Brand New Resolutions MMXV


It’s that time of the year again and A Brand View Story is back after a break! A break meant some time to think and what better to think about than how the next year should be from the perspective of brands.

So here are 5 Resolutions for 2015….

Start using “Radio” more effectivelyNo1

First up a disclaimer, I hold no brief for the industry. What I write simply comes from the understanding; however little, gained by virtue of being a part of the industry.  I believe that brands have tended to overlook the benefits that radio as a medium affords them.

The reasons for the brand apathy perhaps are not as much related to the lack of understanding of the benefits but to the lack of measurability.  Apart from the commercial broadcast service of the AIR, there are over 200 FM stations across 89 cities and towns today.  The estimated listenership at or over 300Mn is certainly higher than newspapers as medium in terms of penetration. Sadly though, from a measurement perspective listenership data is tracked only in four cities by RAM.  The other source of listenership data the IRS is too little to go by.  Given this lack of measurability brands and agencies both are reluctant to plan better campaigns on Radio.

To justify spends and existence Radio stations are in today’s context de facto activation agencies.

With the Phase III of FM set to take FM radio to 300 towns the time is ripe for brands to relook their media strategies.  It also is high time the industry came together and invested in a better, more robust and representative measurement system. With the C&S explosion, the ad-spends on Radio moved towards the lesser/niche channels that were available for a bargain and lately Digital is the blue-eyed boy.

The Prime Minister of the country has already made the medium his own with his “Mann ki Baat”. Question is, are the brands alive to this low hanging fruit in the media-scape?

Stop “SELFIE” campaignsNo2

I for one have had enough of brands using the “selfie” phenomenon. I have in a previous post titled “SELFIE Obsession” aired views on this. Just like other fads it’s time to bid this one goodbye.

No3Stop confusing “INVOLVEMENT” with “ENGAGEMENT”

I don’t mean to split hair here. These are adjacent words and I am aware that context defines their use. It is a fine line and as marketing professionals we have got to understand the difference between consumer Involvement and consumer engagement.   I am sure we are in agreement that we have had enough euphoria around campaign activations and saying wow. The difference between the two terms essentially lies in the degree.

The basis of activations is for brands to have a “conversation” with the consumer affording them an opportunity to “engage” with the brand.  The passerby, the bystander and the participant are different entities.  The smart(er) brands are looking beyond the numbers, looking for patterns leading up to consumer participation.

Patterns do not emerge if you look at the data only when you need it; they only emerge if you are constantly looking at it.  In a manner of speaking, analysts need to be like alchemists.  They need to keep mixing stuff with the singular belief that they will produce gold!

More of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan”No4

Sincerely believe in this one.  If all the brands and corporate house pledged their CSR budgets towards this movement we can make a visible difference.  SBA is not a one-time thing it has to be a constant endeavor.

There was a very poignant scene in Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi wherein the Salt Satyagrah is depicted.  The undeterred peaceful protestors keep coming at the British to face their assault.  That’s the kind of perseverance the Swatchh Bharat Abhiyaan requires.  We have to shame those who litter into mending their ways.

It’s not just the government alone who will need to keep at it.  Individuals and organisations need to adopt blocks, localities, towns etc and guard (read keep them clean) zealously.  The government should consider offering exclusive branding rights to corporates for zones that they maintain.

Charity as they say begins at home and this is as much a note to self.

Less of Cricket (T20) sponsorshipsNo5

Again this is one that has been done to death.  Especially the T20 variety.  Brands have put money on any cricket that has come their way.  From Celebrity Cricket Leagues to Gully Cricket Leagues all are attracting marketing spends with questionable returns.  Planners and bean counters would well be advised to look at options in 1 & 4 above.

Those were my two cents. Here is wishing all a very prosperous 2015!

The WIN-SEE Code: Cracking Audiences with Laughter

Laughter they say is the best medicine. Certainly so, as far as the GEC space is concerned. Indian television over the years has invariably found success in its flirtations with comedy as a genre. Again with no specific research to back my claim would like to move forward on the basic premise that light-hearted (at times meaningless as well) comedy has a cut through across age and demographics.

From the Doordarshan days of Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi and Ulta Pulta or the Sajid Khans and Shekhar Sumans of the world as cable television started out or more recently, the stand-up comedy phenomenon. Comedy has delivered well in the fiction and non-fiction/reality formats.

The inaugural season of Comedy Nights with Kapil a weekend show launched mid-2013 on Colors (An Indian GEC part of Viacom) has been seeing phenomenal success.

Recently released numbers for Wk3 2014 indicate that the show rated at 11 TVM in terms of viewership. By all means a staggering achievement given the fact that India has approximately 145Mn households that have Cable & Satellite out of which this programming would appeal to households that speak and understand Hindi. Couple that with a following of just under 6Mn on Facebook and 14Mn page-views on YouTube and we are talking of a brand that would stand tall amongst the best!

So here’s my theory of what the underlying factors of this success are, the WIN-SEE code (if you indulge me)

·     Witty: One of the key traits of the shows anchor is his earthy wit. Repartee is perhaps the best representation of the kind of humor that works in a family or a friend’s kind of an environment. The show is purported to have brought back television viewing as a family activity. The show is conversation currency.

·  Irreverent:  The content of the show is constantly pushing further the envelope with regard to its treatment of established institutions and norms. Even the audiences are not spared when it comes to comments on their profession, physical appearance etc.

·   Naughty: Humour across the world has always been ridden with innuendos. The characters of the show are overtly flirtatious and suggestive. Strangely enough they have been able to get away and redefine what acceptable conversation in Indian households is. Perhaps, the over the top approach softens the crude content. Albeit the writers of the show thus far have been able to walk that fine line.

WinSeeCodeStar Quotient: Celebrities have invariably formed a part of successful shows. The difference in approach of this show has been that the host does not spare the guests. The show has given access to the witty, irreverent and naughty side of its guests, a clear differentiator. Celebs and ratings of course form a self-propagating virtuous cycle and the show’s success has made it the choice destination for PR.

·    Egalitarian:  The show has no pretensions. The humor is basic bordering slap-stick. While the intellectuals get their high with the quick repartee and satire the masses are served a dollop of “nautanki” with men dressed as women, buffoonery etc. Every gets a fair dose of what they need and everyone is happy. The show cuts across ages as well. My yet to turn 2 year old who has just about started speaking knows the show and even its characters by name!

·      Empathetically engaging: The basic construct of the show is the clichéd North Indian household. The lazy flirtatious male and his aspirations monetary and romantic. The oppressed wife, the bossy granny and the interfering aunt and irritating neighbours. There are constant references to the challenges of running a household such as inflation, corruption etc.

4RsAll of the above make it one neat entertainment package that has hit a home-run as far as the 4 R’s of media are concerned Relevance, Reach, Ratings and Revenues.

Success they say is its own enemy and has begun to take its toll on the show with key characters deciding to chart their own course.

What remains to be seen is how effectively they crack the WIN-SEE code!