With almost everything going online, Radio stations have also upped their game on the digital platform, and in a very short time have adapted to a new normal. Radio Stations have also gone into a WFH mode and providing quality entertainment and news.
None of us had expected the lockdown to last for over 3 months; the fight against Covid-19 has only united us and in a way has prepped us all to adapt to the many ‘new normals’ that it brought with itself.
The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across orange and green zones and life is slowly crawling back to a new-normalcy. Businesses and brands are now are making their way back into the business.
In this story of Medianews4u’s new brand series, Back to Business spoke to Sunil Kumaran, Country Head, BIG FM
How are you coping with the impact of Covid-19 on your brand? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
There is simply no denying the fact that the ongoing pandemic and its resulting lockdown have had an adverse effect on several industries. Having created a new world order, this has been a crisis that will continue to have a lasting impact on the way we live. As we enter the new normal, the scenario that we face today has forced us to re-think and evaluate our businesses as well as re-engineer ourselves to be nimble and flexible in such a manner that we must leverage technology to drive both efficiency and effectiveness. When it comes to media platforms like us, we have witnessed a sharp increase in the reach, time spent and overall interaction levels thereby underscoring the relevance of such mediums especially during times of national crises.
Being a medium that best captures the spirit of the city and boasts of an individual equation with our audiences as opposed to other mediums, our endeavour has been to reach out to our listeners in these trying times not only through our content but also through the various social initiatives undertaken. Our aim has been to keep the audience entertained and informed, while ensuring the spirits are always high despite of the times we are living in.
During the lockdown, the number of innovative and exciting associations and initiatives undertaken by Big FM have been on a steady rise thereby ensuring we compellingly reach out to our audience and build a strong listenership base.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new business opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models … What sort of innovation has or will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to your brand?
We were amongst the first brands to seamlessly move to a work from home set up and we continue to do so to date. To help our listeners be informed and aware, we launched multiple campaigns such as Dilli Ke Dhakad, De kh Kahi Yeh Fake Toh Nahi, and V the Warriors to eliminate fear and spread positivity during the lockdown. We also introduced the property, Big Café Online, through which our listeners can enjoy a concert every day from the comforts of their homes just by tuning in to BIG FM.
We leveraged the powerful IPs that we have built over the years through an exclusive deal with the global streaming platform Spotify where users have access to some of BIG FM’s marquee shows and properties. With an objective to keep the workplace motivated, we also started the ‘Onward & Upward – BIG Morning Show’ within the firm which sees leaders from within the radio network and from the industry conducting sessions for employees providing them insights and guidance. Our RJs have been hosting shows from their homes using their sound equipment systems connected via VPN and thus been able to engage with our listeners daily and keep them motivated while entertaining them.
We have few more plans in the pipeline, announcement about which will be made soon!
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown? Understandably bringing advertisers back to you would be difficult… What will be the objective of the marketing strategy?
Even if the lockdown ends, it will only be right for people to continue practicing social distancing. As a responsible brand, we will continue to stress its importance in each of our thought-led initiatives and campaigns till required.
The radio industry surely has been affected by the cut in ad spends by advertisers including the government. Hence, the marketing strategy will surely emphasise on getting the advertisers on board through various associations and partnerships. Big FM has over 20+ platform partnerships with a potential reach of 15 crores that advertisers can ride on to get very high local reach with a 360-degree amplification of their message. We also have a platform like ‘BuyAdsOnBIGFM.com’ well in place that helps advertisers run their operations smoothly. This one-of-a-kind platform enables them to associate with us and book ads at the mere click of a button.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
To ensure teams are motivated, in these testing times, we launched the ‘Onward & Upward – The Big FM Morning Show -Lockdown series’.These1-hour sessions are conducted every morning and features a renowned business leader from within the network and from different industries where they discuss the various aspects of how to propel the business to greater heights. We recently kickstarted Season 2 of the series where the focus is on recovery and restarting of the business and the economy at large. These highly informative and interactive sessions which are conducted over google meet are attended by 200+ BIG FM employees. We are also constantly in touch with our employees to understand their concerns if any and help them in the best possible manner.
On a personal level, spending time with my family has kept me most positive. This lockdown sure has given us some extra time at hand to reach out to our loved ones and ensure they are healthy, physically and mentally. Also doing some really amazing work at the professional front has been quite rewarding.
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track or at least get it in the right direction and also create demand for yourself?
Once things get back to normal in a post-lockdown world, we do see the trust and credibility of brands becoming even more crucial. To cope in such a scenario, brands would be required to innovate, be agile, flexible, and willing to work out win-win solutions. It will be imperative for brands to embrace technology and become digital first organizations. Thus, Radio coupled with Digital will be the new normal for radio. We are taking significant steps towards evolving into an audio entertainment company and all our plans are in line with this. Being a completely free-to-air medium that’s immensely credible and also instantly available to the masses 24X7, radio will be the perfect companion for brands and partners in the new world.