Brightlite : Shaping Effective Communication

Archive for May 2010

Before you begin calling up the media and screaming stop press or breaking news, because you have ‘THE’ development story of the year, put the phone down, stop yourself and answer one question: are you a 100 metres sprinter or a 42 kilometres marathon runner?

Now, what does athletic ability have to do with a media plan for the developmental sector, you may well wonder. Everything.

The first thing that one has to be very clear about, before drawing up any successful media plan, is that this is a long term commitment best suited for people who can stay the distance. An ad-hoc, short term media plan, will get you ad-hoc, short term results. After you have committed to this basic truth, here’s how to raise the profile for your issue:-

1) Begin at the beginning, the first thing one must one must do is to have a full media list in place. For the print media, include beat reporters (journalists who cover your area, it could be public health, water, poverty or infant mortality), metro editors, the editor and still photographers. For television, keep in touch with the reporters as well as the input desk.

2) Know thyself, the second thing is to really know your issue very well. Understand your subject, identify the news-peg and make sure that the story is rooted in real facts about real projects and there are pictures available. A reporter, senses an overstated story, faster than a politician senses an opportunity to gain votes.

3) Keep it simple, India has over 1 million NGOs. That’s right, over 1 million. So imagine the information load for the journalist if even half of those organisations contact her for a story. If you want to earn the respect of the reporter, give clear , short releases and background notes, two pages each is more than sufficient to tell your story. Therefore, sending district wise data of arsenic in drinking water will not help your cause; letting the reporter know that your latest India –wide study shows that arsenic levels are rising  because government policy has failed to prevent groundwater from being depleted, with pertinent figures on how many people are affected by this, will get you the media attention you deserve.

4) Use Page 3 Techniques for a Page 1 story , don’t dismiss the draw of page 3 . If a celebrity can get your cause attention, don’t be too proud. One of our clients got great coverage, by getting actor Rajeev Khandelwal (of Amir fame), who at that time was at the height of his popularity as a soap star, to inaugurate a World AIDS function.

5) Don’t Expect a Story Everytime, use The Secret, the best selling book, ‘The Secret’ advises you to be very clear about what you want and then to stop obsessing about it. So devise ways to keep in touch regularly:- use press releases, conference call, press conferences, policy papers, one to one meetings. But if the reporter is not able to do the story this time, no harm done. There is always a next time. So continue to meet up over coffee.

Here’s to a great relationship between you and the media.



The website is dead, long live social media! Here’s a quick question when was the last time you went to just the company website for information or went to it at all? Chances are that if you were buying a mobile phone or seeking help for the best laptop to buy, you may have also used Google, Facebook or Twitter to seek information from real users of the product you are trying to buy.

The neighbourhood has shrunk, if you need advise on a purchase, the world is available to chat with you about it. Businesses would ignore this at their own peril. Social media, can get your product feedback, help you do a quick dipstick survey, conduct social research and talk to your consumer one to one. Good stuff all for any business.

Depending on what your business is, here are some key reasons why you may want to build a social media presence:-

1) Your customer is a consumer you can talk to in a narrowcast fashion, which means while an Airtel or a Vodafone may benefit from being in the social media space , a large luxury brand may not. Social media marketing is about building tribes of individuals who feel very special within the tribe and any product or service that speaks to these tribe individuals will be able to leverage social media well.
2) If you are in the mass lifestyle space. For example a lifestyle store, an art seller or an artist of any kind or a restaurant or a furniture store or a movie hall then micro media makes a lot of sense.
3) If you working in the development sector, social and micro media is a great way to gather research, create awareness and link with supporters. For example, there are supporter Malaria for example has supporter groups that ask you to replace your profile picture with one about malaria, this has an instant awareness effect.
4) Healthcare businesses can also make use of micro media to create awareness about diseases.

Some of the very basic social media platforms that can be used are :-

1) Facebook- it allows you to build a page separately for your business on the same lines as your own profile page and you can build fan pages. You get a great interactive page which is better than a website at zero cost.
2) Twitter- Instant communication and feedback on niche issues. Healthcare businesses have used twitter very well.( Please see this link for a great case study:
3) Blogs – You can use blogs to tell a story about your organisation, tackle crisis issues. Basically, it is an online dear diary, about your work. Customers read it because they are not being asked to buy directly but hear a story and are conducting a conversation .

Depending on what your business is , first take a good hard look at what will social media do for you , what do you want from this exercise and whether the two goals fit. If they do then do not ignore this medium of communication. The world , it is a changing and changing very fast and those who ride this new wave will emerge on the other side as winners.

Recommend: Check out, is an online platform that lets brands & organizations connect with the right communication and marketing partners.

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  • brightlitecommunications: Thank you for your feedbacck laura. YOu are right, discussions from the point of view of the editorial/news context of new developments on issues the
  • Laura: I'm new to India, but I get the impression that it's pretty rare for NGOs to hold editorial board meetings to discuss developments or new evidence rel
  • Sohini: So great to see this blog! I'm a communications professional in the US where the industry changes at blinding speed, as I imagine it does pretty much