There are enough who believe that magazines are on their way out as a medium and then there are those who still swear by the 'power of magazines'. The Association of Indian Magazines (AIM), the apex body of some of the leading Indian magazine publishers, presented the findings of a study on the engagement potential of magazines and offered significant insights into the potential consumer's perspective of a magazine at an event in Mumbai.
The findings were based on two researches commissioned by AIM - a qualitative study by Quantum and a quantitative study with 3,600 people across 10 cities conducted by IMRB. The findings showed how readers perceive magazines to be a medium that can be enjoyed at their own time and leisure, in private, and can afford undivided attention and be a preferred source of information.
The study also found that readers do not find ads in magazines as interruptions, as against other media such as television, newspapers, internet and radio; they trust magazine ads more and form a better emotional connect with magazines. (Detailed findings of the research can be found at www.aim.org.in.)
The study recently won the highly commended award for Best Research by any national association at the FIPP Research Awards 2012.
Presenting the insights at the event, Tarun Rai, chief executive officer, Worldwide Media and president, AIM said that magazines have a tremendous potential to engage compared to most other media.
"We believe magazines make better connect than any other medium. Magazines do not just inform. They engage and they engage the best," said Rai.
He added that magazines build brands, they influence buying decisions and it was high time brands, while looking at magazine as a medium moved from quantity to quality, reach to engagement, and from 'more' to 'better'.
The presentation was followed by a panel discussion where experts spoke about 'Magazines - The Power of Engagement'.
The panel comprised of K V Sridhar, national creative director, Leo Burnett India; Mrinmoy Mukherjee, director, marketing and business development, Raymond; Nathalie Gerschtein, general manager, Garnier India; Shashi Sinha, chief executive officer, Lodestar Universal and Shubhranshu Singh, director, marketing, India and South Asia, Visa. The discussion was moderated by Annurag Batra, chairman and editor-in-chief, exchange4media Group, who is also on the executive committee of the AIM.
Gerschtein opened the discussion by pointing out how magazines are key for the beauty business. She presented a case study to support her statement that showed how L'Oreal celebrate 40 years of its iconic slogan - Because you're worth it - and tied up with Femina magazine in India.
Gerschtein said that the brand wanted the kind of engagement a magazine provides that is very different from any other medium. As a part of the celebrations, an award show was organised to celebrate women across the various spheres of life. A mass campaign was designed with L'Oreal's brand ambassadors. With print as the core medium, the message was spread across through online and on-ground promotions.
Sridhar provided the creative agency perspective. In his discourse, he said how he grew up with and has forever loved print advertising.
"If you are a book lover, you will never like the movie. The written word has its own power," he said.
Talking about the various media, he said that each channel needs to reinvent itself to what brands want. "Today brands have taken on the role of inspiring people. It is important for clients to get that emotional quotient from every channel," said Sridhar.
He stressed on the need to celebrate all media as one; and mount a campaign, not adapt from one medium to the other. Using the analogy of DTS sound systems, he said that as each speaker produces a different sound to create an experience as a whole, communication too must be uniformly seen across channels.
"Today the mantra has changed. It is 'Play, buy and share'. Consumers need to have fun with the brand, engage with it and only then will they buy and eventually propagate. Advertisers are not propagating anymore, people are," Sridhar said.
Singh, in his note, spoke about how engagement is now a two way thing - to reach and hear back - and lauded the fact that magazine editors actively interact with their readers. He also spoke of how it is encouraging to see that marketing events are maturing and moving out of metros and deeper into the country.
Singh urged for communication to be different for different magazine brands, keeping it relevant to the audience that is being reached out to.
Mukherjee also stressed on an integrated marketing approach and said that when it comes to magazines, "it goes beyond CPT".
He said that magazines help brands such as Raymond to get a creative and brand cut-through and increase consumption. He said that he expected magazine owners to continue helping brands to know their consumer better, target the right advertisers and not de-value magazines.
"Engagement delivers. Magazines have an important role to play in a brand's communication and that is why we advertise," remarked Mukherjee.
The last speaker of the evening, Sinha strongly put forward the point of the media multiplier effect. He affirmed that magazines must not shy away from numbers.
"All of us have our engagement stories. The bread and butter of magazines is advertising. And there is a big story in numbers and how you present it. Be aggressive of measurement. Do not shy away from it. The numbers will work for you," he stated.
In the discussion that followed, Rai insisted that magazines are not fighting against any other medium. He said that while magazines probably do not have the reach of television, the latter does not provide as much engagement potential as magazines.
Towards the end of the panel discussion, Sinha pointed out that the current times are exciting for media and the study's timing is perfect, with the current developments in the realm.Major stories over the last 30 days