Power Twinterviews

tosb-innovationpanelGenesis Burson-Marsteller’s business division The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau (TOSB) celebrates TOSB Day, every year on September 1 wherein a day-long thought leadership campaign is organised on Twitter to get various speakers on the TOSB panel, together and engage with each other and their followers.

This year, The OSB set the bar higher, with a different and innovative proposition for September 1 – Power Twinterviews: A Day-long Virtual Conference.

Twinterviews are a great way to churn out a punchy interview that readers can scroll through quickly. Today, we shine the spotlight on eminent media personalities who took questions from the TOSB panel and other twitterati, exhibiting the power of 140 characters both to write and respond on various significant topics.

First up, Raghav Bahl from Quintillion Media, of The Quint and BloombergQuint. Part of the TOSB panel on Innovation, Raghav shared his views on jugaad and the role of government in innovation.

Innovation is associated with startups; how can #innovation be cultivated in existing enterprises? 
Whenever a digital solution is created for a “traditional” pain point, you find innovation peaking.
May I disagree with the question? Start-ups get a lot of media noise but equally strong innovation is done by leading enterprises.

Is ‘jugaad’ innovation? Do share your views
Jugaad is ‘”tactical problem solving”; it’s not innovation, but an innovative tactic!

How can we ignite innovative thinking in India?
Keep the govt away! And create competitive markets, good education, easy business/capital environment – set people free!

Are we living in golden age of innovation? Please share some ideas
Human beings have always been innovative, within their context. What is more innovative: wheel, car or driver-less car?

In age of internet, is any original idea left? Are we only left to customize? 
New technologies will disrupt Internet too. Imagine if objects inter-changed between mass and energy? Beam me up Scotty!

Is #innovation a fluke—a serendipitous alignment of ideas and luck? Or can you seed and germinate it? 
Extraordinary endeavors are a cross fertilization of effort, intelligence, circumstance, and luck – so with innovation.

tosb-economypanelFor the panel on Economy, The OSB was the table for an insightful conversation on Indian elections between Shekhar Gupta, veteran journalist, Co-Founder along with Barkha Dutt of The Print, a new media start-up, and Dr. S Y Quraishi, Former Chief Election Commissioner.

Shekhar Gupta: Is there any definitive solution to the problem of political funding @DrSYQuraishi And which democracy has tackled this best?
SY Quraishi: State funding of elections definite no. But funding of political parties certainly. Rs100 per vote. No donations.
70-80% of European countries have state funding of parties. Works well.

SG: You think anti-defection bill needs changes to reduce power of the whip? Why can’t legislators vote basis issues, not party diktat?
SY: I think legislators without discipline can go berserk. Horse trading will increase.
SG: Horse trading can be minimised by confining compulsory voting on party lines only for money bills?
SY: That’s a via media. Party gets blackmailed as the government may fall on defeat of money bill coz of defection.

@DrSYQuraishi @ShekharGupta Sir, isn’t that healthy? Does the preeminence of the party mean more than the merit of the issue?
SY: Do you think legislators bother about the merit of issues when temptation beckons them.
SG: – As much or as little as their party leaders might. They’re more thoughtful in non-whip Parl commt meetings

@DrSYQuraishi @ShekharGupta so there needs to be fixed terms legislatures.
SY: That’s a good subject for debate even in context of demand for simultaneous elections.
SG: Isn’t the current situation better? Frequent polls bring disruption but also prevent concentration of power
SY: One bad effect of frequent elections, though, is corruption, casteism and communalism get encouraged.

SG: Is it feasible/possible to hold LS & state polls together @DrSYQuraishi or is it just an academic pipedream?
SY: Very desirable(cost, normal work dislocation etc) But constitutionally almost impossible.

SG: @DrSYQuraishi you think it’s possible to rig US presidential poll as #Trump has claimed/feared?
SY: I doubt it.
After Florida fiasco 2000, we saw an “unelected president” !(Bush). US has 70 difft systems of voting. Not ideal.

SG: Can we now say that poll rigging has now been totally eradicated? Or at least more or less?
SY: Rigging is almost impossible in India now. Several levels of checks have been created.

