The panel, comprising names such as Harrish Bhatia, chief operating officer, My FM; Rana Baruah, executive vice-president and country head, Radio City; Anand Chakravarthy, senior VP, marketing, Big FM; Anuj Singh, national marketing head and head, west, Red FM; and Prashant Panday, chief executive officer, ENIL discussed how radio stations have been building brands - and successfully so.
With a sharp focus on brand building, Panday said that radio can challenge television in this regard. "Each of the radio stations has a clear imagery, despite the argument that the music may be similar. That is because we have made requisite investments for brand building," he stated.
He said that Radio Mirchi's imagery is that of a sunshine channel, one that makes the listener happy any time of the day. Baruah of Radio City said that the positioning of 'Whatte Fun' was arrived at when the radio station was being looked at as an older-generation station. Hence, an imagery of a fun loving friend is how the station is positioned.
Anuj Singh of Red FM says that the station enjoys the imagery of being transparent, irreverent and honest. The Bajaate Raho tagline, which was essentially for the music, has now taken an all-new connotation, in line with the station's identity. "We are edgy, we don't fake and are honest," asserts Singh.
He added that to build a brand and connect, there is a need for one big idea around which the entire offering rests. "The magic formula is to have one principle and create everything around it - be it RJs (radio jockeys), promos or packaging," Singh stated.
Glorifying radio as a powerful medium, Chakravarthy said that radio is a truly democratic medium. "Any other kind of entertainment is priced. One can access radio irrespective of economic or demographic differences. That's the biggest advantage," he said.
About differentiation of content, radio stalwarts had interesting takes. While Panday was of the opinion that the different brand imagery is the key differentiator, Bhatia of My FM substantiated it by saying that over a period of time, all products become commodities. "Do newspapers have different news? Then why do we subscribe to a specific newspaper?" he questioned.
Besides, they added that radio was an un-intrusive medium, which can be consumed in the background - unlike any other, and also boasts of interactivity and a strong connect with the listener.
As a medium, radio was also doing its bit to expand its offerings by way of launching activation units, CSR activities and radio schools.