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Twitter can be risk for politicians: Tim Calkins

Interview with international brand guru and professor at Kellogg School of Management

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Tim Calkins, international brand guru, professor at and a frequent traveller, thinks social networking by politicians can be risky for them even for a minor mistake. Calkins in his maiden visit to city of joy   tells Digbijay Mishra that Brand India is  enormous but also known to be a difficult place for new business and symbolic changes can change this perception. Edited Excerpts:

Does Kolkata as a brand ring in any bell on a golbal scale?
Kolkata certainly has a global brand...without any doubt. West Bengal may be a little less but Kolkata certainly is a global brand with much prominence. Mother Teresa did have an impact on Kolkata brand but that is partly for good and for bad, I mean her work was certainly good but that also   highlights city's needs more than its potentials.

What about brand India? Is it a global brand?
India is extraordinarily big brand and enormously important brand for companies with such huge  such a big market. It deserves a huge amount of attention  and is certainly getting it.

But bureaucratic problems, slow decision making does that Impact the brand in the eyes of international public?  
There is no question that India has a reputation of difficult country for new business and there are variety of reasons for the same. Its important for  India to attract global investment but India could make some symbolic changes  that can help changing this perception.

The Delhi gangrape case and other such criminal offences have become frequent. What would be your take on that?
The rapes have been setback for India and brands tend to re in force so the problem is once anything like that happens then its tough to shift it. .The best thing to do is you have to generate positive news to off set that. The problem with is that you cant stop negative stories and there is very little tat you can do. So, the biggest thing for india is to do highlight and create postv image.

Speaking about social media, many politicians and their respective parties have started using on a huge scale. Is it necessary ?
I think more and more social media is a tool for politicians just like it is for corporates or brands. Politicians do a huge amount of marketing and they  do some of the most edgy marketing one can think of..for better of worst.

But do you think it can impact voter's mind?
I think its by n large good as people learn more and know details about candidates. I favour more communication but its a risk for politicians though. Because you can get into a lot of trouble for making a little comment on Twitter and it has happened globally...people are saying things which they shouldn't on Twitter.

So if once things go wrong, what is the ideal way to tackle it?
If something negative goes viral you need to respond immediately . If you wait for few days to think about the right way to respond then the story is gotta be of control..so key thing is you gotta be watching and be ready to respond.

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