SG: My last que to conclude this fine session with @DrSYQuraishi As CEC, did you find govts compliant with norms or were some defiant?
SY: Govts were very deferential and compliant to norms. Some individual leaders tried defiance but were put in place.
SG: Yes, you were very firm. And very convincing today. Thank you for an informative session @DrSYQuraishi #TOSBDay


#TOSBDay also saw Pranjal Sharma, Business Knowledge Advisor & Columnist, Editorial Consultant, joining in for the panel on Leadership. Here are the questions that came his way.


What is the difference between a GOOD leader and a GREAT leader?
Great leaders inspire by setting personal examples.

What are the main hallmarks of a leader?
A leader who can rise above narrow interest for larger benefit inspires.

How important is communication for a leader?
For #leadership constant #communication of goal, path, achievements, failures are essential

devdutt-pattnaikAnd lastly the OSB Day featured an exclusive twinterview with leadership consultant, mythologist & author Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, who gave us valuable management and leadership lessons from mythology.

How does Indian approach to management differ from western? And what role does mythology play in this approach?
Western management is objective driven. Indian management is meaning driven. Artha = meaning. Outside versus Inside.

I am sure the drivers of these management styles R different? Are the methods and outcomes also different
Western = process > people. Indian = people > process. Western outcome does not see long term consequence.

Biz cannot be only short term focussed.. There has 2 be a long term view. Is the western philosophy then not flawed?
All philosophies are flawed. Nothing in this world is perfect. Failure to recongise this is a huge problem

Is one way better than the other?
no…they complement each other…Western management good for strategy….Indian management good for tactics

You talk about Yagna as basis for building a business model. Please throw some light on this.
Yagna is about giving to get …giving = investment = svaha, getting = ROI= tathastu. Its not give & take i.e. contract

Our Indian business system is centered around the worship of Goddess Lakshmi. What are your views on that?
Goddess lakshmi alone causes quarrels….with Durga (power) and Saraswati (wisdom) causes happiness

How do you rate Indian businesses? Are family-owned businesses opening up to global/MNC work culture?
Idea is good. But tough to manage family expectations (pack/herd/hive mentality) and delegating to professionals

Read the other panel twinterviews featuring many expert personalities here.

The SABRE Shines its Light On…

welcome-sabre-awardsThis week, Skribe features the awardees of the 2016 South Asia SABRE Awards.

The SABRE Awards is the world’s largest PR awards program, running across six continents. This time, a crowd of more than 200 PR professionals attended the South Asia SABRE Awards 2016, held last week (21 July) in Pullman Hotel, New Delhi. SABRE Awards every year celebrate the charismatic work of the PR industry and gather close to 5000 entries globally. This year’s SABRE Awards witnessed a record 650 entries from India in its fourth year since launching in collaboration with the PRCAI.

The judges session was held in the month of June and was chaired by PRCAI president Nitin Mantri, Anne Costello – Text 100, Carolina Bajaj – Star India, Carolyn Camoens SVP -WE Communications, Girish Balachandran – Avian Media and many more eminent leaders from the PR Industry.

Adfactors PR was leading in the finalists tally for the Diamond and Gold SABREs in different categories.

Team Genesis Burson-Marsteller at 2016 SABRE South Asia AwardsThe Awards night was a celebratory one for many but today we shine the spotlight on Genesis Burson-Marsteller, who took home 4 trophies and 5 certificates for their noteworthy campaigns in brand-building and strategic reputation management.

Nikhil Dey, President, Public Relations & Public Affairs, Genesis Burson-Marsteller said, “The efforts that our teams have put in are clearly visible in the form of this recognition and we are honored to receive these awards. Our integrated approach means that our campaigns have a strong insight and a creative idea while delivering a measurable impact.”

