Radio can be an inspiration; not an advertising afterthought :Rameet Arora

Rameet Arora, Sr Director, Mktng, Communications and Menu Management, McDonald's, talks about how radio is ripe for a renaissance, becoming increasingly sophisticated

e4m by Simran Sabherwal
Published: Apr 28, 2014 7:50 AM  | 4 min read
Radio can be an inspiration; not an advertising afterthought :Rameet Arora

For McDonald’s, Radio plays an integral part of their media mix and Rameet Arora, Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Menu Management, McDonald’s India, says the versatility of the  medium helps connect with the consumer more efficiently and effectively. Here are edited excerpts from Arora’s exclusive conversation with exchange4media.

How important is radio as a communication tool for you?

We are a popular brand, high in quality and affordable to all. The objective in using any mode of communication is to reach audiences across cities and social strata. We advertise across media in different locations and languages and radio is an integral part of our mix.

How does radio score over other media formats?

Over the past few years, digital marketers have been so focused on display, better ad-tech and creating experiences on the ever-expanding list of social platforms that we've managed to largely ignore a traditional medium that's becoming increasingly sophisticated - radio.

Initially radio was believed to be a rural reach medium but today it is one of the most versatile mediums as it provides an option to customise content as per the target audience’s profile and thus ensures that you connect to your audiences more efficiently and effectively.

And contrary to the production costs and time associated with TV, radio creatives can be executed for a fraction of the cost and in a significantly faster timeframe, giving advertisers the flexibility and agility to adapt campaigns on the fly.

How do you think radio can be utilised better as a marketing tool?

Radio as a platform has a better reach than most other mediums and it is a powerful ancillary for ensuring ‘call to action’ from print and other media, however it cannot be used in isolation. Instead of radio being an advertising afterthought, it can be a pretty great source of inspiration. In the age of social media and composing tweets, radio doesn't seem quite so limiting.

While digital agencies have been focused on capturing the essence of every emerging platform, there is a huge opportunity to combine new platforms with existing ones. We're in the business of investing in new ways of storytelling, so let's reconsider the value of radio in the marketing mix.

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

The level of activity in these markets is lower than in metros, people have more time to spend with themselves; this is where radio fills the gap. An increase in number of FM-enabled handsets has further increased the consumption of radio. Given the smaller geographies and the relative newness of FM in these markets, it has that edge, but ultimately the medium has to transcend from being just an entertainment/information media into being a medium that can deliver results for the brand.

Does radio help in connecting with the masses as well as the classes?

Yes it does, as the content on the channel can be customised to suit the target audience - be it to tap into the masses or classes.
Today everyone has access to radio through multiple points - mobile phones or in the car particularly during driving time, restaurants, coffee shops and public transport, thus the listener base consists of people from different walks of life.

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

Radio is ripe for a renaissance. Major advances in up-to-the-minute distribution and segmentation, as well as innovation from the likes of Pandora and Apple make radio or radio-type services  a good bet to add scale to campaigns at efficient cost.

Radio has also evolved a lot to compete with digital platforms like Pandora and iTunes. On-air jokes turn into trending topics, rare tracks are purchased at red lights and rural backchannels make Reddit's front page. There's an interesting media merge that needs to be explored.

As much as we talk about the phone being the second screen to TV and how our audience is multi-tasking, it's more plausible to think about looking at your phone and listening to the radio at the same time. It's also a lot more interactive than TV. You can call in to shows, do shout-outs, and make requests,all of which is quite interactive!

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