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Sujata Bhatt

EVP, Marketing and Strategy | 28 Aug 2010

“We are way ahead of everyone as far as radio is concerned as per IRS. Therefore, the real competition for us is other media e.g. local print and TV. We believe that we are in the space of entertainment and not radio alone and therefore compete with all other modes of entertainment. Our benchmarks are to improve the overall population of radio listenership and increase the average time spent listening to radio.”

Sujata Bhatt the EVP-Marketing & Strategy of Radio Mirchi, joined Radio Mirchi in April 2003. Prior to joining ENIL, she was in Bharti Cellular, Delhi. Sujata has around 18 years of experience in total & has worked with renowned companies like Levi Strauss, Feedback Reach, Tefal India, Hindustan Lever Limited, GPI & Ranbaxy. Radio Mirchi Profile: A leader in the private FM radio industry, Radio Mirchi operates FM radio stations in 32 cities. Its first radio station was launched in the city of Indore in October 2001. Radio Mirchi was voted the No.1 media brand by an IMRB – Pitch survey recently.

Q. Since you took over the reins of marketing and strategy last year, what are the things that have been ticked off on your to-do list?

My number one priority has been to create a differentiation for the brand based on music. We introduced day part wise mood based programming. The other objectives were- getting Mirchi to number one positioning in Mumbai in RAM, strengthening the lead of Mirchi in the non RAM markets, which we successfully attained. Accessing the strength of the brand Mirchi and Creating new platforms (MMA) and strengthening the existing ones (Kaan) for Brand Mirchi are also deliverables that were high on the company’s plan and we pursued it religiously.

Q. This year’s Mirchi Kaan Awards have two new categories? Could you tell us a little bit about them and the thought behind them? Is there anything else that will be new at this year’s awards?

The newer awards are to make it more inclusive. The best use of radio as a medium acknowledges innovative use in ways that go beyond just a good creative. Such innovations should also be acknowledged and encouraged, thus this award, originates for media agencies. We also thought that excellence in radio advertising cannot be achieved unless clients also feel as strongly about radio. Constituting the clients award is a step in the direction of making the awards more inclusive, with clients also being part of the process of choosing the best in radio!

Q. Digital is increasingly sharing space with the target group of radio. Do you perceive digital as a threat?

We see it as an opportunity. In fact we are gearing up to use the digital platforms – both web and the mobile space. In the mobile space we have already launched two products, namely Mirchi Mobile on Airtel and Mirchi Caller Tunes with Vodafone. We are extremely focused on this space and you are likely to see a lot of action from Mirchi in the near future.

Q. What percentage typically of a company’s marketing budget is spent on Radio? What will the breakage be like five years from now?

I wouldn’t like to put a percentage to it; however we are a very focused marketing organization. We spend a considerable amount of money on qualitative and quantitative research. A lot of emphasis is put on understanding and choosing the music we play. In the years to come the percentage would more or less remain the same. However, the same would be spread across more markets and geographies and one would also see a considerable investment in digital initiatives and marketing.

Q. What are the various marketing campaigns that Radio Mirchi undertakes? Please tell us about a few ground activities of yours? Any marketing innovations?

There are many activities happening but the biggest two are the Kaan Awards and the Mirchi Music Awards. All other stations regularly do brand and tactical campaigns. There are campaigns done around new show launches or new jocks on air. We put a lot of emphasis on activations in the smaller markets. The ‘Purani Jeans’ campaigns over the last one year actually stands out because for the first time I think we have been able to create a brand out of a programme. The campaign around the program has seen special screening of movies, launch of special music albums, etc. The result is that ‘Purani Jeans’ has become a brand which can be extended to various other facets.

Q. What are the development areas that Radio Mirchi is planning to or is already addressing immediately?

Going forward in digital will be a big area of focus.

Q. Bangalore is the only market out of the metros where Radio Mirchi is not the leader. What are your marketing plans for Bangalore?

The plan is a continuous one. While we do not think that RAM is an accurate measurement tool, we have anyways been strengthening our brand and product there.

Q. Who are your competitors and what is your USP to differentiate from them?

We are way ahead of everyone as far as radio is concerned as per IRS. Therefore, the real competition for us are other media e.g. local print and TV. We believe that we are in the space of entertainment and not radio alone and therefore compete with all other modes of entertainment. Our benchmarks are to improve the overall population of radio listenership and increase the average time spent listening to radio. As we move towards the digital space the scope of competition would increase further.

Q. Please tell us about any new programs that Radio Mirchi is planning to introduce in the recent future

I cannot divulge the details now but there would surely be a lot of action in the months ahead.

Q. Who are your creative and media agencies?

McCann Erickson and media agency is Madison

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