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Content marketing on radio has entered a more evolved stage where plain promotion of brands has taken a back seat.

The brands are trying to reach out to consumers through radio by building a strong storytelling narrative around social causes or things that are important for consumers.

Tapas Sen

Tapas Sen, COO, Radio Mirchi, said, “FCT or normal standard advertising is now the lowest preferred format in radio or any medium. Listeners are smart enough to understand what a plug is. Content marketing on radio channels has become a very subtle, classy and elegant integration.”

The radio shows are being designed keeping in mind the ideology of the brand, which also ensures there's no direct-in-your-face promotion of brands.

To weigh more on content front, Mirchi now offers solutions to brands via 70% of its radio formats and 30% of its non-radio fronts and has become more platform-agnostic.

Adding further, Sen said, “Radio makes the content more relevant. The brand’s communication is integrated elegantly with the content in a way that it makes sense to the listener and also the brand’s message is delivered.”

Big FM, which airs shows such as ‘Yaadon ka idiot box’ with RJ Neelesh Misra, is one of the many radio networks that has integrated with brands such as Hyundai and Vaseline. The channel recently concluded campaigns for Stayfree to drive home the message of using ‘sanitary napkin’.

Sunil Kumaran

Sunil Kumaran, Country Head, Thwink, Big FM, said, “Brands have understood the power of storytelling. With Stayfree, where they wanted to reach out to mothers and daughters in the Hindi heartland and drive home their message, we weaved the brand message into the fabric of a powerful story narrative around mother-daughter relationship. Messaging seamlessly weaved into the storyline has far better acceptability from the audience than spots.”

Listeners today do not want to just hear about the brands, they expect advertisements to be an engagement, and content marketing via shows on radio is doing the magic.

Brands such as Dettol, Stayfree, Amazon Alexa and Canara Bank among others have reaped rich dividends by taking the content marketing route through radio channels.

Sai Narayan

“With strategically devised stories told in a simple, conversational and easy-to-understand manner, radio is also a wonderful medium for brands to create an easy connect with consumers,” said Sai Narayan, Head of Marketing, Policybazaar.

Saima Iqbal, who heads Creative Services in Mirchi, told that the channel is creating shows keeping in mind the ideology of the brand and is focusing on subtle integration instead of promoting the brand directly.

Mirchi has done various campaigning and shows around content of multiple brands. To reach maximum people, Hero Cycles for its campaign ‘Sadak par dikhegi tabhi toh chalegi’ had integrated with Mirchi, and created the whole ecosystem and conversations around bicycling on World Bicycling Day. Through the show, the listeners participated in the campaign, raising their voices and asking the government for better spacious roads.

Quoting another such campaign of Quaker Oats with a tag line ‘the power of two’, Iqbal shared how two radio brands, Mirchi and Red FM, came up with the idea of ‘two’ for the show that was hosted by RJ Naved (Mirchi) and RJ Rounak (Red FM).

Anil Machado

Impressing on the need to have more emotional quotient to connect better with consumers, Anil Machado, COO, Radio One, said, "To automatically create a relationship between the host, brand and the listener, the story and the content piece should have an emotional connection."

“We have to draw very realistic picture through content for the brands and the audience. Brands have seen the changes, conversion and consumption. Through such formats, we decide to create top-of-the-mind recall of the brand, whether it is a funny character or some other character. So when that happens, everything falls into place. Now more media planners are definitely looking at what interesting story I can create audio wise and take that forward,” he added.

The channel has done content pieces for brands like Amazon Alexa, Amazon Audible, Atmosphere Groups, along with the shows like ‘Get some sun’ with Ranveer Singh.