Buzz Power 2008: A dash of drama and promises kept see TataSky through

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | February 15, 2008
The story of how a brand, in a category as boring as a durable service brand, not just created a buzz, but also familiarised the masses with high-end technology

Two years ago, when major & #BANNER1 & #companies announced their plans to foray into direct to home (DTH) services, they had the television channels dancing with joy. But clearly, there was nothing for the consumer to be excited about then. So, when TataSky decided to launch its DTH services, despite an already existing player, Dish TV, a big task was to educate the consumer and build a buzz around the new service. Going by TAM statistics, in June 2006, awareness about DTH was less than 35 per cent. Today, 16 months later, it commands a share of 91 per cent in brand recall and boasts of a million customers.

It wasn't all well planned or strategically formulated for TataSky, confessed Vikram Mehra, head, consumer marketing. While Tata is a respectable name, the brand's foray into entertainment was unknown, as was DTH technology. The primary approach with which the company started was "breaking away from the pack". This it achieved by not just creating buzz through advertisements, but also its services. So, it re-defined the category from DTH to satellite television services, just to simplify the term to appeal to the lowest common denominator. "Even to a relatively illiterate guy in Bihar, 'satellite' meant 'advanced'. This served another purpose, that of being different from the competition." Today, Mehra said, TataSky has become so generic a brand that it owns the category.

The launch campaign of TataSky was so dramatic that it got everyone talking. Half the job was done as it created waves of excitement, buzz and inquisitiveness. With its jingle, 'Isko laga daala to life jhingalala', a rather bizarre one for a service brand, it managed to break the ice with the consumer. "We were concerned about not intimidating the consumer with jargon like DTH. It was important to break their fear of technology," Mehra said. From covering the Peddar Road flyover and promoting the brand on the road, TataSky made a big announcement, making everyone realise that its service was more than and better than cable.

Vikram Mehra TataSky was perhaps the first brand to hire a brand ambassador, actor Hrithik Roshan, and not feature him in the first 15 seconds of the television commercial (TVC). This TVC was focused specifically around the World Cup in 2007. The ad was about a cricket enthusiast gearing up to go to South Africa to watch the match, when Roshan dissuades him from doing so and asks him to get a TataSky connection instead and watch the match with him. "We were the only ones who managed to come out well from the World Cup disaster!" Mehra joked, referring to the ad.

TataSky planned a number of pre-school activities and school contact programmes to promote its educational programmes. "We wanted to get through to the biggest influencers of children, the teachers, who generally advise students not to watch TV. And they became our brand ambassadors," he explained.

Emphasis was laid on post-purchase in order to prevent any kind of dissonance. With 24 hour call centres, a staff strength of 800 people in 11 languages, prompt delivery and easy installation, TataSky differentiated its product in every possible way. Citing a few instances, Mehra talked about how every installer, apart from being in TataSky uniforms, was instructed to take off his shoes and socks before entering a customer's house. Even things like carrying their own brooms to clean up the debris resulting from the installation were stressed. "All these minute details, which can be easily overlooked and ignored, contributed a great deal in creating a buzz for the brand. After all, they are our brand ambassadors," he said.

Despite creating clutter breaking, eyebrow raising campaigns, Mehra said that what really built the brand was the word of mouth it generated. Referrals from existing users, buzz generated from advertising, and interesting contests made TataSky the brand it is today… making life simple for scores of consumers. Ultimately, Mehra said, TataSky's mantra of buzz creation is to "deliver what you promise", which he believes they did successfully.

The event was sponsored by Kingfisher, NIA and Orienta Cine Advertising.