Daily Winner for: – 30th August 2013
Name of the intern: – Soumya Ranjan Bisoi
Institute: – IIM Bangalore
Organization interned with: – Sony Entertainment Network
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAI..
(The story of a Marketing Intern at Sony Entertainment Network)
Iss kahani ki shuruaat Soumya Ranjan Bisoi se hoti hai. Admission ke bas panch mahine baad hi IIM-B ke summer placements mein ek zabardast company pehli baar aayi thi – SONY. Agar IIM-B me Sony nahi aati, toh na hi Bambai ko Soumya Bisoi milta aur na hi Soumya Bisoi ko Bambai..
Bachpan dramebazzi me guzraa tha. But like most other middle class boys, my fate was sealed (in the same way as it happened with Farhan Qureshi in 3 Idiots) right at the time of my birth. When I was asked about my extra-curricular activities in the IIM interviews I said – “Script-writing, dialogue writing, composing songs, acting and directing.” I was then asked to demonstrate my acting skills, which I did. This was the last time I did something related to dramatics. Intense work-load of the first term manifested itself through assignments, projects, quizzes & exams. But.. Agar tum kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho to puri kaayanaat tumhe usse milaane mein lag jati hai!
When I got the offer for internship from Sony, my friends congratulated me and said – “Sahi jaa rahe ho!” But since Sony was visiting the campus for the first time, I was a little speculative about the role that would be offered and the kind of project that I would get. So I just smiled and said to myself – “Sahi galat ki parvah karunga, toh manzil bura maan jaaegi.”
The anxiety faded away right on the first day at Sony. I was told about my project and the deliverables. Then I was introduced to my mentor & buddy. The sight of the office was like a ‘wonderland’ – colorful employees in colorful cabins decorated with balloons, film and IPL posters, statues, people playing cricket in the aisles, moving around on Koi Mil Gaya type scooters. It all gave me a “Jaanam ye hum aa gaye hain kahaan!” type of feeling.
I was given a seat next to my mentor. I was a bit dejected thinking that I might be constantly monitored by him and this would eliminate every chance of ‘free-riding’. But I pacified myself by thinking that it would be a better opportunity to learn as I could ask doubts anytime and get them clarified. But, contrary to my expectations, my mentor turned out to be a very friendly person. After a few ice-breakers, he asked- “Peete ho ki nahi?” (what else can be a better parameter to distinguish friends from foes!). I chuckled as I thought – “Waah! Bisoi Babu, badiya hai.. haeeen!”
My task was to design a marketing plan to reach out to the women and kids target group for the launch of the new show Indian Idol Junior. With little knowledge on media marketing (as it is seldom taught in most B-schools) , I wanted to pounce on the project and finish it up as soon as possible so that I have enough time to make corrections, in case I make mistakes. But when I asked my mentor to guide me on how should I go about working on the assignment, he said- “ Abhi abhi toh tum aaye ho. Abhi abhi kaam karne ki baat karte ho!” Then I realized that he really is a very ‘chill’ type of person.
When I said that I do not know much about the industry and thus it would become difficult for me to devise marketing strategies, he explained to me how the media industry is just like any FMCG company. I found this logic so brilliant that I could reassure myself that I would have a smooth ride ahead. I realized that the man is not just chill, he is M.S.Dhoni (and that he had just created a ‘Sir’ Ravindra Jadeja out of Ravindra Jadeja).
Later, I was made a part of a brainstorming session on Indian Idol Junior where I came to know about the various strategies that have been already planned for the show. The entire marketing team was there along with the marketing head. My opinion was taken and this encouraged me to actively participate in the discussion. Student se manager banne ka safar shuru gaya tha..
Then my mentor and my buddy scheduled a meeting with me to discuss and lay out the timeline for the project. Post this discussion, my buddy organized a knowledge transfer session for me in order to give me some basic training on television ratings, reach, etc. My buddy was very friendly as well. She ensured that I understood the concepts very well. So she would test me by asking various kinds of questions and giving me mock problems to solve. She always encouraged me to argue with her and question her back. She advised me never to accept anything as it is, never to take anything for granted.
The SONY culture was really great! Everyone was very friendly, fun-loving and helpful – a flat organization structure, where you can even walk into the cabin of the CEO to discuss issues with him. This changed the ‘rat-race’ mindset of all the interns who were recruited from the top B-schools of the country and they thought – “Jab dost banaake kaam aa sakta hain, toh fir dushman kyun banaaye!” The interns helped each other by sharing their ideas and viewpoints. A friend of mine had to come up with a new story for SAB TV. Being a script-writer, I helped him by creating some characters for his story. He also gave me insights on latest marketing strategies. For another friend, I suggested concepts for new episodes of the popular show CID. Similarly, they helped me by sharing their focused group interview results and other survey results with me. There was complete ‘symbiosis’ and of course, a lot of fun during work.
“Munni ho ya Sheela, Anarkali ho ya Jalebi Bai, kahani me ek-aadha item number na ho, toh mazaa nahi aata.” During the IPL launch, the cheerleaders came into the office and danced to the tune of ‘Jumping Japang’. When I went too close to one of those cheerleaders, a friend of mine said – “Office hai, ab toh sudhar ja, tera mentor dekh raha hai”. I said – “Yeh umar sudharne ki nahi, bigadne ki hai.” We were asked to join them. It was real fun! We also got an opportunity to visit the sets of IPL Extra Innings, meet with the celebrities & watch the show live while it was being shot. We also witnessed the shooting of a few daily soaps and met with the stars of some serials & Comedy Circus.
I had to analyze TAM ratings of all seasons of Indian Idol to understand the target group and the markets. My buddy helped me a lot in operating the software and collating the results to make inferences. There were huge excel sheets to operate on and analyze the results. But the task was never a problem to me because there was so much fun to balance the stress. I also participated in creating taglines for ads and composing the title song for Lapataganj.
Then I had to meet with various media agencies, discuss ideas, analyze their proposals and finally give my recommendations to the team. ‘Upar waale ki dua se, thodi mehnat se aur bahut saari lagan se’ I completed the project in just one month’s time. So I was given a new project in which I had to build a consumer loyalty program for Sony.
Aur ab is kahani ki sabse khoobsurat aur eham kadi – Shreya Ghosal. Lunch with Shreya Ghosal (or any other celebrity) is something which marketers use (as a contest prize) to lure customers to buy their products. But I got it for free at the promo shoot of Indian Idol junior. I also got a chance to meet with all the three judges of Indian Idol Junior – Shreya, Shekhar & Vishal. There was always a feeling of “Baburao mast he, mast he, mast mast he…”
I was made a part of everything – official & unofficial. When the marketing team organized a party at the marketing head’s house, I was invited and treated like a friend. Everybody was so friendly that I never felt that I was an intern. My birthday was celebrated by the entire team. Besides the knowledge that I acquired, the relationships that I developed in the two months are really very precious to me.
Par kahani adhuri reh gayi, because I discovered that Poonam Pandey and Sherlyn Chopra were going to visit Sony office post the completion of our internship. The programming head of SAB TV liked the title song of Lapataganj (composed by me) so much that he asked me to change my career plans and become a writer instead. This appreciation was really a great motivation for a small town boy who has been involved in dramatics since childhood.
After harvesting so much fun & enjoyment, I think – “Isko laga dala to life jinga lala”. I have done my work well and I am eagerly waiting for the PPI.
Readers- “Duaaon me yaad rakhna”.. So that I can entertain you again with: ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAI DOBAARA.
___________ (Naam bata diya to pehchaan bura maan jaega!)
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