Category Archives: New Media

Media Cloverleaf by Edelman




Our greatest challenge today is deciding where to begin telling a story.

There are four distinct, but related, types of media today:

  • mainstream
  • hybrid
  • social, and
  • owned

Imagine them as a four-leaf clover.

  • In the first leaf, mainstream, we have the traditional delivery vehicles of print or broadcast.
  • In the second leaf, hybrid, are the versions of traditional media and media that is born digital like the Huffington Post.
  • The third leaf, social, includes Facebook, Twitter feeds and YouTube channels.
  • The fourth leaf, owned, includes a brand or company’s websites and apps—vitally important because every company should be a media company.

Sitting in the middle of the clover is search, the new on-ramp to all forms of media, as well as content which fuels “search rank.”

And there are also new influencers, such as the 25,000 people who provide half the world’s tweets. They’re passionate, fast and prolific, which makes their expertise and personal experience resonate globally.

We must work to stimulate storytelling that creates motion across all of the different types of media. We must ensure that personal stories and ideas are part of our output and that high-quality content – infographics and short-form video – can be easily found and shared to enhance search results.


The mandate for the communicator by Edelman


The philosopher Confucius was asked by his disciple, Tzu Kung, what is most essential for a government to survive. The master answered, “Enough food, enough weapons and the confidence of the people.” The disciple pressed further. “But suppose that you had to do without one of these; which would you give up first?” “Weapons,” said Confucius. Then the acolyte probed, “Which of the remaining two is most important; what would you give up next?” The sage answered, “All men must die but a state cannot survive without the confidence of its people.”

This exact series of events has played out the past few weeks in regions around the world including Turkey, where the flash point was the government’s decision to convert a beloved public park, one of the few open spaces in Istanbul, into a real estate development. As columnist Thomas Friedman recently wrote in The New York Times, this was government exerting its functional power, ignoring its need to cultivate moral support by explaining how and why these changes were desirable and necessary.

The new role of the communicator is to lead in policy formulation and only then on implementation of outreach. There are several examples of chief communicators who are driving their companies into important issues that fall between public and private spheres. Humana* is building play parks for adults to encourage physical fitness at all ages. GE* is leading a coalition to employ veterans returning from Afghanistan as part of its GE Works manufacturing campaign. PepsiCo* provides higher value seed to farmers in Mexico so that they can have a sustainable business of providing more nutritious corn to Frito-Lay factories. From supply chain to human resources, we can have a major impact in getting our clients engaged in solving societal problems while generating a better bottom line for shareholders.

The communications challenge is also profoundly different. The dispersion of authority in media means that communicators must be facile in all four leaves of the media cloverleaf, from mainstream to blog/hybrid to social and owned. The work in media now demands show and tell, with visual elements such as six-second Vine videos or 15-second pieces on Instagram. It is not enough to rely solely on instinct, the idea born in the late evening shower; there is need for insight by following social commentary and community sentiment. There is a much higher expectation of reporting on results, which I call radical transparency, beyond the financials to purchasing or emissions. The people of the institution must be able to express themselves about their work, how they feel about their brands and management, as they are twice as credible as a CEO. We will also need to be able to form social communities, for insights on brands and to create content for the media cloverleaf.

The speech I will deliver tonight at the International Association of Business Communicators World Conference is a call to arms for the PR business. Don’t run away from our PR brand, which has as core values newsworthy, mutual benefit, immediacy and credibility. Don’t give in on creative leadership because we are story-tellers who have a unique ability to start movements that get results. The world is moving toward us. Note that in an April 2012 report, Nielsen* found that trust in advertising has dropped about 25 points, to under 50 percent, for both display digital and television spots. Meanwhile, earned media placements is around 85 percent trusted and peer-to-peer social communication is over 90 percent trusted.

There will be those in our field who claim they are reinventing their offer to become full-service communications advisors because clients want solutions. In my estimation, clients want the best advice, which will more often come from a PR firm working with partners in advertising and events, focused on its clients, doing what it knows how to do well in PR, research and digital.

My favorite U.S. President, Teddy Roosevelt, has a wonderful line. “The best thing is to make the right decision. The second best is to make the wrong decision. The worst is to make no decision at all.”

Facebook magic


Today only a visitor came and I told him how I liked the quotes column in their newspaper, and very often copied the good quotes as my FB status.

He thanked me and shared his FB experiences.

