Blending the journalistic pounce and alacrity with suaveness and splash of brand thinking seems to be the next big wow in marketing. And, it gets me all excited for two reasons – one, I was a journalist and am a marketer and second, more importantly, it is going to change the way brand marketing is perceived and executed.

The fact that a brand needs to connect to the consumer is known and understood, but the big question that has always been debated is, how? There have been many innovative approaches brought forward and, many have worked too. The criticism however has been that not many approaches align to all audience. Well, there is a fundamental flaw in this criticism. With different customer segments engaging with brands with different expectations on varied channels, there cannot be a single approach that convinces all. And, here, I believe the importance of targeted and timely content comes in. Interestingly, as a cub reporter, the two most important things I was always made to focus on, were – timeliness and audience. It was based on these criteria that we would judge the newsworthiness of an event or act. The basic question we were to ask ourselves was “will this story appeal to my audience at this time?”

I find the similar, if not same disposition emerging in marketing today. Take the instance of Oreo tweet at the time of power outage during the Super Bowl. It was much more than a catch line or a smart ad. “You can still dunk in dark”, was a tweet that was both timely and tailor made to the audience hooked to their mobile data while the Superdrome was trying to bring the lights on! Bang on content and precise timing! But is it possible for brands to build this kind of alacrity in their branding every time? What do you do with hundreds of tag lines, thousands of iterations and the toughest ones to breach: layers of approval processes before you are able to take the word out to the market?

Closer home, we have seen Utterly Butterly Delicious, Amul butter girl to be bringing newsy bits on its billboard in relatively quick turnaround. There does not seem to be another brand which has done so for such a long time so flawlessly. But how quick needs to be the quick turnaround? Bill boards and cartoon-scapes in print can wait for a couple of days, if not more. On the other hand, the social media is here and now. You cannot wait for some smart idea to dawn- you must run towards it a la an Olympic sprinter! Within seconds you would need to know which newsworthy incident / event or act you are going to bet on, who would you target with that news aligned branding message and how. It reminds me the thrill and high charged environment of a 24 hour newsroom, with real breaking news and the flurry of activities that came in every passing second!

So, are marketing war-rooms going to be replicas of newsrooms with sub editors being replaced by copy writers and anchors replaced by tweets and FB posts? This may soon be a reality. The marketers today must “understand in a deep way the social web and how it’s changing and how it’s evolving, and then to make media for the way people consume it today, which is Facebook and Twitter and WhatsApp and Line and Pinterest and all these different platforms”, says Buzzfeed CEO, JonahPeretti. This, in essence, can only be achieved with a unique blend of customer and marketing analytics, advertising acumen and nose for news, as it was called in old journalism days! And, this gives birth to the thought of Marketing Newsroom. Wow, won’t I give my eyes and hands to be part of such a phenomenon as it happens!!

But, well we are not talking fantasies here. Whether I happen to be there or not, Marketing Newsrooms are going to be a reality in not so distant future. This is not prophecy, not that I am capable of making one, it’s a statement of fact. This is what seems to be the next logical step, and this is where, I am sure Marketers worth their salt are moving towards!

Now, the next big question – how does the Marketing Newsroom function? What would be the processes and frameworks required to be in place? As per Contently CCO Shane Snow, the answer could be found in the following pinwheel:”

“For a newsroom—brand or otherwise—to work well in 2014, it needs to be creating content; engaging audiences by seeding content through social, email, and paid distribution; and, finally, optimizing by examining the available data and figuring out what content to create next—and where to seed it”, claims Snow. And, then once it is seeded the harvest needs to be quickly deciphered, analysed and inform the quest for next fertile ground for a new harvest to bloom.

It all appears deceptively simple. But to one who has been a part of the madness of newsroom for a long decade -seeing the intensity of reporting transforming itself from this happened today and how to this is happening now and this will happen in next moment and why- the whole process is anything but simple. Seamless co-ordination, clockwork precision and hawk eye for the news that’s brand relevant needs to come together and work together all through, without any break anywhere across the cycle. An uphill task, but an exhilarating one, and as one of my former bosses was fond of putting it- “an interesting challenge to have”!

And, finally the big question – ROI. A Marketing Newsroom is the ultimate culmination of sharp branding acumen, marketing analytics, journalistic instinct and sniper like targeting. Bringing all these talent s together and aligning them to a common goal is certainly not a child’s play, as we discussed. But once it is done, the results can be amazing. Going back to our two earlier examples- the Super Bowl tweet by Oreo and Amul’s news relevant cartoonscapes – look at the connect that the brand is able to make with its innovative approach. And its instantly quantifiable – the Oreo tweet had over 10,000 retweets in an hour and multiple times more ever since! Well, it’s well worth the bet, without an iota of doubt. Marketing Newsroom is the future of marketing, and it has already begun.

Published with permission.

Image courtesy of [Image courtesy of [franky242] at


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