Being a celebrity in India can get pretty close to being God. Every brand manager in this market knows that the right movie star or cricket icon can cut through the numbers and breathe divine uplift into the sales chart. It’s no surprise then that endorsement is a brand’s biggest decision. A voluminous amount of research goes into identifying the best fit. And a still larger amount of money goes into closing the deal. While there is much interest around celebrity impact, not enough attention is paid to other forms of endorsement. The wrong radio jockey or RJ for instance could easily undo years of brand building.
Behind the growing importance of the RJ lies the growing importance of Radio FM in India. FM is now set to reach more towns than TV. At a much lesser cost with a stronger local connect. With the government determined to regulate TV advertising time, marketers will count on radio to reach the required numbers. But the industry is still unprepared. Tools for scientific radio planning do not exist.
Though limited, the numbers still told LodestarUM that RJ’s were the superstars of the FM age. Listenership data revealed that top RJ’s commanded over 85% loyalty among listeners, far higher than that of the top rated TV shows.
LodestarUM knew that social media had made RJ’s more accessible to listeners, turning them into real life friends. FM stations had already latched onto this trend, projecting RJ’s as faces of the station and segmenting listeners by RJ personality.
LodestarUM analysed social data to gauge the dimensions of listener engagement with RJ’s. The outcome was RJ Matrix – a tool that applied RJ engagement to achieve brand goals. The tool was based on a five-stage model.
Social listening tools Explic8 and Sysomos provided the building blocks of RJ personality as perceived by listeners. By the end of Stage 1, they had a unique RJ personality map for each city.
Listenership data was analysed for engrossment, addiction, exclusivity and appeal to develop a RJ Connect score in Stage 2. Advertiser spends on radio were classified into four types based on goals – Rational benefit, Call to action, Image and Announcement in Stage 3.
The objective behind Stage 4 was to map advertiser activity on radio against RJ personality and connect score using factor analysis to narrow down the most relevant attributes. For the first time LodestarUM had best fit RJ personality drivers for each kind of FM activity. For instance ‘Rational benefit’ activity was aligned to RJ’s who were ‘expert’, ‘well informed’, ‘intelligent’, ‘serious’ and had ‘high’ connect. Regression techniques were used to quantify the relationship in Stage 5.
Brand personality also had an impact on RJ fit. Both Nerolac Impressions (an interior paints brand) and Coke enjoyed well established and distinct imagery that led to different sets of RJ’s even for similar campaigns.
The challenge before RJ Matrix was to drive the ‘world’s cheapest car’ the Tata Nano into Indian hearts. Considering that it had almost been written off at that point, it was a considerable challenge.
What was the perception makeover that the Nano sorely needed? It found the answer in ‘Trust’, a value that was an integral part of the Nano, drawn from the long standing relationship the client shared with Indian consumers. RJ’s with a high ‘trust’ quotient were identified in each Nano market. Besides on air endorsement we had these RJ’s step out of the studio and into the street to spread ‘trust’ appeal for the Nano.
As ‘Trust’ was an attribute the Nano shared with other auto brands in the client’s portfolio, it was possible to leverage synergies through smart scheduling that maintained high levels of ‘Trust’ all through the buying seasons.
RJ Matrix not only unlocked the secret of engagement for Nano but also generated incremental sales. Nano became the first auto brand in India to get 3.8 million Facebook fans. 10,000 bookings were recorded even before the launch.
The real surprise was that even a smaller MUV brand in the client’s portfolio the Aria achieved 58% growth riding on Nano’s ‘Trust’ wave.