Thursday, November 5, 2009

Views from USA by Maj SN Sardana on Media help

From: majorsn sardana []

Sent: 05 November 2009 01:42
To: Kamboj Chander

Subject: OROP: A few suggestions/thoughts on role of media

Dear Brig.Kamboj,

Thanks a lot for keeping us informed on the issue of OROP and other matters pertaining to the welfare of ESM. I really appreciate your efforts-hats off to you and other brother officers for their contribution.
There's no doubt that whatever we have achieved so far is entirely due to the untiring efforts of Gen. Raj Kadyan, Gen. S.K. Bahri and other officers heading various ESM organizations.

However, ref Gen. S.K Bahri's email on ads in media, I have a few suggestions to make because of my having been in the field of Media after my retirement from the army in 1982 (even while in uniform I headed the Media & PR set-up of NTPC, Coal India, and PSUs including a stint with DPR(defence)

Further, I am making these suggestions based on the feedback I keep getting from my friends in the media (I am a member of the Press Club of India, New Delhi) and my earlier experiences having been involved in the activities as a member and as media adviser of IESL, Chanakya Puri, New Delhi during the early 90's.(when Brig. Ram Singh was heading the organization).

Even during that period an extensive media campaign was carried out on the issue of OROP which included editorials, advertising and write-ups by leading/senior journalists like Mr.Khushwant Singh and also covering the Electronic media.

The points I want to make for the consideration of Gen.S.K Bahri and other brother officers is the role of media-advertsing versus editorials are:

The cost of advertising vis-vis editorials and lead write-ups needs to be kept in mind
The effectiveness of the editorials versus advertising
Target audience/mileage to be achieved

Recently I had detailed discussions with one of my senior friends from the Press Corps who keeps interacting frequently with the V-VIPS and the senior "babus" from the south block. According to his assessment and the information gathered from other friends such is the feeling that:

There's enough awareness amongst the general public, the V-VIPS and the babus on the issue of OROP
While most of the politicians including the ruling party are with you, it is the babus who are unyielding
The large majority of general public is also with you
To clear the road blocks in "south block", you have to work out a new strategy and ops plan (a word with Col.B who lead a movement in rajasthan might help). The journalist even said something like "Offence is the..........
The concept of the babus is very clear that ESM is a dying force- they are all retired and may be tired. Its a spent up force and to quote their words "Chala Hua Kartoos"

Now the question arises how to deal with these thick-skinned babus??

I submit the following points for your consideration:

Launch a massive media campaign. You have an excellent organization and all the officers heading various ESM organizations have been doing a fine job. Our friends down south, Bala Tilakan and Kamleshwar Pandey are doing an excellent job.
Hold Press Conferences in all state capitals and have the exposure in the National and Regional papers and also cover the Electronic Media-it should be a an on-going campaign, bombarded them heavily-you have the support of all the three services
The impact of editorials and write-ups is much more effective as compared to advertising (after leaving the army I headed a couple of leading advertising agencies and worked with the newspapers)
The cost factor of a sustained advertising campaign covering the national and the regional media has got to be kept in mind

While I fully appreciate and support the on-going campaigns her steps being and undertaken by other brother officers in the country, I offer my services to organize press conferences in the Press Club of India, New Delhi and arrange interviews with senior journalists both from the print and electronic media for Gen. Bahri and other brother officers when I am back in Delhi during last week of Dec/first week of Jan.

The above are my humble suggestions for your consideration.

With Warm Regards,

Surender Sardana
(Major S. N Sardana)
New Jersey
# 201-443-2371

Gen. Harbhajan Singh
(Former SO-in-C)

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