How media brands are built?

Just now I read how Singapore is the number one tech-savvy economy. Beating America to the fifth position in the “Networked Readiness Index” by the World Economic Forum.U.S.lost its top position after a three year reign. India and China have improved their positions at 39 and 41! Japan and South Korea are close rivals in this game of innovative technologies.Some of the world’s best known brands have come from these three countries. My own favourite brands,among companies are IBM, Sony and now Apple. A reflection on what these mean for our lives and activities. A series of coincidences! Yes,that is how I like to describe the many things that happened or I did in the last few days. These past few days had brought home to me the vast array of new technologies,from computers to latest devices that had changed the way we live,do our businesses and enjoy our work and leisure.

A visit to the Apple Computer Sales office in Bangalore ( I was told that it is the only sales office in India, other Apple customers have to visit their local offices in other Indian cities to purchase their Apple products) opened my eyes to what Apple is doing. I was all these days only reading about it in newspapers and only this time I had a chance to see things in person.What a technological revolution? Or,what a technological marvel or marvels I saw! The Apple computer itself was a thing of beauty. I couldn’t take my eyes off!It was such a beauty,so stylish and yet so tempting to the eyes and the very visual experience! The latest gadget,the latest craze,that is the right word,is of course the iPod,the music player in the size of your small finger! It was too unbelievable. Readers of this column who are not familiar with the Apple story should just remember that at the last international annual conference of Apple, Steve Jobs(the genius behind the innovative designs,for everything Apple had turned out,the computers,laptops and the musical revolutionary gadget) told the audience at the end of his presentation that”here was the last product”,the musical iPod and he said that it is outside the conference room for sale! All hell broke out! The crowd ran out and grabbed every piece that was there!

Here is one description oif what I said of iPod: “Might the Apple iPod,the coolest digital gizmo of the moment, be doomed?It sounds unthinkable. But at 3GSM mobile-telecom conference in Cannes last month,the mobile phone was repeatedly invoked as a potential”iPOd killer”.The increasing sophistication of mobile phones-many of which now include music playback and hence dedicated music players, digital cameras and other devices might give way to such convergent technologies. Already hand held computers,” personal digital assistants” (PDAS) and camera phones outsell digital cameras.

The last Christmas the largest sold music piece,the consumer electronic items, was the iPod. So here I am, hooked to the Apple technology and everything that conveys to me! I call it not a technology. It is a new religion.It is my new religion! Yes,such is the fervour of all Apple lovers.(I bought one iPod,for your information!) Close on the heels came the news about another of my favourite brand.Sony! Yes,ever since I bought the hardcover edition of Akio Morita’s “Made in Japan”,way back in 1985 I was drawn to Morito’s story. So, here was the latest news that Sony is facing business troubles and for the first time, the brand,the very symbol of Japanese technology and marketing prowess,this was,said a newspaper report”a humbling for a company that defined the Japanese innovation and technological prowess”. Sony will celebrate its 6o years of existence, and this time in March a Welsh-born, Sony executive takes over as the new CEO of Sony whose global slales turnover is 67 billon dollaras with flat profit! Its famed Walkman had been replaced by Apple iPod as the 21st century rivel product. Sony has some 1,000 products with no clear single brand, as its once innovative Walkman., the next products in the making face formidable competitors from Microsoft and others like the once inferior South Korean Samsung which now has come out with revolutionary products on the market. So,when I saw the new book on Sony”Sony:the private life”(by John Nathan)I grabbed it! The book makes moving reading sometimes draws your tears when it describes how the founders, originally six engineers in 1945, have lived their lives. The words dedication,determination and vision and grit acquire new meanings once you read through the lives of these men!
The latest Economist(March 12th) has a technological survey and also a three page writeup on Sony. Here I am running page after page the Apple vs others! Here is one description of what I said of iPod: “Might the Apple iPod,the coolest digital gizmo of the moment, be doomed?It sounds unthinkable. But at 3GSM mobile-telecom conference in Cannes last month,the mobile phone was repeatedly invoked as a potential”iPOd killer”.The increasing sophistication of mobile phones-many of which now include music playback and hence dedicated music players, digital cameras and other devices might give way to such convergent technologies. Already hand held computers,” personal digital assistants” (PDAS) and camera phones outsell digital cameras.We are using in our office Blackberry (PDAS) e-mail device! much of our day to day business is now conducted through e-mail only and that is how businesses have evolved.I read now that Indian business owners are among the top e-mail users globally! Fine! An average Indian businessman now spends 2 hours on e-mail everyday!

Our home and office are now connected to broadband, we are on Internet round the clock and so some of our own executives who”work-at-home”.This business model suits our needs as on date. So on and on…!The most provocative piece of reading for me,however, is the one on media brands:how great media brands thrive and survive, a book that is published in 2004 and this book startled me and made me sit up and read the book at one sitting! Most of the print media are over 100 years old.We are not yet a quarter century old! As you can imagine all these brands are either American or UK,one each for German, Italy and two for France.Yes,there is heavy Western bias and yet we have to realise in this competitive world there is no way to escape from this reality.We can at learn some lessons, learn quickly!

Here is an exciting tour of the world’s media! The “media bazaar”, as the author(Mark Tungate, a journalist) calls about his tour of the globe and his meetings and interviews with some 20 media companiesTV channels to news agencies to world’s top newspapers to magazines.
The concluding chapter sums up the research findings.In the last 20 years technological revolutions had shaped the media brands.From paper printing to using Internet,you are now into a different technological enterprise and entrepreneurship.Thus multi-media brands is what you have to operate if you are to survive in the media business today.This was exactly my experience too.
We had moved along with the technological changes at every step.We were also the first to buy our computer way back when it cost a hell of a price!

And we put it in the village! Have a vision.We have loads of it!

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