We’ve come far, but we have far to go

Posted in Corporate Responsibility (CR) on October 6th, 2014

In the past few years, businesses as well as government—in India and around the world—have taken a beating in terms of public perception. Has the perception changed? Are corporations seen to be only focused on their own profits or are they perceived to play a larger role in nation-building? To answer these and more questions, Burson-Marsteller, in partnership with CNBC, has unveiled the results of a major global thought leadership survey: The Corporate Perception Indicator.

This is a landmark survey and it provides a whole new way to understand the state of corporate reputation worldwide, exploring the hopes, fears and expectations of both the general public as well as senior business leaders about the performance of businesses and their CEOs.

Conducted with our sister firm Penn Schoen Berland, with sample developed by another WPP firm, Kantar, this survey reflects interviews in 25 global markets with 25,000 individuals in the general public and 1,800 senior corporate executives. The results provide an in-depth corporate compass that points in the direction of even deeper public engagement by corporations and their leaders about their essential roles in building the economy and improving society.

Before I go any further, let me give you the good news: the survey shows that the reputations of corporations and their leaders are, indeed, showing strength. I am especially delighted to note that the Indian public and business leaders believe that corporations are playing a positive role in job creation, economic growth and social responsibility. In my opinion, corporations and government must work together to take the nation forward and to continuously build on the trust that citizens place on them.

The survey provides cues to us on where we need to focus our attention if we want to continue on the upward curve of perception. In India, both, the general public as well as business leaders see corporations as a source of hope and believe that it is a good thing when corporations are strong and influential because they are the engines of innovation and economic growth. This is not an assumption to take lightly. It also means that if corporations are not careful, their actions can have an adverse impact on the overall pace of innovation and growth in the economy.

Another area that corporations have to keep a keen focus on is their role as responsible corporate citizens, looking beyond just immediate profits to leave a larger impression on their stakeholders. In India, 87% of business leaders and 77% of the general public believe corporations have become more socially responsible over the past decade. Indians also have a strong appetite to hear more from corporations about social responsibility. With the Companies Act in place, the time is right for corporations to take decisive steps towards more socially responsible practices and initiatives.

I have always believed that the CEO is the true captain of the ship and he or she must steer it ahead with a vision and a strong set of values. The survey also shows that people in India look to CEOs as amongst the top most powerful and respected people in the society, giving them a position of leadership. The respect and power must be balanced and communication with stakeholders is critical for the CEO.

There is, therefore, much to cheer about in the results of this survey and a lot to ponder over. The Corporate Perception Indicator is a corporate reputational compass that will help us choose our direction ahead. It is up to us to use it wisely.

You can read more about the survey and its findings here.
CNBC and BURSON-MARSTELLER reveal results of first-ever CNBC/BURSON-MARSTELLER Corporate Perception Indicator



Mriglekha – You are being missed!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2nd, 2014

The Genesis Burson- Marsteller team has designed a book of remembrance for our colleague Mriglekha Dayal. It has been three months of her demise but still the feeling does not sink in yet!

Mriglekha, Senior Consulting Associate had joined in 2008 and was an integral part of the Corporate and Financial Practice. We all have known her to be wonderful human being and always smiling.

Mriglekha was 28 years old. She was born on November 18, 1985 got married in 2009 and is now survived by a 10 month old daughter. She acquired a bachelor’s degree in fashion designing and prior to joining GBM, she worked with Perfect Relations for 2 years. Mrig had been with GBM for over 5 years and was responsible for successful planning, execution of PR campaign for clients such as GE, Caterpillar India, World Bank, Metso India, Pearson Education. She had the opportunity to manage communication campaigns for clients across diverse fields, including commodities (sugar and fertilizer), automobiles & auto-ancillaries and corporate industries. She took interest in online digital space, Mriglekha took interest in learning about the new mediums to increase the presence for her clients as well as broaden her knowledge base.