The award winning campaigns for the PR consultancy included:

  • Diamond SABRE in Superior Achievement in Brand Building for The Story Of A Roaring Revival/ Make in India Week with Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Government of India
    Make in India Week was an integrated campaign of unprecedented scale – a grand confluence of industry leaders, policy makers, diplomats and academia, which included public relations, advertising, digital, social and outdoor media and even crisis communication. It was conceptualized as an initiative to revive confidence in India’s manufacturing capabilities amongst potential partners abroad, the business community and citizens.
  • Diamond SABRE in Superior Achievement in Measurement and Evaluation for Mission Indradhanush with Public Health Foundation of India as well as Gold SABRE in Public Sector/ Government category for the same campaign, Mission Indradhanush with Public Health Foundation of India
    Mission Indradhanush is a multi-pronged public awareness programme launched by The Government of India, which aims to immunize every child in the country by 2020.
  • Gold SABRE in Travel & Leisure category for Every Day A Different Journey with Tourism New Zealand with Genesis Burson-Marsteller
    An integrated communications approach which used public relations, advertising, digital, social and consumer engagement to showcase the amazing experiences that New Zealand has to offer as a tourist destination.

Congratulations to the Genesis Burson-Marsteller team for shining bright at the SABREs. Read more about their winning campaigns here.

Watch this space for details on other awardees and their winning campaigns.

Storytelling gets a Digital Twist

yusuf omar snapchatToday, Skribe features mobile journalist, virtual reality filmmaker, and snapchat storyteller, Yusuf Omar from Hindustan Times to take the stage on Podium. He recently joined Hindustan Times as Mobile Editor, aiming to make HT a success on small screens. He has earlier worked with eNCA, Al Ansaar, Grocott’s Mail, Creative Activation, and Collection House. Yusuf talks to Priyanka Mogul from IBTimes UK about using Snapchat to report on sexual abuse and undercover drug searches.

“It’s about experimenting with every platform and not taking them at face value. If you take Snapchat at face value, it’s for teenagers sharing nudies. You’ve got to look beyond that, you’ve got to look at how you can apply that technology for journalistic storytelling.”

These are the words of 27-year-old journalist Yusuf Omar. On 14 July, his work went viral after he used Snapchat to interview survivors of sexual abuse through a powerful and unique technique – Snapchat filters. The filters allowed the women to shield their identities and tell their stories for the first time without fear of being subject to the societal stigma surrounding rape.

But the power of Snapchat as a storytelling tool goes far beyond this. Speaking exclusively to IBTimes UK, Omar told us about the rise of “selfie journalism” and explained how he and his team at the Hindustan Times are using it to report on sensitive stories and conduct undercover investigations, as well as spread inspiring tales from across India.

“Mobile journalism has given us access to places that we would never have had before and has allowed us to tell stories in a far more discrete and intimate manner,” Omar said. “Nobody who has experienced that kind of horror wants to have a big boom mix and huge lights and a camera waving in their face. It has to be far more subtle.”

Snapchat to empower sexual abuse victims

Omar’s Snapchat coverage of the sexual abuse survivors’ stories was covered by media outlets across the world. Many marvelled in amazement at how seemingly juvenile filters had been used in such a meaningful and impactful way, forever changing the way they view Snapchat.

yusuf omar“Broadcasters have been blurring out faces, using silhouettes, and I just feel like you lose so much information. Facial expressions are critical when trying to understand. For the first time, we got to see somebody whose identity was hidden, but eyes were visible. You could see the drop of the jaw, the expressions on her forehead. It’s so much more intimate for a viewer trying to relate to the story.”

Watch Yusuf helping sexual abuse victims tell their story through Snapchat in the video here.

Omar hopes that in the future him and his interviewees will be able to create their own filters and not have to be restricted to a few pre-composed ones from Snapchat. He said: “If Snapchat open up their APIs and allow people to experiment with those algorithms, there’s no knowing where we could take this technology.”

Despite not being able to create their own filters, the women were definitely empowered during the interview. Omar explained that the women automatically gained trust in him because they could see with their own eyes how their identities would be concealed and they didn’t have to rely on it being done in a studio away from them. They also had the choice to choose which filter they used, deciding how much of their face they wanted to conceal and in which way. Then, they were left to themselves to narrate their own story, rather than be interviewed.

