27 July 2005

Gurgaon Again: When brands bely promise

Gurgaon erupted again, and, as this blog noted early, the story became bigger, taking in economic reform, politics and law and order issues. The visuals were stark, and Aajtak nicely established how a political worker had joined the hullabulloo at the hospital where Honda workers were admitted. It seems the media tends to get used on such occasions, where a lone protester can divert the story's focus.
NDTV had Brinda Karat of CPM who made the fine point that seemed to be lost in many places: That Indian laws do allow outside support for trade unions in companies...and that went against the grain of others who spoke of outside interference...Also, the Deputy Commissioner at the heart of the controversy seemed unfazed. The basic question remains: What is the civil administration's real responsibility and purpose?
Visuals carried the day, but analysis was largely lacking.
The Japanese ambassador stuck his neck out by saying the clash threatened foreign direct investment prospects.
In such a context, one would have expected a bigger play in business papers. But Business Standard, despite having the image/positioning of a quality leader, did not discuss the policy implication until the third para of the story. This only showed that between a brand and the fulfillment of the promise made by the brand falls a long shadow.
The Economic Times did a good job but screwed up the headline: HMSI, it said, when it should have said Honda, and one wondered what the story was about for a second.
When you have a nice, simple word like Honda, why would you spoil a good story with an off-colour headline?

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