Outdoor advertising for radio stations had been in the news for the right as well as wrong reasons when the listenership tracking wars were happening in the industry. Accusations were flying high that outdoor advertising had helped in skewing the results. However, nothing has changed and we continue to see a lot of hoardings along with other accompanying BTL activities from the radio players.
exchange4media spoke to some of the radio players to get their views on the purpose, role and importance played by the outdoor medium. All players accepted that the budget for this medium formed a huge chunk of their marketing plans. Interestingly, all the players agreed that they used the medium for increasing their brand imagery as it was a local medium just like the radio, and some added that they also used it to drive in listenership to their stations.
Radio Mirchi CEO, Prashant Panday, observed that the medium had multiple objectives. “It is usually targeted to strengthen the brand imagery of a radio station. Nowadays, Mirchi does not use much of outdoor advertising other than targeting the movie audiences for our movie associations. We are now concentrating on television to consolidate our brand image nationally and strengthen the brand imagery,” he elaborated.
Nisha Narayanan, Project Head, S FM, is of the opinion that the medium plays a huge role in their plans as, “For FM radio stations there needs to be a personal touch involved to drive in listeners… Outdoor advertising helps us in that it is visible and loud. During our launch phase, we use a high amount of outdoor publicity and it has delivered greater responses from our listeners as compared to mediums like print and television.” Narayanan added that depending on the city where they had launched, the station used outdoor advertising for increasing the brand imagery during the launch phase and follow it with campaigns targeted at increasing listenership after the initial few weeks.
According to Rana Barua, National Head – Marketing, Radio City, “Theoretically, the role of outdoor advertising across product / service categories, be it a radio station or consumer durables, is pretty much the same – that of generating awareness. Listenership in FM radio is a function of various imperatives such as the content, music mix, how a FM station manages to innovate and infuse vibrancy in these two aspects, relevance of the brand promise in the life of the listener, among various others. Having said that, the main purpose outdoor advertising primarily serves would be largely visually-led, that is, creating or enhancing brand awareness, recognition or recall.”
Jayyant Bhokare, VP - Business Development, Big FM, is of the opinion that outdoor advertising most definitely plays an important role in the marketing plan in general and radio stations in particular. “It helps create a lot of local connect. The last few years have seen entertainment companies using outdoor most effectively to increase eyeballs to their programmes and of course for promotions. Given the clutter in the market and the number of radio stations, brand recall becomes a priority. Brand recall of course translates into listenership,” he explained.
Abraham Thomas, COO, Red FM, said, “Radio needs to continuously reinvent itself, and outdoor provides a great opportunity to innovate and do clutter breaking advertising.” When questioned on the objective of the outdoor medium, he replied, “It’s a function of the objective of a particular campaign, so if the campaign aims to increase cumulative listenership, the objective of the outdoor medium will be to drive listeners to the station, or in case it’s a brand promotion, then the outdoor medium will be used for that purpose.”
K Sanjay Prabhu, Director and COO, Radio Indigo, believes that outdoor advertising enhances brand salience. “Outdoor advertising is engaged as a reminder to tune in to the station. Since radio listening is done mostly in cars, outdoor plays a pivotal role. Radio Indigo spends the lion’s share of the marketing budget on outdoor advertising,” he said.
Agreeing with others, Neeraj Chaturvedi, Station Head, Fever FM, Delhi, said, “The medium can be adapted to connect to the TG in an interesting manner. Moreover, outdoor helps you fine tune your reach to the level of geographies or colonies within a city. The objective of any radio station should be to increase listenership. Fever FM, at this stage of its existence, has effectively used this medium for inducing trials through large scale radio promotions.”