Our condolences are with her dear ones. I am sure she would want us to always remember her smiling and happy…

Download PDF


The Rise of Second Screen

Posted in Digital Marketing on May 19th, 2014

By: Diksha Sethi

In 2012, about 32 million people in the US tweeted about television programming: big events, like the Super Bowl gathered 24 million tweets and American Idol gathered 5.8 million tweets. Television shows (especially in the genre of reality and sports) have strategically generated massive chatter on social media platforms, particularly on Twitter. In some cases, this has translated into an increase in viewership for channels. In others, it has helped shows widen their reach and visibility. Twitter provides the perfect bridge between television, digital and mobile.

In recent research brought out by Twitter in partnership with FOX, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and db5, it was found that overall, 85 per cent of people who use Twitter during primetime hours reported tweeting about television. The findings show that Twitter users actively comment about broadcast content when they’re watching live. The research also found that after seeing broadcast-related tweets, 90 per cent of respondents took subsequent action such as a) watching a show they’ve never watched before, b) resuming watching a show that they’d previously stopped watching, and/or c) searching for more information about the show online.

So what is Social TV?

Simply put, social TV is where:

  • People live-tweet about the television programs they are watching
  • Managing to pull in new viewers, called Twitter TV audience
  • Making TV-viewing a real-time group experience
  • In other words, the second screen (Twitter) becomes a force-multiplier for the first screen (TV)
  • Twitter is projecting this parallel engagement as the next big thing in entertainment

This rising trend is creating opportunities for:

Entertainment and News Channels

Television shows and networks are probably thrilled that their audience is engaging in conversation about their recent episode. Heavy users of social media often suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) that drives them to jump into conversations about an event or TV show that their peers are talking about. More and more channels and presenters often take to Twitter in personal capacity or otherwise to trigger conversations about a recent event/episode or discuss pressing issues.

For DTH Providers

A revolutionary convergence of tweeting and television viewing, the concept is an innovation in the DTH industry across the world that allows customers to experience Twitter on TV.

Users can actually tweet while watching TV and can view tweets related to their television shows as well. It launches at no extra charge to subscribers.

For Cable Providers

In the US, Comcast, a local cable network operator will soon provide its customers, a television viewing experience from Twitter messages about those shows.

The tweet will be powered with a see it button on the user’s mobile that will re-direct the user to the television show straightaway!

The technology will test the interconnectedness of television and the social web, two media platforms that enhance each other.

For TV Advertisers

Targeting television advertising enables marketers to engage directly with people on Twitter who have been exposed to their ads while surfing their favourite channels.

Synchronised Twitter and television advertising campaigns make brand messages more engaging, interactive and measurable, while making it easy for marketers to run Twitter campaigns that complement and amplify their broadcast creative.

For Brands

Leveraging the conversations around television shows is a win-win for brands. With the advantage of connecting with an already captive audience, hijacking television show buzz is a huge opportunity for brand awareness.

For example, Hootsuite created an incredible video after the premier of The Game of Thrones went viral on the web.

But does this translate into something meaningful in the long run?

Nielsen’s recently launched Twitter TV Ratings mechanism reveals that the Twitter has a multiplier effect on broadcast ratings. For example, if 2,000 people are tweeting about a programme, 100,000 people are seeing those Tweets. On an average, the Twitter TV audience is almost 50 times larger than the authors who are generating Tweets.  This powerful engagement measure has opened up a whole new world for television networks, advertisers and agencies that enables them to amplify their key messages by taking knowing the true reach and influence of their TV-related activities on Twitter.