“They flicked until they found a filter that they thought best covered their faces,” said Omar. “That made them feel empowered – it made them feel part of narrative. They were telling their own story. Even more so in the way they directed their attention at that camera. This was a selfie; they were holding the phone. I didn’t even press the record button, I walked away. This was them looking at themselves in the eye and telling the most horrific story they could possibly recount.”

Read the entire article for more on going undercover in search of drugs and the future of ‘selfie journalism’ in India.

Reimagining the News

IpsitaAgarwalToday, Podium shines the spotlight on Ipsita Agarwal. Founder of Synopted News – an online newsroom where publishers & marketers create content, Ipsita started her writing career for a national daily, The Times of India, as a student journalist and also did her internship for the same in 2008. Singapore based Ipsita also worked with Label Magazine as Deputy Editor. We feature her post on Medium where she talks about reimagining news products and services for the modern reader.

The news industry has changed more in the last decade than it did in the centuries since Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1436. The business model from the print age has been copy-pasted to digital and found lacking. Now, publishers are left with two options: become content writers for third party platforms, or reimagine the news products and services for readers of today. This is a newbie’s take on what option two could look like.

Where we stand
When I started a news company in 2013, it was common knowledge that the baton had been passed on from print to digital.
Technology was probably the biggest driver for change in news at the time. Legacy publishers raced to become responsive, while new entrants experimented with content and monetisation formats with varying degrees of success.

Today, the most startling change in news isn’t in the tech that supports it, but in its distribution. More and more power has been pried from the hands of publishers and put into platforms like Facebook, Apple and Google.

Compare the user experience on a news publisher and a platform such as Facebook. One has been designed to serve the same commodity, information, to an unknown mass of people, disregarding the differences in their prior knowledge, reading habits and interests. The other is designed to mould to the needs of a specific person by learning their behaviour and likes over time.

Platforms cater to individuals. Publishers broadcast to a mass audience.

It can’t come as a surprise to anyone if readers prefer the experience on platforms over publishers. It can be frightening though, and for good reason. Publishers are left at the mercy of the platforms that are friendly and accepting of publishers’ monetisation strategies today, but may not be tomorrow. Publishers run the risk of being reduced to content creators, diminishing their editorial responsibility and independence as journalists in the process.

That leaves publishers, new entrants and legacy brands alike, with two options: continue on the way things are going now. Or learn to think not as publishers, but designers of news experiences suited to the readers of today.

The transition from a “mass” media to “one-on-one” journalism is probably the biggest publishers will make, and it starts with some customer research.

Back to the basics
shutterstock_110606108Elon Musk recently popularized the idea of “first principles”. The technique of stripping a problem “down to the most fundamental truths, and then reason up from there” isn’t new, it traces its roots all the way back to Aristotle.

In this technique, you take a complex problem, remove existing assumptions about it, and focus on its core concept. This way, instead of saying “we should do x this way because it’s always been done like that in the past”, we think about the problem “x” was trying to solve in the first place.

In the case of online publishing, perhaps start by questioning the purpose of journalism itself.

Read the full article on Medium here.

Death to the Mass

Jeff Jarvis

This week, Skribe welcomes Jeff Jarvis from BuzzMachine to take the stage on Podium.
Jeff, a blogger and NYC insider, is also an associate professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He has authored popular books ‘What Google Would Do?’, ‘Public Parts’, and a kindle single ‘Gutenberg the Geek’. Today we feature his essay on Medium, which suggests that the news business must rebuild its entire value proposition; redefine consumer groups of the service.

Media must rebuild its business around relevance and value, not volume.

In mass media, we have debated for generations whether content or distribution is king. Turns out neither is. There is no king. Instead, the kingdom is ruled by the relationships among its citizens.

Relationships, of course, fuel Facebook’s empire as it connects people with each other. Relationships inform Google as it uses what it knows about each of us to deliver greater relevance in everything from search results to email prioritization to maps. Each of these giants knows every one of us as an individual. Each is a personal services company.

