environment which is fraught with squabbles and having questionable authenticity. Such an environment is an unnecessary risk to the brand’s equity.

Importantly, Channels should remember that in today’s environment marketing budgets are being reduced. Every rupee of marketing spend needs to work even harder than it did a few months ago. Channels cannot assume that they have a habitual and a permanent place in any plan. It’s not TRPs at face value alone, but the authenticity of the TRPs that will influence decision making.

CMOs and the Marketing teams would prefer to spend their advertising monies where they can be certain about return on investment. In the current environment, business models and ways of doing business are getting transformed every other day. In the last few months, Marketers have become far more resilient about finding alternative solutions to build their brands.

Such controversies are a detractor for the Marketer whose core focus is on reaching out to consumers in the most efficient and effective manner. With a strong and high growth alternative in digital, Marketers may well prefer to divert their budgets towards digital. Or maybe some other medium of content dissemination.

It would, therefore, serve all channels well to remember that organisations, brands, Marketers have the power to choose and may well choose to stay away from channels/ genres mired in any kind of brouhaha and flock to an environment which will be more productive for their brands. It would also serve the TV channels well to focus on adopting a customer-centric approach and be true to its customers – the advertiser and the consumer – the viewer. Any approach other than a customer-centric approach may eventually be a lose-lose situation only for TV channels. Because, consumers, as well as Marketers with their brands, would find alternatives that add value to their lives and businesses.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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