Prathyusha Agarwal is a leader who needs no introduction. One of the most inspiring women leaders of the M&E industry, Agarwal is a marketing genius. She spearheads all the marketing efforts of the mighty Zee Network as their Chief Marketing Officer.
Recently, the Zee network launched four new regional channels in the extremely competitive television industry, which certainly solidified the network’s regional play.
Prathyusha Agarwal shares her most important points of Focus for ZEEL in 2020.
Soul to Screen
In 2020, a big priority for all of us at the Zee network and specifically for me to be driving as the viewer champion is what we’re calling Soul to Screen. Like the phrase, we use with regards to tasty food, farm to fork. We believe entertainment is a bit like food. It’s food for the soul. We’re looking at taking the approach soul to screen.
Content in some sense is a bit like a service brand. It’s created by people, it is not a standard formatted product and it’s not a formulaic product. In fact, uncertainty is the biggest thing here, which basically means; make a change in the product. It’s delivered in real-time and you don’t have a controlled assembly line. When you have a product like content, it’s very critical that whoever is making or bringing that content as a communication pitch needs to be deeply entrenched and have a deep dialogue with the consumer. I think it’s not just a viewer research; but understand the boli that’s the outer layer and then get into the inner circle of characters that I relate to because these quirky characters are found and created only when you go and meet real people who are like this. if I imagine most of what happens in the creative ecosystem is imagining a film heroine or in our reference from their voices versus when I meet a customer in real life, and I’m making a story, then the characters that come out are that much more authentic. So if you actually see ‘Kamali’ in Kannada or the other characters in our stories, each of those have come from our teams going and meeting real people and sharing that insight.
All the stories are very different, Kannadathana story is very different from the Bengaliana story it’s not just about the language. There is a “little stillness” in the Kannada person versus there is a certain, “I need to prove a point” in a Tamil person. There are values both at the character level and at a storytelling level.
So for example, when we were launching Zee Punjabi, we went into the core of the Punjabi culture. To the soul of it, there is the “Junoon”, there is a “Vadda Dream”, it’s not just any dream it is a colossal. Then there is the whole “bhai chara”, “seva” and these are the critical values, which we are then using as cultural soul pillars for our content. That’s what we’re calling soul to screen, and how you will take the core soul values and the passion points, then the characters which kind of embody such as the heroes and the dialogues etc. Soul to Screen is first point of Focus in 2020.
As a marketer, the second point of Focus for us is that in this explosion of content; discovery is becoming more and more important. Every time somebody writes a pitch, it’s not like a shampoo or soap which gets NPD once in a while, but every month there is an NPD and there is a new pitch that’s happening. How do we make this discovery which is clutter-breaking or something which, is different, for example, if I said, my daughter is not less than my son, it doesn’t touch you, but if I say “ke mare chori, chore se kam nahi hai”, it touches you and hence it enhances my communication and the marketing that I do is in that nuance.
Secondly, sampling of that content in little snippets, because, we know that the core users are on the channel and they are watching the promos. If they are not coming with the promos, and it’s obvious that they are shutting the marketing message. If I can get them to somewhere sample the content such as on my social assets. I have 220 million people who come to me on TV, the only about 60-70 million of that, that come on my social assets. We’re trying to get people to sample this content and grow them to as much as 200 million even on my social assets. So then they are not just hearing the pitch but the sampling the product in these little minutes and then coming so that becomes the content discovery in a very cultural context.
Value addition to brands
The third point of Focus for us is to provide value addition to brands. We work very closely with our sales teams to add value addition to our clients.
When brands say that they want to partner with us, mapping their needs states and focusing on a particular character in the form of content and then working with the sales team to provide value-added solutions and I think on a larger level where do different client business objectives fit in delivering is something which becomes a third big priority. The regular selling will keep happening, but somewhere how do we customize brand solutions.
I think bringing the knowledge of our brands, our influencers and we always call them the huge emo influencers. They are the hyper-digital influencers which only play in their area of expertise versus the TV characters are emo influencers, they are like your brother or your sister who you will listen to him or her on multiple fields of expertise because you trust them. I think building that which brand matches to which influencer and that work is the third biggest thing.
Last Mile Shopper Marketing
The fourth and I think it’s in the current situation. Also over a period of time the sector needs to go into subscriber and the open value chain, I think, moving it from a B2B to B2B2C, and hence the last mile B2C conversation, subscription marketing, I think this happened in the FMCG shopper marketing 20 years back. Getting that shopper marketing equivalent into broadcast is the fourth big point of Focus for us in 2020.
Teams Should Play
Fifth point of Focus for us is and I think this is a personal thing of mine. I believe teams should play. It shouldn’t be and that for me has always been the biggest learning in terms of great things delivered versus good things delivered. When teams play and teams enjoy it’s no longer about winning a certain thing, but when you play, you’re just playing for the fun of it. That’s where your mistakes don’t matter and you’re all enjoying the game. I think somewhere getting all of my teams to play is a very, very big priority for me in the coming year.