| 14 Aug 2022
Shashi Sinha - Radio and the great outdoors!

Shashi Sinha  - VP & National Head - Sales & Marketing, Laqshya Outdoors and Laqshya Airport Media.

We are living in exciting times characterised by the availability of multiple media platforms and even more numerous media brands to choose from. On the other had, disposable time available to us is reducing because of rapid urbanisation and the fact that our lives are turning more and more institutions-driven  The multiplicity of media brands means even media brands need to be marketed aggressively. No surprise, therefore, that in recent times, Media has emerged as one of the top advertising categories.

Here we are attempting to understand how Out of Home (OOH) media can be a distinctly useful media vehicle to market radio stations and networks.

First, let us appreciate although OOH media is non-intrusive,  it can prove to be very powerful trigger in influencing the audience's choice. This is because of its power to use life and the audience's predominant psychological predisposition as the context for message delivery. This power to influence audience's choice becomes particularly acute with respect to product categories involving low-involvement decision making. I believe that the choice a radio channel to tune in to is a low-involvement decision for most of us;  it may border on an impulse decision. OOH can prove very useful to any radio channel in providing this high frequency trigger.

The FM radio space is extremely dynamic. Since a large number of audience has no particular brand loyalty to any channel, information about a radio channel's better ratings or it being the first, second or third on the listenership charts, can impact its listenership. OOH media can do this in a very effective manner and therefore it has the capability of creating the listenership skew towards a particular channel.

Localisation is key media capability for both radio and OOH. Radio advertising is driven by brand activations and radio content is driven by social activism – for example, curtailing wastage of water in Mumbai. Both are largely local initiatives and for their success they need people's participation. Since OOH is �always ON' media, it can help radio immensely in its efforts of building audience intent to respond to or participate in the initiatives.

â€?Content' enjoys better branding than â€?carrier' in both TV and Radio. A good programme can cause a huge audience swell for a TV or a radio channel – case in point, KBC4 on Sony TV  OOH can help a radio channel market its programme in a very effective manner in order to create a competitive swell by creating a â€?listening intent'.

OOH is effective both with b2c audiences - listeners – and b2b audiences of advertisers, marketing managers, media planners and buyers and other business associates.

Lastly, OOH has a distinct ability of working on the sub-conscious part of audience's minds. Because we suffer from information overload and very severe Marketing noise, we have become defensive to marketing communications and our conscious mind, limited by its capacity, is busy filtering or blocking them. Subconscious mind has infinite capacity to process and store information. It works at a more fundamental level and effects a more profound perceptual and behavioural change 

At the given stage that the OOH media is in India, the reverse - that is Radio proving to be an effective Marketing medium for OOH - is not really true. This is because OOH media units lack branding. It is content-less media which has hardly any brand identity or mast head. Advertising is the content and the advertised brand is the hero. Also, OOH media is bought in quite a commoditised way; hence branding has very little to add   

This relationship between Radio and OOH has not blossomed as desired. This is because OOH witnessed huge rate inflation before the last economic slowdown. The Radio industry itself has passed through stages of very high license fees followed by severe tariff dilution in the wake of second phase of FM licensing, and now, slowly, it is moving towards tariff rationalisation and profit consolidation. Still, not a single network seems to have really have broken even yet.

That is why the OOH media should work out a very special advertising tariff for the radio industry so that the media synergies can be exploited by latter  No OOH Media sales person will reduce rates for categories – like automobiles -- that flock to the medium. But it is always in a medium's interest to bring more categories in its fold. The benefits are always mutual, especially lucrative in the longer term. However, it cannot be based on barter alone. So one hopes the process will be initiated by evangelists on either side.

About Shashi Sinha:

Shashi has been associated with Media and Marketing for the last 15 years. Though he has been exposed to a wide array of functions, he says that at the bottom of his heart he is a strategist creating â€?value propositions.'  With strong stints in print and online behind him, his current passion is understanding and contributing to the fast emerging new kid on the block... called Out Of Home (OOH) Media as VP & National Head - Sales & Marketing for Laqshya Outdoors and Laqshya Airport Media divisions.