Ciao '14 | Ummeed was always at the core of our proposition, says Hejmadi

Launched in 1992 against the backdrop of post-liberalization with its socio-cultural and economic upheaval, Zee TV brought a new meaning to entertainment in India. It created a revolution in entertainment broadcast technology with its content, which mirrored the common man’s life and dreams. Twenty two years later, it still stands tall as a leading player in India and the largest Indian entertainment network in the world. In an exciting development Zee TV, India’s leading Hindi entertainment channel, announced an evolution in its core proposition from ‘Ummeed Se Saje Zindagi’ to ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed.’

With this, Zee adds another layer to its core proposition, making it even more relevant to everyday life scenarios that its viewers are faced with. Zee TV’s new brand slogan ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed’ captures the beauty of re-discovering a new ray of hope with every moment of life.

To get deeper insights into the rebranding exercise, Adgully caught up with Pradeep Hejmadi, Business Head, Zee TV.

While the Channels current proposition stands as ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed,’ we are also aware of the overarching proposition “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.” Clearing the misconception Hejmadi shares, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is the proposition of the Zee corporate brand and ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed’ is the core proposition of Zee TV.”

He explains that there was a clear overlap and hence after doing an extensive research on how our brand is perceived, our look, our current on-air packaging and so on we came to a proposition of ‘Har Lamha Nayi Ummeed.’ Ummeed was always at the core of our proposition and we stuck to that in all our discussions. While our former articulation of ‘ummeed se saje zindagi’ was more of a life truth, the proposition in its current form is about finding a new ray of hope with every moment of life.

The rebranding exercise which took about six months is an outcome of many hours of brain storming with the internal team and the agencies at work on the project. He adds, “We had a design studio from France, Les Telecreateurs, that we engaged with to help us with the packaging element rendition.”

Speaking about the changes that the brand has undergone, Hejmadi tells us, “Majorly we have changed three things. One is the articulation of Ummeed in our positioning, making it more relatable to our viewers’ daily lives. Second, being the shift to a deeper shade of blue for the logo that gives the channel a more vibrant feel and a dynamic edge. Thirdly, the new the spinning top motif, 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 channel has leveraged the audience connect of the protagonists from its primetime shows to create magic on the billboards. On the media mix front, apart from billboards, the channel has taken up print ads and plans on taking up radio shortly. Hejmadi adds, “The characters that we have created are the biggest harbingers of Ummeed. We do not really need to go to a third person to sell our product. They are the best messengers of hope as they embody all that our core proposition stands for.”

When probed on any shifts in the target audience with the rebranding exercise, Hejmadi clarifies, “The larger goal has always been to be a more family inclusive channel, with something of interest to each member of the family rather than an approach that targets only a particular segment of the audience. So with weekends for instance, we  have worked out a primetime band that offers a superhero series, a light-hearted slice-of-life drama about man’s relationship with God and a non-fiction property celebrating the country’s youngest singing talent. Even during the weekdays with our fiction-line up, the manner in which we are telling our stories, creating our plots and situations, our objective is to be a lot more multi-generation inclusive.”

While the response from the agencies and stakeholders has been very encouraging, Hejmadi says, “It is a very distinctive transition made by any stakeholder in the industry so far, hence the efforts have been noticed and acknowledged.”

In continuation to the earlier context, we asked him if there is scope of an immediate increase in the channel’s ad rates; Hejmadi said, “At the end of the day, the ad rate is the function of certain parameters, so they cannot be influenced by the re-branding exercise alone. What we expect advertisers to comprehend is the kind of relationship we have built with the audience over the years. The idea is for them to see greater value in terms of the environment that we continue to create for our viewers. The brand refresh is an exercise where you define your relationship with the audience and they acknowledge it, that’s what we stand for.”

Speaking of the path ahead for brand Zee TV, Hejmadi said, “One of the key focus areas is to build a clear transactional relationship with the consumer and to constantly add value to that over a period of time. In our industry, I don’t think we should take anything for granted. So our aim is to constantly keep building our share. As we provide more variety in terms of entertaining and engaging content, we continue to build more and more appeal to our product portfolio. It simultaneously helps our cable partners.”

Sharing his thoughts on the newly formed BARC, Hejmadi said, “Very clearly, for the industry it’s a positive step. There are a lot of things which are still being finalized. There are some questions that are still unanswered and the body has probably kept it to be answered later.”

We asked him what the key milestones for the year were to which Hejmadi said, “We’ve laid more focus on our fiction crafting which has led to a very good year and we’ve had strong openings for all our fiction launches. A lot of culture revisit in terms of story shaping, concept development all of that has been a very important milestone for us.”

“The other big milestone has been development of proper weekend programming which if one looks around in the GEC space, there is barely anyone who has done a proper consistent weekend block. We have taken a focused approach towards building that. The third milestone is the learning with regards to the crafting of our non-fiction. We realized that a lot of the non-fiction formats have found it difficult to connect with the audience even though they were associated with big banners and big names. We’ve gone back to the drawing board and re- worked our strategy - Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs is one such re-invention and presentation of a concept that has done well in the past and is coming back to engage with audiences in a very different manner. We have had the courage to stop, re-assess and evaluate,” he adds.

Speaking about the trends in the GEC space in 2015, Hejmadi said, “There will be elbow room for variety in storytelling in the year ahead. In 2015, very clearly only a certain kind of treatment of fiction will emerge successful. So, it will be a deciding year that will set the tone for what kind of fiction will actually make it to the next level.”

Being the pioneer broadcaster of satellite television in India, Zee TV has always managed to stay ahead of the curve over the years. Sharing some more insights, Hejmadi tells us, “One very critical aspect of Zee’s operations has been to take a step-by-step approach in building upon one strength after the other. There is an extremely cohesive, collaborative effort between our marketing and programming teams and therein lies the key to our growth.”

On a concluding note, Hejmadi tells us that the team has enormous hunger for growth. He sees an opportunity to grow in the range of 15-20% very easily and they will clearly outpace the growth of the category. We wish them success in their endeavour. By Archit Ambekar | Twitter: @aambarchit 


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