Zee’s progressive outlook for 2015

MUMBAI: As we gear to celebrate the ‘Happy New Year’, Hindi general entertainment channel Zee TV is looking for some changes.  It was on 14 December when viewers got to witness the channel sporting a new look which was unveiled at the Zee Rishtey Awards.

With the new tagline 'Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed', the channel aims to capture the beauty of re-discovering a new ray of hope with every moment of life. Along with the new brand identity, Zee has also donned a fresh look with a new logo.

It was in 2011 when the channel rolled out its new tagline 'Umeed Se Saje Zindagi', to which ZEEL MD and CEO Punit Goenka said that the company's objective was to take forward a progressive outlook.

While the previous slogan resonated with the content across Zee TV's primetime shows, the new one’s core objective, according to Zee TV business head Pradeep Hejmadi is to get an audience that can contextualise all the shows in Zee’s environment. “Today what tends to happen when you pretext a context, audiences turn around and say ‘This can happen on any channel’. To us, it clearly tells us that most of the channels have not been able to very clearly define what you should expect and what you should not. That is important when your space is well-defined by the audience.”

For the channel, it was important to create a proper mind space and then articulate it nicely. “Once the canvas is set then filling up the balance part of the painting is not very difficult,” asserts Hejmadi.

Journey of six months...

As an on-going exercise, the channel does brand equity measurement every quarter. Moreover, it also does regular interactions with the audiences on a daily basis for variety of shows and also for general brand conversations.

On the brand, what the channel observed and heard clearly from the audiences was ‘Umeed Se Saje Zindagi’, which over a period of time, received decent responses. “It had literally celebrated life around umeed and its proposition of saying that ‘Our life becomes beautiful when there is hope’ was something that the audiences felt really nice about,” says Hejmadi. “What we were delivering through our shows was clearly umeed in different forms and authors, in different situations.”

However, Hejmadi believes that there was a need for a shift from ‘Umeed’ to ‘Har Lamha’ because though the earlier brand proposition was not irrelevant but it was not sharpening any further for an audience to find relevance on an on-going basis.

Hejmadi feels that this was the relevant next step. “Typically, any brand when feels that its proposition has been acknowledged, but is not giving them the kind of competitive advantage that one would like, it tends to recraft its communication and takes a step forward.”

How it all began? The channel was brainstorming for nearly six months to get the right proposition in place. The research highlighted the various routes of communication to positioning line, what is valid and what will stay valid, what is flexible and inflexible if the channel can adopt and what can the channel do creatively with different things.

Campaigns cracked quickly, comes the quick reply from Hejmadi. “It is just that the right creative person has to have the right strength of coffee to come up with a kickass idea. That happened in one day.”

The new packaging for the channel has been designed and developed by Paris-headquartered design studio Les Telecreateurs. Zee Entertainment's creative agency FCB Ulka crafted the advertising campaign, the music for which has been rendered by music director duo Salim Sulaiman.

The new design dons a deeper shade of blue, as opposed to the erstwhile aqua blue, symbolising a "stronger, more dynamic edge."

Further, weekday fiction shows are represented by a "strong" shade of blue (which captures the faith and trust of Zee's loyalists) and weekend fiction shows are represented by the colour yellow (which stands for warmth and optimism). Orange stands for weekend non-fiction (symbolising cheer, confidence and celebration), and the red packaging stands for movies and events (capturing both, excitement and youthful energy).

Hejmadi feels that the new motif of the packaging is a spinning top, originally derived from the left top portion of the 'Z' itself. It spins, taking the form of a beautiful flower-like element. Here, each spine is perceived as a new lamha; every show of Zee TV is a new lamha, a new emotion, a new sense of exuberance, a new cherishable moment. And from this thought stems the new brand slogan 'Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed'.

The channels tested what are the associations with the softer blue versus the brighter blue logo. It clearly witnessed that the brighter blue logo was playing out as a lot more assertive, positive and younger. “We wanted to make it a lot more personal.”

In umeed... the channel was celebrating hope as part of its lives and now with the new identity, in every moment there is a new hope that Zee TV will bring to the audiences’ table. Whether it is with Darpan’s pursuit of happiness and journey of hope in Bandhan or Sid’s journey in Jamai Raja or Urmi’s trials and tribulations in Doli Armaanon Ki.

Will one see more progressive shows on the channel? Hejmadi feels that the new identity gives them a very interesting fabric to play with programming point of view. “In the current year there was a vision of how we wanted to craft our primetime shows and we have executed that. Now with the brand context very clear, we will think of building more interactivity and dialogue with the audience.”

The channel will explore different kinds of content and lamhas which are yet unexplored. “Currently we are populating the campus with many dots, each of those dots being a different lamha. We will see which of these will turn into programming ideas or marketing initiatives.”

The marketing fever...

Zee TV has rolled out a 360-degree marketing campaign across Hindi speaking markets, to unveil this new identity. The channel has also brought on board popular music composers Salim and Sulaiman to compose an audio track to bring alive the essence of the new brand proposition.

In the days ahead, the channel will reach out to its viewers, asking them to share their "Ummeed stories", or "slices of their life that have the potential to inspire content on Zee TV, and be showcased on digital platforms."

Some of the most impressive, crowd-sourced stories will be compiled and showcased in a book that will be written by a best-selling author. Zee also plans to encourage its viewers to send videos of themselves in which they are dancing/singing to what the channel calls "an online talent repository." The best entries will be recognised and awarded, on a monthly basis.

The channel is spreading the new tagline across cities through hoardings showing its leading protagonists with their crossed fingers. According to Hejmadi, it is a universal symbol of hope. It is a symbol which instils people to instantly associate with and people who are hoping for a good/positive outcome. Moreover, it is a very easy thing for people to play out within the higher economic social classes.

He believes that from a brand idea point of view, it is a very nice way to say a lot by doing very little. “Today when you try to get too explanatory in your communication, you lose the audience. That is why we have got the picture to do the questioning and the text to do the answering.”

It is going to be a long marathon for the channel, which will run the marketing campaign in various legs. While the first was communicating the proposition; the second leg includes extending that into actual action.

Brand experts feel that channels usually go in for re-branding when they need to signal some changes as far as the inherent brand value is concerned. “However, there are other factors at work as well. In some cases, when brands get old and lose their connect with audiences, a makeover helps them get a fresh lease of life and project a more modern image. Though it’s a good move taken by the channel, how it projects itself going forward with its content will be something to watch out for,” says a brand expert.

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