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Gaana's Prashan Agarwal tells us how the brand has tweaked its marketing strategy to fit into today’s unprecedented tim...
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Marketing in the times of COVID-19: Gaana

Gaana's Prashan Agarwal tells us how the brand has tweaked its marketing strategy to fit into today’s unprecedented tim...
  • In our latest interview series, we talk to brands to understand how they are coping with the new normal and their strategies towards navigating these difficult times.
  • In today’s interview, Prashan Agarwal, CEO of Gaana tells us how the app has seen a hike in its Monthly Active Users and a few changes in consumer behaviour that he has observed in the last month.
COVID-19 has affected every industry. Today is anything but normal. To escape from this gloomy reality, people are looking for ways to cope. While many are finding new hobbies and developing new skills, there's also been a marked behavioural change in the way people are consuming content now. Since everyone is stuck at home, a lot of people are taking their minds off all negativity by consuming content on different OTT platforms.

According to an audio OTT report by Kantar and VTION, music streaming apps have also seen a 42% increase in time spent on their platforms in March, 2020. What was otherwise a traveling activity, is now becoming an intrinsic part of people’s everyday ritual, hence shaping consumer behaviour and shifting their listenership patterns.
As per the report, audio OTT players have seen a 52% growth in listenership during the afternoons between 2-6 PM and an 80% rise in late-night listening — post-midnight till early morning.

The story is no different for Times Internet-backed music streaming app Gaana, which has seen an upsurge in its organic reach. Consumers are tuning in and out at different times across the day and from Bhajan to Chill Out songs, they are also open to exploring new genres of music.
Prashan Agarwal, CEO of Gaana further tells us how the brand has tweaked its marketing strategy to fit into today’s unprecedented times and a few measures the brand has taken to do its bit for the society.

Excerpts:

Q. What kind of changes have you observed on your platform in the last month?

As the leader in the music streaming space with more than 150 mn MAU, our organic reach has shot up significantly across all platforms including Android, iOS and the web.
We have also registered a surge in demand for pre-curated playlists that users can play in the background as they go about their daily activities. Some of our most popular playlists today - Music For Yoga, Instrumental Flute, Divine Instrumental, Unplugged Melodies, Soulful Acoustics, Chill Out and Awesome Acoustic have seen tremendous growth.

Q. What is your marketing strategy right now? How have you been trying to continue building a connection with your audience? Has there been a change in your media mix?
Consumers of varied age groups are responding to lockdown in their own different ways. This means that there is greater demand for greater variety and newer kinds of genres. Hence the focus is on greater personalization in our campaigns and showcase of the variety of content across movies and non-movies music, instrumental, devotional podcasts, comedy news, self-help etc. The media mix is dominantly moving towards digital channels to provide such personalization and diverse messaging.

Q. What are a few key learnings for you as a brand in the last few weeks?

Consumers are exploring a new kind of music and audio content, they're also doing it at newer occasions across the day creating new opportunities for brands like us. There's party music playing in the morning devotional podcasts in the evening and relaxing Zen music in the afternoons.

Q. If the lockdown is further extended, will you be tweaking your marketing strategy further?

Personalized communication and exploration of new genres and content types have been the mainstay of our media and communication mix. In the event of further extension of lockdown we believe these will continue to be even more important for the consumers. We would continue to cater to the consumer needs while also showcasing personalized recommendation on a regular basis in our campaigns.

Q. How has Gaana as a platform been making a difference in terms of spreading awareness during these adverse times?
We have partnered with leading non-profit organization Give India to provide life-saving masks to the most vulnerable sections of society during the ongoing lockdown. We are empowering our users to be able to contribute to this noble cause by streaming more music tracks on the Gaana App. We will supply around hundred thousand masks of various types to ensure the protection of such under privileged people.

COVID-19IndiaCases: 145,380Deaths: 4,167Recovered: 60,491
COVID-19WorldCases: 5.31mnDeaths: 342kRecovered: 2.23mn
COVID-19USACases: 1.59mnDeaths: 96kRecovered: 379k
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