It is the message, and not the medium, that ultimately matters: Meetal Shah, Saavn

Shah talks about the platform’s first ever lifestyle campaign in which they have collaborated with social media star Hatecopy

e4m by Akshata R Murthy
Updated: Nov 29, 2017 8:50 AM

Saavn, founded in 2007, is one of the biggest distributors of music and has acquired music rights to about 36 million tracks. It's popularity has been on a steady rise, thanks to the engaging campaigns that the brand has come up with over a period of time. exchange4media catches up with the Associate Vice President & Head – Brand & Communications, Saavn - Meetal Shah to talk about its marketing strategy, recent campaigns and the way ahead. She said that the core of their strategy comes from understanding that the message is more important than the medium. And that no message is as powerful as the one which consumers use to communicate with. She also gives insights on the recently launched Hatecopy campaign. Excerpts:

1. What is your latest campaign about?

This is Saavn’s first ever lifestyle campaign and personifies what we stand for. Our core brand proposition builds itself around being global in spirit and South Asian at heart. We wanted to take this personality to our outdoor and online media initiatives, keeping music at the centre of the messaging, but also include a human element that resonates with and engages our millennial users. We collaborated with Maria Qamar aka Hatecopy - a popular influencer, a music lover and pop culture enthusiast from Toronto who has won social media users over with her quirky and visually-unique desi-themed artwork.

2 India is a place where people are pretty sensitive. Hatecopy is known for the bold messages. How do you think the audience here will accept it? Are you aiming at limiting your TG to the millennials alone?

Hatecopy is followed by many people all over the world, irrespective of race and nationality. Her unique style and edge is what sets her apart and connects the millions of global South Asians across the world. India is no exception. We’ve had a great response to our campaign so far.

3 What is your marketing strategy at Saavn?

At Saavn, over the last decade, we have dedicated ourselves to creating a platform we can be proud of. The philosophy behind the product has gone to define the brand and how we talk to our audience.

We’ve come to understand that our audiences do not have a monolithic identity. They turn the volume up when The Weeknd comes on, they love their dose of Arijit Singh, and they unwind with Neelesh Misra’s stories. Sometimes, they dance to a regional hit, simply because it has a great beat – regardless of language. Our multifaceted listeners have defined everything we do, from the partnerships we look at, to the artists we support, to what we talk about as a brand.

With every stream, our listeners have defined trends, made hits, and revived music that was lost to time, which is why we put our customers and their choice of music at the heart of all our marketing initiatives. It is all about connecting with the target audience by evoking emotions, by making users feel like a part of something much larger than themselves. The more a branding and marketing initiative can connect with its target audience, the more powerful its impact.

4 There are quite a few players in the space. How have you tried to differentiate Saavn from the rest?

We have remained focussed on delivering the most cutting-edge offerings to our users since the very beginning, even as we continue to evolve, experiment with, and refine our service delivery model. This has helped us in attracting a strong and loyal base of 22 million monthly active users, both in the region and amongst the South Asian diaspora around the world. But for us, this number is not just a metric for measuring growth – it is an indication that 22 million people in this world care about what we do at Saavn, enough to make it a part of their everyday lives. Delivering not only the kind of audio entertainment that millennial users want to hear, but also the kind of entertainment that isn’t accessible to them has allowed us to stay ahead of the curve. The reception received with audio shows like #NoFilterNeha and Kahaani Express with Neelesh Misra, as well as tracks like Bom Diggy launched under our Artist Originals initiative, is proof that Saavn’s offerings are in tune with what our consumers want.

5 How is this market growing? Any predictions about this around five years down the line?

The Indian music industry has evolved greatly in the last few years, be it the way music is created, distributed or even consumed. The growth of digitisation in India has seen a conscious shift in consumer music consumption preferences towards streaming services. In the next few years we see India becoming a lot more receptive to new-age indie artists who will take front and centre outside of commercial film music. The future will also see personalisation and precision work together to deliver relevant and tailor-made messaging when it comes to marketing to younger consumers. This tech-driven approach will not only increase the efficacy of marketing communication, but will also help brands foster customer loyalty.

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