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Radio is trying to create a niche for appointment listening: Neeraj Moorjani

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Radio is trying to create a niche for appointment listening: Neeraj Moorjani

Neeraj Moorjani is the Head – Marketing, Customer Lifecycle Management & Corporate Communications at Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Limited, Chennai, India.

In conversation with exchange4media, Moorjani talks about radio’s power of enhancing recall of a product, the concept of appointment listening, and how global content and localised presentation works well to engage with the audience.

How important is radio as a communication tool for you?

Radio is a crucial communication tool for both enhancing recall as well as engagement amongst our Target Audience within our priority markets.

As a marketer, what is your objective when you are looking at a radio campaign?

We are pursuing radio campaigns with the twin objective of brand recall and engagement. While the FCT deal is normally used for enhancing recall of the product or the brand proposition, we use the sponsorship to create engagement through ‘Slice Of Health’ program.

How does radio score over other media formats?

Radio is as a medium which started gaining listenership after the FM licensing in 2001. The current reach of radio is at 31 per cent (In 1mn + towns as per IRS 2012). It is a great medium to reach urban 8 AM to 9 PM commuters. The average listening time is around 1-1.20 hrs per day. Most of this time is being used for tuning into your favourite radio station. It’s a great quality time to remind the customer through disruptive messaging.

Of late, I am observing that radio is trying to create a niche for the concept of ‘Appointment Listening’.  This may partly be due to the medium’s strategy to get out of the rut of commoditisation.  Hence there are format shows, celebrity shows and other innovations that, if used smartly can work for creating brand engagement.

How effective is radio when it comes to targeting specific towns, especially small towns?

After the first phase of licensing in 2001, it was FM radio that revolutionised the entire listernership medium. This to a major extent reduced the use of CDs, cassette players amongst people who wanted to listen to good music.  FM Radio is quite a hit in small towns due to its newness. It creates a sense of excitement and ownership that accompanies the launch of a new radio station in a C class city. From there on, global content and localised presentation works well to engage with the audience and has created a sense of ownership and pride amongst the audience. However going forward radio must take up the local issues and localised content beyond reporting traffic congestion.  

How do you rate innovation and customization on radio versus other mediums?

FM radio in India has gone through a fair learning curve. During initial years, all the channels were warring over the share of ear. Commoditisation has been the order of the day. Over the last couple of years, however the situation has changed a bit.   Broadcasters are now more willing to experiment with new formats and newer presentation styles. The stage for ‘Appointment Listening’ is slowly being set now. ‘TED Radio Hour’ kind of a show would have been impossible a few years back. 

What is one of your most successful radio campaigns so far?

Our current radio campaign ‘Choice’ is a good example of success. Alongside the campaign, we are sponsoring a health show ‘Slice Of Health’ across 21 FM stations across 18 cities. This program is an open platform to discuss various issues pertaining to health and healthcare. This is an attempt to engage audience with Chola MS Health Insurance. The final judgement in terms of numbers is still awaited.   

What are the five things that one should keep in mind while investing on radio?

• Treat Radio as an independent medium. Don’t copy TV creative on Radio.

• Don’t scrounge on Radio creative budget. Record the Radio creative with a proper sound studio. It’s worth the investment. 

• Move away from plain vanilla FCT deal. Package sponsorships, RJ mentions, Format shows and Properties into your deal.

• Media Agencies are good at plain vanilla deals. Involve directly with the Radio Broadcasters. The return on your time and effort will be higher than the investment.

• Define the role for Radio very clearly. A problem well defined is a problem half resolved

Usually radio is used as a medium of frequency and for tactical purposes. How do you usually decide on the number of spots, frequencies and markets for a particular campaign?

Radio is essentially a reminder medium and is primarily used for enhancing brand recall. Hence the frequency of messaging has to be high. The markets for a particular campaign is decided much before the medium is decided and hence there is no specific market selection for radio alone.  The number of spots and frequencies are decided keeping in mind – the intenstiy, complexity and urgency of the message.

What is radio’s share in Chola MS’ marketing mix?

Radio is approximately around 25 per cent of our total media mix. 

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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.