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Why use Radio as a branding tool in India

radio-as-a-branding-toolThe power of the radio have never been denied. But for reasons unknown, radio as a communication tool is still under a lot of debate, scrutiny and evolution. This is despite the fact that All India Radio came into being during the British era. A further development as a new era of communication occurred in India in 1956 when All India Radio was christened also as Akashvani. One of the biggest networks in the world, with nearly than 100% penetration, 245 commercial radio stations spread across 50 cities, one would think AIR as a communication vehicle has arrived. Has it? While naysayers feel that in the current Internet-fuelled world radio is an ageing technology, believers insist there’s merit in the media particularly while leveraging local brands and reaching out to provincial communities and audiences.

Many PR pros feel that radio can deliver direct brand messaging to a particular demography. Industry insiders who have been keeping a close watch on the evolution of radio Industry in India are confident that the domain would maintain a strong growth momentum despite several hurdles.

Even as the world witnesses modernisation in the domain of media and technological upgrades, radio has emerged as the only mode that’s been slow but with sustained changes. Online PR agencies vouch for the opportunities terrestrial radio gives in brand building where direct responses are not needed. While terrestrial radio is making its presence felt as a preferred tool for branding, experts say that digital radio should be used to meet messaging needs as it can be easily integrated with the social platforms and websites.

No matter what kind of strategy you want to deploy, radio publicity is here to stay – its evolution is slow for sure – to help achieve your targets. Apart from being mobile, radio has something new to offer. Most of the stations have started to stream their programs on the Internet to widen their reach. If the online listeners like what they hear in the streaming radio, they may visit your website instantly.

Below mentioned are tips that will help you leverage the radio for branding purposes:.

  • target-audienceWho are your audience

Before initiating any branding exercise, get a clear understanding of the listeners you want to tap. Many top PR agencies in Delhi create a one-sentence target audience profile based on the prospects’ demographics – age, gender, household income etc. After the profiling is complete, this key piece of information should be shared with targeted radio station’s sales team. They will share what percentage of their stations’ listeners match and also the best program that will help to reach your prospects.

A restaurant owner should collaborate with a radio station/show whose listeners prefer to dine out. Every radio station’s sales team have qualitative and quantitative information in regard to listeners, hence sharing a customised proposal that comprises schedules with rating breakdowns should take place right at the beginning. Offering signal coverage maps that display where their stations are heard will also help a business to capture target audiences.

  • aware-of-what-you-are-opting-forAre you aware of what you are opting for (buying)

Reach, cost-per-point and frequency are the key elements that should be considered when evaluating proposals. Reach stands for the count of prospects who will hear your marketing message, frequency denotes the average number of times your potential customers will hear your message and cost-per-point evaluates the cost effectiveness as compared to other stations.

PR consulting agencies should advice clients to purchase enough (sufficient) frequency to ensure that the target audience hears the message several times.

  • What are the special sponsorships

There is no denying that radio stations enact the role of promotional engines. We all know that most of the stations provide opportunities to sponsor news, weather reports and other relevant types of regular programming.

A sponsor bags ‘extra’ mentions. Sponsorships guarantees reserved spots during commercial breaks ensuring higher reach before the audience decides to switch stations or tune out.

Identify a relevant sponsorship opportunity that encompasses on-air mentions and brings your client in the spotlight.

  • Are you focussing upon entertaining audiences

After you have decided which radio channel to partner with, you should initiate the process of identifying the effective spots that will ensure maximum visibility.

Ensuring efficiency of radio spots can be attained when compelling music or attention-seeking voices are used.  It is key for brands to tell stories or share situations, which the target audience is able to relate to. An ongoing campaign can ensure audiences are hooked for a longer time.

To maximise results, always use a call-to-action (URL or phone number) that can be easily remembered and goes well with the overall message.


There was a time when radio only played the role of a reminder medium when Vividh Bharati was the only station in India. Nonetheless, things have changed for better now. Thanks to the increasing number of stations making entertainment on the move a reality, radio has been successful in reclaiming its position in the media mix. Now, radio is used as an interactive and experiential medium for brands. Industry verticals like FMCG, auto, real estate etc are leveraging this medium to their advantage. It has been noticed that many radio channels undertake a mix of on-ground activations for brands.

In India, the reach and cost efficiency of radio cannot be disputed. Having said that, if the ‘right’ mindset is in place, radio as a communication medium will find speedier adoption. No denying that radio is awaiting a giant leap forward.

Also Read: Branding: a bare necessity?

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