Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Head, Marketing, Parle Products, feels that the media planning function has become much more tactical and complex, especially with the emergence of digital.
Rao, a jury member for the upcoming Rising Star Awards, said he would want to evaluate the award entries on a range of metrics.
"I am looking at a holistic view of what they have done and what kind of in-depth understanding the young strategists have. I would also like to see the additional efforts they have taken in understanding the qualitative media scenario in different markets and what kind of value they have got for every brand they have worked upon. These are the points on which I will evaluate the budding strategists," he said.
What is the importance of media strategy in the overall business function?
Media strategy has always been important to the entire stream of communication. Let me take you back two decades or the era where television began in India. You had only one channel, Doordarshan. Then came DD Metro and private broadcasters such as Zee and Star. During these times, the media strategy was really simple as you had limited publications. Radio and other mediums such as outdoor were easy to sort out. However, today with the rapid growth in the number of platforms for every market, in every region we see more than 60-70 channels that are split into various genres. This has made the role of media strategy much more important in todayâ€™s day and time.
Today, if you want to gain certain eyeballs from a particular market or TG (target group), it becomes extremely challenging for you to get those. This is why I strongly feel the role of media strategy has become crucial. At the same time I would say it is important to have good resources in media strategy. I somehow feel the Indian market does not really have adequate and high-quality resources to understand media dynamics in detail. There is a possibility and a room to improve the overall media strategy process. Once you have sound knowledge and understanding of helping your clients, and brands reach the TG, your cost and efficiency will significantly improve and you will be able to give clients a bang for their bucks.
How do you see media strategy function today compared to the time when you started? Has it become tougher?
It has become extremely challenging. When there were just 50 channels, the ball game was entirely different. You were available on Zee, DD, Sony and you were done. You could get all your numbers and eyeballs from the cricket matches that used to take place in Sharjah, especially between India and Pakistan. If you advertised on shows such as Ramayan, Mahabharat and Friday feature film, you could be assured that the whole country has seen your ad.
Today you have to decide and see which channel has a better appeal to a set of audiences. The channel share could be low but the affinity towards a certain set of audience and the cost might be higher. However, there is a possibility and a room to go for such channels. The media strategy people should be able to capture this and present it to their clients.
With media strategy becoming more complex, what should be the key traits for young professionals to make a mark in this field?
My advice to budding media strategists would be to seek learnings from veterans and get into the depth of every aspect of the medium that they are working upon. Print and other mediums are relatively easier but with the emergence of digital media, the budding strategists have a lot more challenges on their platter. They need to be aware of the evolving media scenario. With the pandemic pushing people to digital media, there has been a faster movement from television to OTT. Because of this, strategists will have to work in a way to give their respective clients a bang for the buck. Every aspect of strategy and media planning needs to be looked at with great detail.
The media landscape in every geography has become very dynamic. Every few weeks, changes are happening in different geographies with channels shuffling positions and ranks. To be on top, young planners need to be glued to the numbers and stay in touch with the people across geographies. Many times, we as a brand have taken a call in favour of some channels despite numbers showing otherwise. Hence the ultimate measure is whether the brand strategist or the brand plan has enabled the brand to sell in the market. If that is achieved, then the brand strategy has been successful. One must look at both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of media planning.
How would the Rising Star Awards help young media strategists?
It will definitely boost their confidence and any kind of recognition, especially from BestMediaInfo.com, will be a big achievement for young strategists. This will also push and drive them to continue to achieve excellence.
As a juror for the Rising Star Awards 2021, what do you expect from the entrants?
I am looking at a holistic view of what they have done and what kind of in-depth understanding the young strategists have. I would also like to see the additional efforts they have taken in understanding the qualitative media scenario in different markets and what kind of value they have got for every brand they have worked upon. These are the points on which I will evaluate the budding strategists.