Zee Entertainment Enterprises’ FTA (free-to-air) channels Zee Bangla and Zee Biskope, are looking to connect with the audience at a grassroot level. For this, the channels are taking a local-first approach, and have rolled out campaigns and AI-enabled marketing initiatives with a regional flavour.
Campaign India caught up with Samrat Ghosh, cluster business head, Zee Bangla and Zee Bangla Cinema, and Amarpreet Singh Saini, chief channel officer, Zee Ganga and Zee Biskope, to know more about how they chalk out their marketing initiatives, how marketers should approach their clusters and the brand building strategies they employ to garner more eyeballs.
How do Zee Entertainment's FTA channels provide a local spin to its marketing initiatives?
Ghosh: Zee Entertainment is rooted in the core philosophy and underlying culture of customer-centricity. We go on-ground to the various cohorts we need to reach out to and interact with them to gain insights.Then we plough these insights back into how we market our content and contextualise our product design. Our marketing initiatives are a blend of topicality and the culture of that particular region.
Zee has won awards for its AI-powered campaign curated for Valentine's Day that enabled consumers to reach out to their consumers. Are consumers in regional markets adaptive to such meta initiatives?
Ghosh: We have been able to leverage our technological innovations on the back of our country's telecom penetration. With 5G getting rolled out, the user's experience with telecom is going to get enhanced. Today, we are aware of user-generated content on platforms and are well into this transition. It is a myth that tier 2-3 areas are not well versed in technology.
Saini: When we launched some of our marketing engagement initiatives, the idea was to try something new and tech-oriented but somehow stay embedded in the regional aspect of that particular market. The marriage of consumer centricity and our innovations in AI has brought Bhojpuri content across markets.
Are we seeing more advertising created for the regional audience, or are they still rolling out language adapts of national TVCs?
Ghosh: At a brand philosophy level, we aim to be a brand of relevance. It is the same for our advertisers. They have realised that if they need to create an impact, the national spillover effect on regional channels will no longer hold. Today, if we want to reach out to a consumer, we do so through regional language content. More than that, it is about contextualising the content. It offers cultural relevance, brand loyalty, and engagement. Being with a regional brand gives marketers the ability to co-create, as well as compliment their brand philosophy.
In the lead-up to Durga Puja, has there been more advertising interest in Zee Bangla?
Ghosh: There are two sets of advertisers. One of the two advertises all year long and enhances its budget investments during Durga Puja. The second set comprises seasonal clients, that express interest and are active only during the festive season. In the West Bengal market, the majority of yearly sales take place during the festive season. As Durga Puja received the UNESCO world heritage recognition title in 2021, the celebration is scaled up this year. This is why there has been more participation from brands. Paint, retail, and automobile as a category get active during the Durga Puja period.
Could you share some insight behind Zee Bangla’s campaigns for this year’s festivities?
Ghosh: We created different brand films conceptualised by our in-house team and L&K Saatchi & Saatchi. Bengal is known for its inclusivity culture, and that is what we wanted to showcase in these films.
In one of the brand films, we aimed to break gender stereotypes. When the statue of Durga is carried to the pandal (a temporary structure for prayers and celebration), it is traditionally done by men. But in our brand film, we have showcased women carrying the statue to the pandal. Even during the prayers conducted, normally, the women are in charge of the aarti (prayers). However, in our film, we have featured our male protagonist worshipping and doing the aarti.
With the films, we are also abolishing the caste and social-nomadic divide. In one of the brand films, we have shown that the daaki’s (a member of the band) son is equally excited in terms of celebrating Durga Puja, but isn’t able to do so because of his financial crisis. The owner of the house gives the daaki's son a kurta and takes him along, for the puja and celebrations.
Barring the festive season, what kind of brand interest do Zee Bangla and Zee Biskope receive?
Ghosh: The Bengal adex is robust, mainly because of the sheer population and cultural connect. Whether it's Odisha, Jharkhand or Bengal, regional markets have become important to advertisers.
Saini: For Zee Biskope, FMCG remains the biggest contributor. Apart from that, during the pandemic and post-pandemic, we have seen the emergence of tech as a category.
What are the core brand-building strategies for an FTA channel?
Ghosh: The core factors we keep in mind for our brand initiatives are business objectives, scalability of the marketing initiatives rolled out, measurability of our campaigns, ROI, and lastly, bringing the brand closer to the consumer's heart by staying relevant.