His mom developed certain heart condition, and they got tests etc. done. Three arteries were 90 % blocked. They were advised to go for bypass surgery. His brother who is in a health-related industry, posted the condition and their dilemma on FB. He got 70 odd responses from doctors and other friends with available options and remedies. Some FB friends even asked for report-scans and consulted among themselves to work out the action. Finally this visitor (who is also an FB friend of mine) family finally decided to hold the bypass, and the deliberations are still on.

Second instance he shared was a US based NRI FB friend. She saw that he is from Bhopal and she needed the mobile phone number of a VIP from Bhopal. She sent an FB message at 4 am indian time, and this guy told he is up by 4 every day. So he checked the notifications, and bychance he had that number so he forwarded it. The lady was pleasantly surprized to receive the number and at 4 am. Beauty of FB.

Third instance he told was that one fine day he got a call from an unknown number. Guy introduced himself and on asking told that he was an FB connection (you would agree all of us have some FB friends whom we have not met in person). So this guy checked and found that they were actually connected on FB. The caller was also from media and he found this mutual interest of same work industry. Purpose of his call was that he had started his own venture and wanted some business and leads from him.This friend was given address and invited to the caller’s residence. The guy has not been able to go there as of now, but passed by the palatial bunglaw and was visibly impressed. He intends to pay a visit soon.

Such is the magic of FB and social networking.



A strange thing happened one day. A lady came to my office at 10ish, and started arguing with me as if she knew me for ages. Why don’t you reply to my messages. I am one of your contacts on linkedin and have sent you 2 messages, but you did not reply.Taken aback as I was, I feigned apologetic look, but anger sneaked out from somewhere and she could read it on my face. She maybe noticed it and restrained herself. I asked her to have a seat and lo she bombarded me with how does one get sponsorship in your company, who to contact for outdoor advertising, how does one get support for NGOs, and so on. It was imposing to say the least. Shall be careful in accepting linkedin invites from now on.

Then there are people who send a linkedin invite, and when I accept it, they don’t waste even a day and send a mail requesting for this help and that help. Why can’t these people approach directly, without using the linkedin. I have now stopped responding to such messages. If they don’t care about manners, why should I stick to reply-to-all-mails-u-receive theory.

Now-a-days another trend has started, people who have not even met me in person or worked with me, send me requests with survey monkeys, endorse-mes etc. What do they think I am, a recommending machine.

Then there are people who don’t know me, don’t have any pix on their profile so that I can at least put a face to a name and they send linkedin invite. As a policy I don’t accept such requests.

But linkedin has been very helpful in networking and getting to connect with people and remaining in touch with them where ever they are.

Internet in Life


Last year, i met a friend on orkut after 15 years. Orkut is almost extinct now though.

Last week, as usual i sent a forwarded mail to a group of friends. It talked of how one faces challenges of life. And i received a reply from a friend who was going through a mixed phase of life, as to how this timely mail was of use to her.

Yesterday while shopping in Ansal Plaza, a person waved at me and asked how are things. He had recognised me from my linkedin photo. He was my batchmate and we were meeting after 10 plus years.

Yep and on facebook last week, i commented that it’s my bad habit to not reply to comments by fb friends. A cousin agreed pronto, which she might not have told me otherwise.

Internet has really impacted our lives tremendously.


New Media


It happened last week only. A newspaper website published a story related to our company at 2 pm. The headline was unjustifiably damaging and misleading. I got a google alert at 2-15 pm. Sounded boss, who spoke to people concerned and submitted our case as to how the headline is unreasonable. WIthin an hour the story was off the web, and also did not get into print.

Was fun being a part of such fast happening.

New Media- Friend or Foe (India-specific)



I attended the E4M Corp Comm Summit in Delhi last week, and here are notes from the conference for my future reference and for those interested in reading on the topic.

In a panel discussion on holistic communication and PR, one member commented that the guys who worked for TV or radio marketing 3 months back, are now diehard patrons of social media (SM) as against traditional media just because they changed jobs. His point was that the new media is still in an evolving state and to take the trends as final will be a mistake. Discussion primarily centred around if the new media business is going to social media firms instead of mainstream PR firms.

Another speaker termed Quit India movement of Mahatma Gandhi, a classic example of holistic communication. Where the value system was Swaraj (self-rule), and the principle was engagement with all stakeholders.

