Radio facilitates two way engagement with consumers – Rajat Uppal, General Manager, 93.5 Red FM


Having been marketing brands across media and liquor conglomerates in India, Mr. Rajat Uppal is presently heading Marketing for 93.5 Red FM. With cumulative experience of close to 7 years across 3 radio networks, he enjoys Radio a lot. EE gets candid with Rajat Uppal on why marketers should choose investing in advertising on radio over any other medium and Red FM’s experiential marketing initiatives.

EE - What makes a brand advertise over a medium like Radio - where there is no visibility and the listener has the liberty to switch the station?

Even though radio is a medium without visibility, it has its own merits that make it a preferred media vehicle for national as well as regional advertisers. The kind of localization that it gives for example, makes it possible for national brands to customize their communication, according to the local ethos of different cities. Also, the low cost per contact in radio advertising makes it a very efficient medium. It also gives an opportunity to small business owners who did not traditionally advertise to communicate to their target audiences. Also, radio is one of the mediums which is very high on engagement. It facilitates two way engagements with the consumers by way of contests, calls etc making the whole communication process a lot more interactive and responsive.

EE - How would one judge the ROI on radio?

Most radio campaigns have a specific objective, in the form of a CFA (Call For Action). It could be inviting responses to a contest, or asking people to register for something, or visit a particular outlet. In all such cases, the ROI can easily be ascertained by measuring cost against the number of responses the campaign got. Other than that, we can estimate the number of people tuned into the radio station at any point in time, and multiply that by the number of exposures to get an idea of the reach. Brands which use radio for campaigns often can see the result in the form of impact on their sales number in the cities advertised in during or post a campaign. Having said that, each medium is unique and has its own characteristics, and therefore ROIs from various media is a case of apples and oranges.

EE - You have been quoted as saying that 'Radio is working well as a medium for some of the largest brands by offering them customized solutions which address their advertising objectives well'. Please elaborate.

Radio is a medium which gives the advantage of offering flexible and customized solutions to clients, based on their objectives and requirements. At RED FM we have always offered our clients 360 degree communications solutions. One such recent example is our ‘Tashanbaaz’ activity, which we did in 15 non-metro cities in 2013. The client- a perfume brand, wanted to reach out to youth in these markets and engage with them beyond just ATL communications. We designed, planned and executed a talent hunt in 15 colleges each in each of these 15 cities, including mega finales at prominent locations like malls in each city. While the on-ground element was at the core and radio promotion was the backbone of the activity, we had a complete 360 degree media plan that included print, outdoor, digital etc. The activity was massively successful, and the client was very happy with the results. Similarly, the sponsors of our RED Live concerts range from real estate clients, to telecom biggies. It is about giving your clients true value through customized solutions along with an engaged and captive audience.

EE - How big is Red FM into experiential marketing? Do you think you have substantial competition when it comes to that front?

Amongst the radio players, RED FM was the first one to have believe in BTL as much as, if not more than ATL to build brand saliency. Other stations have also now become active in this space. But I would not hesitate in saying that RED was amongst the first few stations to explore it, and we continue to be very active in experiential marketing. From our IPR Red Live, under which we offer Live Super Hit music experiences to audiences in the form of concerts and other entertainment gigs, to doing live shows from the top of  hoardings in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata- we have been very active in the experiential marketing space. I feel that these on-ground initiatives are quite important for a deeper and sustainable engagement with the audience in a medium where one hardly gets to see the Voice one loves. Interactions with listeners on such a platform help in creating a connect which would stay long after the radio has been switched off.  Activations help in getting the brand and the RJs directly in touch with their listeners. In the long run, on-ground experiences help in building saliency as well as establishing a strong emotional connect with listeners which would eventually help the stations have a loyal listenership base.

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experiential radio Rajat Uppal red fm

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