This was 2015. A year after Mr Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister of India, and just few months after 100 Smart Cities was announced by him. Since smart cities concept was in a nascent stage in India, few in the media understood what it means and why they should cover it. The events it intended to do were on the lines of what everyone else in the market was doing with little differentiation. Moreover, the client was in a media business and positioning him through other media outlets was a difficult ask.
This coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Smart Cities initiative and the focus was completely on what was government would do, than any think tank. Indian cities are considered an infrastructure mess and it was almost impossible to make stakeholders take smart cities pitch seriously.
Reworked his public profile including websites and on LinkedIn, changing it from a media business owner to a thought leader on smart cities. Then I collated case-studies from world-over on how cities transformed from a mess to a smart cities. Some greenfield and most brownfield. I prepared a data-driven presentation for the client that was presented in front of a selected gathering of news editors. A major report on smart cities was released exclusively to the set of same news editors. Reworked the marketing plan.
I used the media coverage along with case-studies and take-aways of the report to churn a positioning pitch. I timed some media interactions with major policy announcements by the PM on smart cities.
The case-studies helped educate relevant journalists that transformation of a city into a smart city is actually a possibility opening them up for further discussions. Timing media interactions with media policy announcements allowed top-of-the-mind recall resulting in client getting featured on prime-time television.
Fresh marketing approach improved event sign-ups. The data-driven reports helped build thought leadership positioning. In 12 months from hiring me, client was the top voice in India on smart cities.
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