Not the news business. We still treat the public we serve as a mass, all the same, delivering a one-way, one-size-fits-all product that we fill with a commodity we call content. What has died thanks to the abundance and choice the internet enables is not print or newsstands, longform or broadcast. What has died is the mass-media business model — injuring, perhaps mortally, a host of institutions it symbiotically supported: publishing, broadcasting, mass marketing, mass production, political parties, possibly even our notion of a nation. We are coming at last to the end of the Gutenberg Age.

Death-to-the-MassRather than continuing to try to maintain our content factory, whose real business is selling eyeballs by the ton, imagine instead if news were a service whose aim is to help people improve their lives and communities by connecting them not only to information, but also to each other, with a commercial model built on value over volume. Imagine if news understood its role not as a vertically integrated industry that owns and controls a scarcity — the printing press, the broadcast tower, delivery trucks, the audience, space or time in media, and lately attention — but rather as a member of the community it serves and as a player in a larger, complex ecosystem of information, data, technology, and relationships. Imagine all the ways that technology enables us to realize our true mission of informing communities, far beyond what we could do with our old, one-way, one-size-fits-all mass media of print and broadcast.

If we are to reimagine news as such a service — built on relationships and thus relevance and value — then it is necessary to reconsider many of our fundamental assumptions about our business: that we manufacture a product filled with content; that our core competence is distribution to audiences; that audiences must come to us to consume our content; that the public is as nostalgic as we are for our old media of print and broadcast; and that we have a proprietary hold on trust and authority. We also cannot continue to act like the proprietors of monopolies and oligopolies, believing that we can go it alone and don’t need to collaborate with the new entrants, like Facebook and Google, which we would like to think stole the audience and ad revenue that once belonged to us. Get over it.

Read the full article on Medium here.

Is Everything Wrestling?

donald-Trump-WWE.jpgToday, we’d like to put the spotlight on the writings of Jeremy Gordon from the New York Times. Jeremy, a writer and editor in Brooklyn, has written a fantastic piece on truth versus fiction, the role of PR, storytelling and messaging, for what is possibly the inexplicable rise of Mr. Donald J. Trump in a modern political canvas! Using the juxtaposition of the World Wresting Entertainment (WWE) as a parallel he states what is perhaps a new social norm.

The charms of professional wrestling — half Shakespeare, half steel-chair shots — may never be universally understood. Every adult fan of the sport has encountered those skeptics who cock their heads and ask, “You do know it’s fake, right?”

Well, sure, but that hasn’t stopped pro wrestling from inching closer and closer to the respectable mainstream. Last year, World Wrestling Entertainment announced a partnership with ESPN, leading to straight-faced wrestling coverage on “SportsCenter.” The biggest action star in the world, Dwayne Johnson, known as the Rock, got his start as an eyebrow-waggling wrestler. When the “Today” show needs a guest host, it enlists the WWE star John Cena to don a suit and crack jokes. No less an emblem of cultivated liberal intelligentsia than Jon Stewart recently hosted wrestling’s annual Summerslam, his first major gig since leaving “The Daily Show.” Wrestling may never be cool, but it is, at the very least, no longer seen as the exclusive province of the unwashed hoi polloi.

This is partly because the rest of the world has caught up to wrestling’s ethos. With each passing year, more and more facets of popular culture become something like wrestling: a stage-managed “reality” in which scripted stories bleed freely into real events, with the blurry line between truth and untruth seeming to heighten, not lessen, the audience’s addiction to the melodrama. The modern media landscape is littered with “reality” shows that audiences happily accept aren’t actually real; that, in essence, is wrestling. (“WWE Raw” leads to “The Real World,” which leads to “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” and so forth.) The way Beyoncé teased at marital problems in “Lemonade” — writing lyrics people were happy to interpret as literal accusations of her famous husband’s unfaithfulness — is wrestling. The question of whether Steve Harvey meant to announce the wrong Miss Universe winner is wrestling. Did Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj authentically snap at each other at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards? The surrounding confusion was straight out of a wrestling playbook.

It’s not just in entertainment, either. For a while, it became trendy to insist that the 2016 presidential election, with all its puffed chests and talk of penis size, seemed more like a wrestling pay-per-view event than a dignified clash of political minds. Read the full article here.