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Consumer is the biggest asset and competition: B Srinivasan

The 10th Indian Magazine Congress, held in Mumbai on November 9, 2016 under the aegis of the Association of Indian Magazines, put the spotlight on ‘Incredible Magazines’. The Congress was attended by the who’s who of the magazine industry and had a good delegate attendance from across various publication groups.

The day long Congress saw various eminent speakers express their opinions and top publishers speak on the way forward for the magazine industry.

Speaking at the publishers forum, B Srinivasan, Managing Director, Vikatan Group, highlighted five things that magazine publishers should do, wherein he shared some mantras for success and stressed on treating ‘People’ as the biggest asset of publishers. Quoting John Lennon, he said: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans”. He noted that everything that we think about is important and thinking about something makes it more important.

According to Srinivasan, for a publisher, or a journalist or a stakeholder, sometimes it is good to look invert and then try to find out what we need to sort out and resolve it. “Yes, content is one of the assets, but people are the biggest asset for a publisher,” he affirmed. Further elaborating, he said, “People who create the product for the community are probably the most important asset that we have. Know your people, it is our job to inspire those who are capable, try identify those are likely to be inspired and empower them. This will create a better content ecosystem, try to understand the community and serve mutually beneficial content across.”

According to him, it is also very important to know the ability of every individual and the aspirations and needs of an organisation or a community. Next, he touched upon the significance of culture, which is the legacy of any organisation. “Capture it, the same culture is something that we need to confront at times because it is the culture that decides what our magazine brand is and what is it that keeps us growing to the level that we can go. So in my opinion we need to confront those areas which really need detailing and processing to go forward and obviously to measure and manage the change that is required. Today, we are moving towards an open office kind of culture. So there it is not enough to sit in a room without communicating with our colleagues, bosses. It is important that we open up our minds and open up our ability to communicate with others.”

Srinivasan pointed out that Listening and Learning is something that sincerely we have been attempting to do. “Fail to succeed,” was another mantra highlighted by Srinivasan, who added, “When you fail, it is very important to know that you have failed to explore the possibilities and start again. With the right potential and collaborative solution, we should make an attempt in the right direction. Accept the failure and move on.”

Speaking on creative solutions, he said, “Solve, but don’t sell. Plain vanilla pages alone don’t make the cut. We need to be a part of the solution and not the problem.” According to him, publishers themselves were very capable of being their own creative and planning agency. His advice was to get native in providing client solutions. “Brand comes first,” he added.

“Train the trainers,” was his next mantra. According to him, “It is important to get recruits from within. Earlier, in our organisation only 5-10 per cent of the journalists were getting into digital. Now, one-third contribute to both digital and print. After training the trainers, get the trainers try and train around them.” He also noted that it is important to know what is important. He bet on the point that print is still the king and brand is the boss. “Never stop focussing on the evergreens because it never dies,” Srinivasan maintained.

Concluding his address, Srinivasan noted, “Your competition is not any other publication or media group. Consumer is the biggest competition; produce what he/she consumes on various media.”

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