When a noisy news-breaker turns a powerful brandividual newsmaker!

Many seem to hate him. More than many seem to adore him. Equally for asking simple but obvious questions. Louder yet repeatedly

Almost any one and it doesn’t matter.  The more powerful you are and at fault, the louder the questions. You dare not the choice of an answer, leave alone to argue your point.  He is the jury and executioner himself at times.  

Goswami, the unrivalled, quintessential  newsman India has ever seen. Not just the show that he hosts, he nor his style of journalism, the attitude itself became a brand. It was,

  • Distinctive
  • Mind- blowing
  • Native and patriotic

Above all it did click the magic for him and the channel.

Look at the headlines. Right from ‘What will happen to Times Now, now’ to ‘Arnab out Congress in’, the tenor of several news league indicate Goswami is a phenomenon of a new breed of journalists- a newsbreaker turned powerful brandividual newsmaker.

The rise of Goswami above the rest was vividly seen ahead of the 2014 general elections when he became the only news anchor cum editor in the country to have interviewed both RaGa and NaMo- the contending Prime Ministerial aspirants.

Countless, but to name a few; Balasaheb Thackery, Jayalalitha, Subramaniam Swami, there is none that he would have left interviewing without that very attitude  of being India’s most powerful journalist, more powerful than the most powerful brands.

They say Goswami is Times Now and Times Now is Goswami.

In my strong opinion, the brandividual Goswami of Times Now who has outgrown the Jains, is a classic case of the rise of a personal brand more powerful than the corporate brand.

How and why has this had to happen? Can the corporate brand withstand such an onslaught, a sudden exit of an anchoring personal brand? I strongly believe that the personal brand is more of a leadership requirement than a promotional need or by-product of its construction.

Apart from being a professional journalist, Goswami was also a driving force behind the successful business of the corporate brand, Times Now.  The pressures of a commercial business enterprise, especially when anchored on a personal brand naturally paves way for free run risks associated with the emergence of a personal brand. It is indeed a revenue and growth pressured inevitable vicious circle.  

Everything is smooth as long as the rules of the game are intact and respective stakeholder interests are fulfilled with a fine balance of mutual growth.The problem arises only when the parties resort to taking conflicting stances in exercising leadership or management obligations towards any common organizational cause and the freedom of choice, authority, safeguarding personal or corporate brand reputation or duly shared responsibility in the making of a profitable corporate brand is at stake.

As rumored, the onslaught in this case of Goswami vs Times Now is the result of a seemingly short or long brewing conflict between the stated positions of corporate brand vs personal brand.

There seemed occasions when BCCL management had differences with a few editorial positions taken by Goswami which were deemed ‘not in sync with management’.

When a more powerful personal brand emerges either out of a business owner or a professional employee, the benefits apart, there are associated leadership, brand and eventually business risks that any organization is faced with.

So, how do you address this problem, especially when things fall apart hurting both or either of them?

In any business, everyone is a brand whether you like it or not.  It’s not the dress that you wear or the car that you drive. What actually constitutes to you as a brand is how you carry yourself and the perception that others have about you. More often as a person, the attitude that you demonstrate, and it’s a direct reflection of the corporate brand that you are associated with. This is where the potential for conflict between the two are interlinked.

In most cases the corporate brand is much bigger than a personal brand.  It is backed by investors, shareholders and other multiple stakeholders including the society. The corporate brand may have been around for a very long time; long before the personal brand existed.  It is more sustainable that it may even stand the test of time and be in a position to replicate similarly successful ones to mitigate the damage when its most valued personal brands exit. That said, the clever way to leverage power would be to absorb such valued personal brands onto the ownership eco-system to make the corporate brand stronger.  In my opinion, BCCL should have possibly tried the option with Goswami.  What has prevented such a possibility is  a mystery that is yet to unfold.

One of the solutions is to have a powerful and dominating personal brand carved out of a promoter or an entrepreneur in support of a corporate brand that naturally mitigates the risks associated. That said, it may not be a one size fits all solution either. Businesses today are full of personal brands that add tremendous value who in turn have to nurture and take advantage of them to grow the corporate brand. This is where the real challenge of managing the conflict between the two lies and more so, when a personal brand overshadows with a dissent and falls apart to rise independently posing a threat to the very corporate brand as the case with Goswami versus Times Now may be.

What we see before us is a noisy news-breaker turned newsmaker, ambitious to dissent against the way journalism is being done in this county therefore disrupt the image that we have about independent media.

All eyes being on the news maverick, will it be worth a wait to see the brandividual become a brandtrepreneur.

3 Comments

  • Prabhakar on November 10, 2016

    Great article!!

  • Ramesh on November 10, 2016

    Good truthful article

  • Benedict on November 10, 2016

    There was a time when The Times of India had decided to forswear the cerebral and embrace the visceral. At that point in time the then editor Dileep Padgonkar, who was an intellect, was eased out and a cowboy kind of editor who could shoot off the hip was inducted. The reason was simple. The journalists had arrogated power onto themselves and they believed that the newspaper depended on them entirely. India was in the threshold of change, liberalisation had set in the information era was shuffling in the doorstep and an young man (Mr. Sameer Jain) took the reins of Times of India in its Sesquicentennial year. Had it not for this man the old lady of boribunder would be in the grave now. Mr Jain changed the way a newspaper was produced and consumed. At a time when TV was threatening readership he made sure newspapers penetrated many homes.
    BCCL became the most profitable newspaper in the world. Reason – they brought sales to the centre and put every thing else around it. Brand Times of India Shed the old lady of Boribunder image and became the Alia Bhat of those days sporting sexy skits. They know a thing or two about brands.

    It was time to conquer the audio visual media with TIMES NOW. A late entrant and I never thought they will be able to take on NDTV and CNN IBN and the likes. If with newspaper he emasculated the journalists with TV he brought them back. Thus stepped in Arnab Goswami who was obviously shaped by BCCL to become who he is. He was a pawn in their hands all along. The was made to dance. They fed him with success, power and money. For they knew the lamb will have to be slaughter one day and the Brand TIMES NOW will have to function on its own strength.

    It would be interesting to watch what the next move or TIMES NOW would be and can ARNAB as a brand be able to stand on his own feet?

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