Audience is socially conscious, they prefer brands with a purpose: Abraham Thomas, Big FM

Thomas, CEO, Big FM, shares insight on how audio as a medium can be integrated into different platforms & the change in the listener's demand for content as opposed to music

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Feb 25, 2019 9:32 AM
Big FM

Radio network 92.7 Big FM started out 13 years ago and now has over 59 stations all over India. Known for its unique storytelling in the country, Big FM wants to change the world and their journey begins by changing its audiences’ thoughts. Stemming from this philosophy they launched a new show ‘Dhun Bhadal Ke Toh Dekho’ in Mumbai last week.

The host and brand ambassador of the show, Vidya Balan is a perfect representative for the gravitas the show is trying to bring about. This show is not shying away from topics which people are sometimes afraid to talk about. “If we talk about topics we begin to understand people and relationships better,” stated Balan at the promotional event. Their motive with the show is not to change the world but they are saying, “Dhun Bhadal Ke Toh Dekho”, having conversations about themes like body shamming, child sexual abuse, new age parenting, superstition, gender inequality to name a few.

Radio as a medium can influence and make its listeners think and the new show is Big FM’s endeavour for a better tomorrow. Encouraging listeners to look at things from different perspectives. Big FM has always been at the forefront of change and radio as a medium can really help with that.  

exchange4media conversed with Abraham Thomas, CEO, Big FM who gave us insight into this new show and the change in radio content. 

For a listener content in radio has triumphed over the demand for music. 

There is a lot of change that is happening and the audience is expecting brands like ours to show them the way. Very clearly their preference is to brands which have a greater purpose. You will see even the big advertisers like the Unilever’s or the P&G’s, communication has moved from the product. Especially for media brands like ours, the first decade of the radio industry emphasised on music. Now, very clearly in the last 12 years, all the talent has gained credibility. Celebrities and Influencers have been navigating the audience through different phases of their life. So very clearly there is an expectation to become a brand with a purpose. We have evolved into a purpose-driven marketing strategy. We have the credibility, reach, we are the theatre of the mind. Listener's trust us. We can positively influence the listeners thinking. That's how the transition of radio content has come about. 

Big FM is a broadcast medium. Will you integrate the show into a digital platform?

The beauty of radio is that it seamlessly integrates across platforms. We see ourselves as audio entertainment rather than just radio entertainment. The audio content that we create flows through FM, it can also flow through digital and it will flow through social media. All our channels have multimedia assets so it will go across multiple platforms. It is no longer about audio content. Wherever audio content is available we’ll be there. It is no longer restricted to radio alone. Radio has the biggest reach in mass media. It is obviously higher than digital. The reach of radio is as close to television. We will obviously use radio as a platform and get the maximum reach, but we will also make sure that the content goes across multiple platforms.

Should brands opt for: An emotional and social message to lure in a consumer or a functional approach?

Initially, brands go for the functional approach. After a time brands realise that a functional benefit at times is too generic, then you build an emotional cord around your brands and the consumer sees that. In this digital world if that is meaningless than things fall apart. The audience today is socially very conscious and therefore they are expecting and prefer brands that have a larger purpose. So that is the shift that has happened. A pure emotional approach without a purpose is not enough. You need a purpose for the brand to live up to so that the consumer pays attention to the brand. Our show, ‘Dhun Bhadal Ke Toh Dekho’ has an emotional connect but is mixed with a functional purpose.

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