The second panelist highlighted the point that we need to get public back into public relations, and how Advertising is we talking about ourselves. PR is public talking about us. She pointed out how PR can create message and positioning which is relevant. PR is more close to social media because conversations, the sine qua non of social media, are natural for PR professionals. PR DNA is attuned to SM.
Content is first and foremost- was the consensus view of all panel members. There may be need of someone like a chief integration officer for integrating messages. Heart of communication is a good idea. And Corporates should not tweet for the sake of tweeting but for engaging. A CEO was hesitant in entering the social media. Then he joined twitter all of a sudden. 1000 complaints came as tweet. He had to back off. Agency had to undo the damage. So that is not the way to go. Thus SM is a dangerous media for clients as it is transparent and there are dynamic changes. The age group of users drops. Response has to be immediate.
A PR agency owner remarked that it is wrong to say that social media is useful if your TG is 15-25 years. Linkedin has been used for thought leadership and CSR by corporates, and that has no linkage with any age group.

An interesting point of view that came out was that just as the way ad agencies wanted to do PR 10 years back, but failed. So will PR agencies, now that they are trying to enter social media. It makes a full cycle.

PR agencies need to package and market themselves better and they need to win awards. To prove their worth.

Ethics and SM also came up. Case of Black PR in China was quoted as an example, where agencies offered to make fake pages and posts and monitor them.

A panelist quipped that no. of likes and shares, say on Facebook page, is like no. of people in a political rally. Just like all people are not converted to votes, all likes shares will not lead to purchases.

There is no delete button in SM.

SM can not be used as a standalone media.

Idea gets the budget.

No PR company can work without SM, because media of any kind is part of their job.

Digital means heavy investments.

Companies need to sensitise internal stakeholders about the importance of SM.

If employees have to use FB, they need to be conditioned.

Old CXOs think SM is for kids.

Elements of government and democracy are

1-Electoral voting
2-Opinion polls
3-Referendum etc.

How SM can be used for democracy

Advocacy & agitation
Conventional voting

Examples are Egyptian revolution, Delhi gang rape casce, Anna Hazare movement, Blackberry riots in London (BBM), Vajpayee’s personal phone calls, Delhi traffic police FB page, Nirbhaya, cartoonist arrest.

There is social democracy and there is corporate democracy.

In future, emphasis will be on lack of privacy.

Media linked to SM linked to democracy

Brands alignment with social issues
Tata tea- Jaago re campaign

Vodaphone-Women empowerment

With SM, there is a transition from a neutral to a participative democracy.

Raj dharma in olden times is today’s public policy.

FDI Policy on retail was where PR might have played a role, in assessing signals of public pressure.

Three elements of public policy
3-media (in daylight hours) because one day or the other it will come out

Difference between healthy and unhealthy lobbying

Bags of money is now trucks of money.

CSR should be secret like gupt-daan. Can be interpreted as under the table gupt-daan.

Calling people on weekends and curfew hours (say after 12 night) is a strict no-no, in India same people don’t bother.

There is a group media list on FB.

PR is custodian of conversation, which have to be interactive and inclusive.

PR is story telling.

Ad and media agencies are in touch with CMO who has budgets.

PR agencies are in touch with CEO.

Corporate reputation or selling product, which is more important.

Cadbury crisis, Ford crisis.

SM humanizes the company.

It does help in creating awareness and buzz.

Sales generation lead is top of funnel not bottom of funnel.

Ford Ecosports has changed the rules of marketing. Extended pre launch promotions. Can be called BTL or SM. Cross-pollinating discussions. Buy-in from people.

Ford Figo was launched online first.

SM-What is in it for PR.

SM is must for PR to stay relevant. Internet is predominant tool for information, so influence.

SM is must for Revenue/budget.

Out of 5-6 verticals in a co. using SM, like Legal, customer service, technical support, HR or PR, PR is most suited to own the SM.

SM can be measured in real time

Deep customer insights in shorter cycles.

More interactive

Cost effective.

SM critical for biz growth.

Emerging PR trends are

Story telling, visual communication and proactive monitoring

Quants are SM analysis providers.

M&M parking space tweet went viral.

SM helps measure perception and not milestones.

PR also helps in pulling out or killing a message that can not be measured. Or toning down a story.

Funnel matrix of SM measurement

Ripple effect
Process flow
Data extraction (proprietory tools)
Spam filtering
Data validation
Buzz tracker
(theme, reach analysis)
Influencer mapping
Network mapping
Trends thrown up

Anand Mahindra is 4th most followed global CEO of the world.

SM should not work on campaign thought but sustained thought


How to videos

Book digital age by Eric Schimdt and Cohen

Fair & Lovely example by Irfaan Khan

Tata Nano catching fire