The Curious Case of two brains: The Times of India vs. The Hindu

Across most of metro India all English newspaper audits would show a skew to the Times of India (TOI). However, Tamil Nadu led by Chennai stood defiantly, with its intelligent morning fix, The Hindu. That is till TOI decided to wear its Tamilian mundu and get friendly with the average Chennaite next door.  The newspaper has managed to make some decent in-roads into the mass populi in the last 1 ½ years. Including with the intelligentsia.

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What clicked?
Possibly many customers wanted a balance between the introspective & perceptive ‘The Hindu’ and the lighter & news focused ‘The Times of India’. The need for a section of readers could have been to wake up to news, that captured a spectrum of happenings and presented the changing face of India and their state. With no prejudices and/or no thoroughly analyzed points of view. In this, TOI may have simply made itself more accessible.

At the same time, TOI has been donning a new avatar too.

Evolving by adding value
Launch of The Crest Edition in Q4 2009 was simply to push up the ‘substance’ quotient of the brand. As quoted in a TOI  press release, ‘Crest is for the curious mind; it hopes to be every intelligent reader’s guide to politics and policy, art and culture, environment and education, and more’.

So a balance again of the lighter with the more introspective. Without tampering with the mother brand.

TOI has gone a step further in the last 3 weeks by tapping into another segment who is looking for a meaning in things/in life. Possibly targeting the young professional who is seeking a balance to maximize his work and personal space with a little help from friends. Possibly also seeking those who want a relaxant and something that will help in learning a new thing or two about themselves. So with a dash of philosophy thrown in, TOI introduced The Speaking Tree which is a value addition to the increasingly tensed up and pressure filled young, English speaking India.

Isn’t it funny how the brain works
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When one has all the introspection, beyond a point the mind wants to break free. Giving each individual the chance to self-decode and also maybe see things in black and white! In a morning newspaper, the expectation would possibly be, that it’s stays a conduit to keep in touch with the world around.

For another set of people, the mere simplicity of things implores them to ask more questions. It sparks the need to know more. So in a morning newspaper, the expectation would possibly be, not just to share the truth, but get deeper and more insightful about happenings around. This means catering to the same mind that is now exploring and ripe for a new addition that taps the intellect.

Simplicity and substance in harmony again.

The curious case of two brains is really from the balance that people seek (as do customers), at some stage in many long standing relationships. With brands really, it’s also a case of how well it reinvents itself and identifies what is that harmony zone that would put its customer at ease. TOI has definitely got an edge here.

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