ICMA 2017: Music has the power to bring the brand message alive: Kartik Kalla, 91.1 FM

Kartik Kalla, EVP and National Programming Head at 91.1FM, gives his views on why audio as a format for marketing cannot be discounted

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: Aug 24, 2017 8:07 AM

What makes great content tick, especially when it’s not visual? Given the myriad formats available to marketers and the dominance of video these days,it is not surprising that audio tends to takes a backseat, but there is no reason why this should be the case. We caught up with Kartik Kalla, EVP and National Programming Head at 91.1FM, who is also one of the jury members for the second edition of the Indian Content Marketing Awards 2017, to talk more about it.


Edited excerpts:


On a platform like radio which is an audio platform, how do brands turn this limitation into an advantage?


Content marketing is inherently about storytelling. The most memorable stories we have grown up listening to have been audio-based stories. So, I don’t believe it is a limitation.


First, brands need to harness the power of radio and tailor content around its strengths. The RJs who enjoy huge public connect can be leveraged as lead characters or storytellers to make the narrative engaging and compelling. Using RJs is the best form of Influencer Marketing. Second, music itself has the power to bring a brand message alive. Last but not the least, radio is conversational and can drive impactful two-way engagement. 


How do brands use audio as a format for content marketing?


Apart from Radio, many brands especially internationally use branded podcasts. Audio is also being distributed through video channels like YouTube which is gaining popularity. 


However, audio content pushed through non-traditional formats will require a more targeted strategy and remain a niche space to be approached with measured expectations for most marketers, at least for the immediate future. 


What are some of the integral features of a good content strategy?


First, a good content strategy starts with addressing accessibility. Accessibility of content is fundamental and content needs to be available during all consumer micro-moments. Second, the strategy must facilitate creation of content which is engaging. This means that you tell the customers what they want to hear and not what brands want to say. Content must be connected and have the power to become conversational. The strategy must to be customised to the needs of the user and must be collaborative to encourage people to co-create and contribute. Most importantly, it should be measurable against pre-determined KPIs.


How are videos changing the game and how important do you think they will be in the future?


Videos are driving most content platforms as they help build engagement. The 

digital media consumption in India is led by video. Video has opened up a plethora of opportunities for both long-format and short-format content. Thanks to the mobile phone penetration, video has made the layman content creator, broadcaster and distributor.


The content strategy for most brands seems to revolve around Facebook and Twitter. What are some of the other avenues that brands can explore?


Content is media, platform and device agnostic. In fact, its liquid. The endeavour should be to make content so contagious that they cannot be controlled or limited to a native medium. Great content has the power to find mediums.


How can brands create a sustained content marketing strategy instead of doing it in media bursts?


A sustained content marketing strategy needs understanding of the customer journey. It needs to answer the 5 Ws: Who, Why, When, What and Where. Planning starts with listing KPIs and then creating a content work plan to deliver the strategy. An editorial plan helps avoid content chaos and in fact many brands follow a daily content calendar to stay on track.


Short form content is the rage these days. How can brands leverage this format?


Short-format or snackable content is the rage given the price sensitivity of data consumption as well as the ‘bite-sized’ sampling opportunity that short-format content provides. Moreover, it’s easily shareable.


Brands need to analyse the kind of content preferred by their audiences and create it accordingly. Content that’s funny or strikes an emotional chord is more consumed. The best way to leverage short-format content is to ensure that the first 10 seconds of your video are entertaining and for every 20 seconds of content, there’s got to be at least 5 seconds of pure entertainment.

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