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Radio: A medium for the media

03-July-2002
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Radio: A medium for the media

A rather recent trend, which one can distinctly observe across media is that of cross media marketing. The trend is especially marked in radio, which has over the years, seen an exponential increase in the number of brands being marketed on it. Recall the ‘9 Baj Gaye Kya?’ campaign for KBC on radio, which has been one amongst many such campaigns. Amongst recent others is the Sony campaign on Kkusum, Zee campaign on Kammal, Times of India campaign for its recent promotion ‘Win With The Times’ and Dainik Jagran’s ‘Ise kehete hain cha jaana’ campaign.

Dainik Jagran, for example, for its Punjab edition launch in 1998, Patna edition launch in 2000 and the Western U.P launch in 2001, had used radio generously, using AIR FM, to reach the urban market and Vividh Bharti, to reach the rural audience.

Says Alok Sanwal, Brand Manager, Dainik Jagran, “We have been using radio for Dainik Jagran since forever. We have used it for all our launches and now that we’ve achieved a significant growth in UP, we are using it to state our achievement. And this has been done remarkably well by a catchy jingle sung by Palash Sen of ‘Euphoria’ fame, which has the punch line.”

Another example would be the recent ‘Win with the Times’ campaign, initiated by The Times of India.

“We used radio recently for the ‘Win with the Times’ campaign, to build top of the mind awareness, apart from using it as a reminder medium. We wanted to force action, and this job was done by radio,” says R. Sundar, Director, Times Group,

And while one sees plenty print brands leveraging the strengths of radio, TV channels have also not excused themselves from making the most of the medium. In fact, TV seems to be using the medium all the more. A recent example is that of Zee TV, which used radio to launch its now soap ‘Kammal’.

Partha Sinha, Director-Marketing, Zee TV, says, “We have been using radio quite often to promote our programs. Radio is a very effective communication medium, which is why our objective of using the medium has been to use it as a hook point for our target audience. Broadly, whenever we have used radio, it has been to remind the listeners to tune-in to our channel.”

Over the years, publications and TV channels have been using radio as a support medium, as a reminder medium, and as a means of building up frequency. With the proliferation of private radio stations, one expects a definite increase in the usage of radio as a means of cross media marketing. This calls for some probing on our part to understand why the gush to market media brands on radio, what has been the learning over the years and with the private players entering, what would be the scenario in the days to come.

The obvious fact that a print publication cannot use a competing publication to promote itself calls for cross media promotions. But what have been the factors that have led to radio being an attractive medium?

Says Sanwal, “Radio is a localized medium and boasts a fairly good programming. On the other hand, if you consider any local TV channel, the programming is quite flimsy. I would not like my brand to be associated with flimsy programming and that is why radio becomes the obvious choice.”

If all this time, radio has been used only because one did not have a better local TV channel available, the scenario looks grim. However, with more private radio stations entering the market, one has a reason to be more optimistic. Plus, given the other advantages that other marketers cite, radio days don’t look gloomy after all!

Apart from the usual benefits that radio provides, high geographic and demographic selectivity, low costs and so on, in the absence of any published data, Sanwal’s gut feel says, that a lot of younger audience actually tune into radio. What better would a media brand owner want than to catch his audience young? With newspapers being one of the most heavily branded products having a high brand loyalty, the younger radio audience could actually be developed into hard-core brand loyalists.

However, cautions Sundar, “Radio cannot be used to build brands. It is just a support medium.” Adds Sinha, “Apart from the fact that radio cannot be used to build a brand, one has to use it very judiciously too. One reason is that it is a slow medium. Since the relatively immediate effects of using radio are limited and since it is a passive medium, the results depend on the consumption pattern, which make the medium slow. Two, because it is a passive medium, it is also very creative led medium.”

Among the other drawbacks of the medium is the relatively lower attention it draws when compared with TV, non-standardized rate structures and fleeting exposures.

However, regardless of the flip side that radio has to offer, many media brands end up being promoted there. For the marketers, the positives of radio undoubtedly overweigh its drawbacks. Radio comes out as an obvious winner for the marketers!

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