The Future Trend:

  • Social TV is yet to reach its full potential in India but the trend is on the rise
  • Twitter will become a household commodity with DTH and cable operators jumping the bandwagon
  • Twitter has been buying relevant companies as part of its aggressive acquisition strategy, including New York-based Trendrr, which provides television networks, publishers, and media agencies with tools to track social TV engagement
  • Twitter’s own smartphone app is expected to go through a significant change, with a new, stream-based system likely to heavily incorporate broadcast and broadcast-related content


When a few riffs turn into a cult

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7th, 2014

Kasauli Rhythm & Blues Festival: When the lilt of music doesn’t just soothe the ears and touch the soul but also saves lives

Every year, for the past three years, the quaint hill-town of Kasauli comes alive with music. Come Easter weekend, some of the most popular Indian bands and artists, and people who want to listen to them, all find their way to the Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival (KRBF). In the three years, it has already become one of the most awaited, most popular music festivals in the country.

Conceptualised by the Genesis Foundation, which supports critically ill under-privileged and orphan children in the areas of cancer, cardiac disorder, post organ transplant, thalassemia and extreme deformities, KRBF is unique in several ways. Not only is it held at what some would consider an off-the-beaten-track town, it is also a rare platform where some new and some established Indian bands perform to an audience that is a mix of Kasauli residents as well as visitors from across the country. From corporate bigwigs to retired army officers, students and teachers, the event audience is made up of quite an eclectic bunch.

The bands that have performed at the event include the who’s who of the Indian rock, pop, jazz and R&B scene. Parikrama, Indus Creed, Raghu Dixit, Papon, Mrigya, Advaita, Shaa’ir n funk, Adil & Vasundhra, Ministry of Blues, Soulmate and Sonam Kalra are just some of the big names that have performed over the last three years.

What makes KRBF truly a stand-out event, however, is that it combines music with the spirit of giving. It was created by the Genesis Foundation as a fundraising event. All proceeds from it go into saving the lives of the critically ill children supported by the Foundation. This year, for instance, the Foundation has raised funds for the treatment of 10 children. The event itself is a result of the support of a lot of partners, including Jack Daniels, Rolling Stone magazine, BMW Mini Cooper, Tata Housing, Daikin, Pepsi India, Max India Foundation, Godrej, ACTFAQs, Pepsi MTV Indies, Lemon Tree Hotels, Kingfisher and Baikunth Resorts (the host of the event).

These partnerships have been a result of relationships built over time, most significantly by Prema Sagar, Founder Trustee, Genesis Foundation, and Principal and Founder, Genesis Burson-Marsteller. Inspired by Mother Teresa, Prema set up the Genesis Foundation to support under-privileged children suffering from critical illnesses. Treating each of these illnesses can cost anywhere from Rs 50,000 to 15 lakhs, which these children, who either come from orphanages or from households with a monthly income of less than Rs 7,000, can’t afford. Instead of trying to go the way of the usual ‘chequebook charity’, Prema and the Foundation team went the route of participative events. Combining enjoyment and giving makes the whole experience a lot more compelling, which has led to a steady rise in the number of donors and partners for the Foundation. And that is why it has so far saved 500 children through its efforts.

Over the years, these events have become anticipated. This time at Kasauli, both, the line-up of artists as well as the audience reflected the cult status that the festival has achieved. Already, people have booked their stay for next year and artists are now vying to be a part of it. Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival 2015 promises to be all that the festival has been so far and more.


Being More by Giving Back

Posted in Communications on April 28th, 2014

We are saving children’s lives with just 100 rupees at a time

“For the cost of a cup of coffee, GBM team members are contributing the gift of life to kids in need,” Prema Sagar, Principal and Founder, Genesis Burson-Marsteller sums up how easy it is to go beyond our daily lives and give back to the community.

Earlier this year, the Genesis Foundation, led by Prema, launched its Power of 100 campaign. The Power of 100 demonstrates that even the smallest contribution—just Rs 100, or about USD 2—can go a long way toward saving the lives of those less fortunate. For us at Genesis Burson-Marsteller, this was a perfect way to go beyond Being More for our clients and for the company to Being More for the community.

As part of the Power of 100, more than 200 employees at Genesis Burson-Marsteller are donating Rs 100 per month to the Genesis Foundation through automatic payroll deduction. “It’s rewarding to see so many people participate in the programme and even more rewarding to know how much it’s helping the children,” said Prema.

