| 29 Nov 2021
Brand integration: way to go! - Balasubramaniam

Brand integration is the imbedding or weaving of a client's brand with the radio station's brand into content that shares common brand values, personality, or message.

Aligning the various brands of advertisers to a customised form has become one of the essential components for the radio industry which fall under brand integration. Plain vanilla advertising is becoming extinct as advertising has changed the way ads are brought to their target audience. So then radio is not an exception to this when it is brand integration. Over the years, brand integration has played a vital role in traditional mediums like print and television so radio has opened its door to this better connect to advertisers.

Integration can be an effective way of achieving advertising objectives and works best in conjunction with traditional advertising schedules. A simple and different way of getting your message across and most effective for clients who have larger media spends and want to maximise a common communication and / or have an advertising approach that requires a different execution in regard to brand alignment and imaging.

While brand integration is often discussed in terms of the television medium, this mode has taken off for radio, too, and is currently one of the key revenue generation streams for the radio medium. In these troubled times, there are greater demands from advertisers to cater to scattered target audiences with an extra mile way of making brands be on top of the end user's mind. So media owners and advertisers have widened their reach as it's a perfect cocktail of content- radio brand advertiser. Effective integration of a brand message into a station's content relies on alignment of brand values, or brand personality.

Radio, today, is not a measurable medium. Through Brand Integration, radio is providing a far better measure. Radio gets a lot of clients into its fold, who might normally not form a core advertiser group, otherwise through brand integration.

Though radio is still not a part of the Above-the-Line budgets, increasingly, large clients, who have understood the power of radio are resorting to activations and brand integrations to reach their target audience. If radio today has to grow, it has to increase client base, for which innovations and value added services are the way forward. Radio activations which contributes to a major push of the brand and advertiser does the magic for those clients having low budgets. Most of the branding and marketing expenses which has to be brought in through attractive activations, today, are sponsor / advertiser driven.

Radio acts as an interface between the product category and the target audience, and through activation takes the brand across to the end customer. The key challenge is in amplifying the activity to reach the target audience.

Though there's a tendency to misunderstand the role of a radio activation team vis-? -vis an event management organisation, there are vast differences between the two. Radio relies on an event management organisation just for infrastructure support if and when needed. Radio plays a key role in activation in the form of ideation and amplification. The role of activation team is to right from - Think for the brand - Ideate and amplify – to work more passionately with the brand it has gone to the next level of finding smarter ways of getting better growth to brands and advertisers. In the process it helps the radio brand itself.

The prime motto of any brand integration activity is to bring in the client into the regular advertiser fold of the radio. Activations does that extra bit to convince the clients who saty away from the medium otherwise.

With the increasing popularity of radio, brand integration will soon be a part of the primary agenda of organisation in their marketing plans. On-air brand integration will play a far more important role than on-ground activities / activation, with brand integration actually playing a key role in building response for the activity.

We, at Hello FM 106.4, look at how best to integrate the brand – advertiser – listener / consumer. .We, as a radio brand with client supported activities and self supported activities which are truly station led, permit advertisers / sponsors to ride on the success formula.

Some of our successful brand integration initiatives from Hello FM 106.4.

Vicks sing well contest

Kellogs weight loss

Aircel Pallanguzhi

Tiger �Ammava Chummava' (if mother inferior) contest for Tiger Glucose biscuits

Vicks surusuruppu (active) contest

It's that challenge in the design of the activity – both off-air and on-air that has proves the success of activations. The activation idea should be have good content connect, which will be relevant for listeners. All the above activities are testimony of this success.

From being an infant concept / vertical brand activations have seamlessly made radio brands find avenues of making extra revenue through better brand integration. There has to be cautious assessment of the same before a decision on how to integration of the advertiser's brand into the medium as such will work. As a whole ratio of integrating the brands into the revenue stream has increased, there is rising demand for better brand integrations but a unfit will prove fatal.

Balasubramaniam is Assistant VP and head, weekend programming and brand integration, Hello FM 106.4