Media channels relevance and importance, by Niranjan Gidwani

By Niranjan Gidwani - Independent consultant director and former CEO of Eros Group.

Niranjan Gidwani

In the branding and advertising world, the recurrent show of strength and debate over different mediums is endless. Newer generation enthusiasts side the power of the digital era, while the classicists swear that Print has always drawn a bulls-eye response, and the argument could go on and on with Television media, Outdoor advertising, Retail advertising, Online, and so on. But the truth in fact is that neither is wrong.

So, what is the most influential media channel? To answer this, let’s begin with retrospection of the word ‘medium’ and how it influences our decision.

Medium is simply the means of communicating a message. A baby without speech would best communicate discomfort by crying, likewise, an adult would scream, complain or discuss. Choosing the right way to pass on our message comes almost naturally to us.

Typically, it is imperative to say that speech is the dominant sense of communication since expressions play an equally vital role.

Likewise, media channels engage in different ways of exuding responses depending extensively on your message and your audience, as well as the purpose of your communication. Sometimes, they work great as a stand-alone but in most cases, an integrated set of mediums is the tailor-crafted solution to your problem.

Great organisations, over the years, have time and again celebrated success with flamboyant results from Print. Even so, a healthy mix of Digital, Retail and Radio communication successfully takes their message and converts them into desired responses. In fact, in the last few years, a lot of good organisations are spending big on digital, which makes sense since target audiences are big-time digital users. On the other hand, there are relevant instances of strong brand campaigns that were carried out here in the UAE and have inevitably verified the power of integrated marketing.

One of the most inspiring examples is that of the region’s most loved and leading airline brand who launched an integrated repositioning campaign that acquired it global appreciation and credibility, along with a remarkable shoot in overall sales.

A special mention is of one of Canada’s best restaurant brands that celebrated an enormously successful launch in Dubai with a unified message across Outdoor, Print and Social mediums way back in 2011. Another would be of a construction and home décor brand that actively integrated Print, Radio and Outdoor and earned top-of-mind brand awareness. Two more recent cases that come to mind are of a reputed property developer, and a reputed hypermarket chain, both of whom have shifted to spending a large portion of their spends online.

Which is precisely why, for every campaign, an effective branding team comes down to two questions. First, who is my audience and where do I find them most active? They might be active on social, but I’m targeting a niche segment of businessmen, in which case a business magazine makes more sense. And yet, this pusher media needs an integrated support plan.

The next question is what is the purpose of your campaign? Is it for hard sales or soft sales or a launch? The answer invariably affects the ‘channel mix’ for your campaign. I use the term ‘channel mix’ or ‘media mix’ because, in today’s world, a successful campaign is like an orchestra that requires a perfect set of instruments to produce the desired effects.

Here’s something I came across the other day, it quite well describes the irony between our perceptions v/s reality.

A single medium could unquestionably produce a strong impact, and there are cases where advertisers have dominated certain mediums. However, implementing an integrated network of channels has in the past and present proof to establish a better reach and is far more effective in delivering results.

Ultimately, we are a species best known for reasoning. It would be safe to conclude that while all mediums are equally relevant and deliver certain objectives in their own right, a balanced mix of mediums can be far more efficient than focusing on a single medium. Of course one mustn’t lose sight of the communication objective and the allocated budget when selecting the right mix of tools.

And, most importantly, if an organization wishes to shift more of their spends to a particular medium, it would be prudent to understand what would be the percentage of their business audience which they wish to target through that medium, and what portion of sales are being targeted to that audience. Ultimately, while focusing on sales, building the organization as a brand needs to be the longer-term objective.