Since 2001, the Genesis Foundation has been helping families across India by providing financial support to critically ill children from orphanages, or whose family income is less than Rs 7,000 (approximately USD 140) per month. Children receiving aid from the Foundation suffer from a range of life-threatening ailments including cancer, cardiac disorder, organ failure, thalassemia and extreme deformities. All funds donated to Genesis Foundation go directly toward the treatment of these children, with over 450 treated since it began.

For more information or to find out how you can participate in the Power of 100, you can contact Pankaj Lal at pankaj.lal@genesis-foundation.net. To learn more about the Genesis Foundation, visit www.genesis-foundation.net.


Helping Brands Take the Social Media Plunge

Posted in Digital Marketing on April 16th, 2014

By: Diksha Sethi

Social Media Week, across the world, strums up issues and topics that are of most interest to the only other social entity after us humans – the brands.

Getting brands on to the social media bandwagon takes some effort. At the Social Media Week, I chose to speak about this initiation process—to help brands understand how to make their brands more ‘human’ and ‘sociable’ and then take the plunge confidently. In our daily interactions with clients, we observe many pain points that they deal with. It can sometimes be a struggle for social media strategists to educate and sensitise clients about the benefits of the medium, while forced to work within shoestring budgets, and convince the clients enough as to why the metrics of engagement matter.

Based on these interactions, we have identified the challenges that each party faces and how they can be overcome.

First up, it is important to understand the client’s need and for that, it is most important to understand their mind. To my mind, there are broadly three kinds of marketers, and each with a distinct business need.

1) Old School Marketer:

2) The Number Cruncher:

3) The Go Getter:

Apart from getting into the minds of the client, there are some major challenges that stop an organisation from realising the importance of the medium and adopting it as an essential tool of internal and external communications:

1) Lack of understanding among leadership
2) Mismatch of expectations
3) Unreasonable goal setting
4) Lack of internal stakeholder engagement
5) Social media as a stand-alone program
6) Undefined success

Where do you begin?

  • Start by dipping your foot into the water before taking the leap. Start with a pilot programme with a minimum investment
  • Have a clear goal that you want to achieve with this pilot and see if you are getting any value
  • Set a realistic expectation. Social media is no magic wand and results may not be instantaneous
  • Get comfortable with the risks. The sooner you make peace with them, the better. A risk mitigation strategy before you invest your time and money into a social media program always helps
  • A quick scan at what the competitors are doing in the social media space to boost their presence and what is working or not working for them can help set the house in order

What next?

Okay, you’ve run a pilot and you’ve seen the results. You’re ready to set aside the budget and resources but it is very important to do a reality check and analyse the social media maturity level of your organisation before you decide to take the plunge.


  • How much is it going to cost you?
  • What is the size of the team that you need?
  • Would the social media team be a part of the communications vertical or the marketing vertical or would function across departments?
  • Which social media platforms would be ideal for your business? Facebook? Twitter? Not necessarily. It is important to understand your target audience and your end goal
  • Bring your senior management and decision-makers to comfortable terms with the medium. Sensitise them about the pros and cons, the measurable outcomes, any risks involved and a strategy to combat the same
  • Have an internal social media policy in place
  • Train your employees. A social media employee training programme is a great way to embed the medium into the communications culture of your company. Only 14% organisations admit that their employees have a good knowledge of social media policies

Source: Altimeter

Social media has changed the dynamics by taking the remote control from the hands of the marketer and handing it to the consumer – making her the ultimate decision-maker. Like it or not, people are talking about your brand on the web – good, bad or ugly – and you can’t stop them. The point is, are you listening? If you are, then it is time to take the bull by the horn and face the change – start talking to your consumers, pay attention to their feedback/suggestions/criticism and engage with them actively so that they become the advocates of your brand identity.

Are you ready to take the social media plunge?