10 years. Honestly, it was a coincidence that somewhere into this project we realized it’s been a 10-year journey for our brand this 2020. From being a B2B entertainment company, to going B2C as the first audio streaming service for South Asians to foraying into original content and becoming one of the largest consumer platforms in the world, it’s been a story few brands get to live through in their lifetime. At every stage, brands don’t just evolve in what they do, who they serve – they evolve in who they are. The brand is a living organism.
A Pandemic, self-reflection and Brand 2.0
Fast forward to April 2020. A strange time to say the least. We, along with numerous people around the world, were learning what it meant to wake up, open your laptop and be at work (if only we had a cent for every time someone said ‘new normal’!). This was the start of what would be one of the most disruptive years of our collective lives. As disruptive as it was though, there was one common thread to all our experiences in these early days. It was this urge to self-reflect. Whether it was about finally getting into the habit of working out or picking up a new skill – everyone was self-reflecting. Including us, as a brand.
Brand 2.0, as it would come to be called, started off as an internal-dialogue. It would snowball into one of the most ambitious research and brand strategy projects we’ve undertaken in our brand building journey so far.
To Listen is to Learn
It goes without saying, for a brand to communicate better to its audience, it first needs to listen. For us, it began with talking to a cross-section of our teams who worked at JioSaavn for varying durations, the people that live and breathe the brand. Including a cohort of internal stakeholders isn’t typical in a project of this kind but we felt it was necessary. Brands need to communicate with authenticity in order to truly connect with it’s audiences (a report by HubSpot goes as far as to say that 86% of consumers prefer an authentic and honest brand personality). This is perhaps where an internal study plays the most crucial role. The feedback was fascinating and inspiring. Much of what we learnt here would go on to define our brand’s personality and voice
Next, we wanted to speak to our users. This was perhaps the most challenging phase of the project. Conducting a thorough consumer research in the middle of lockdown is not for the faint-hearted. We knew we had to get creative. It was important to not let a pre-existing (read pre-covid) notion of perfect get in the way of improvising and adapting to the times we live in – one of the most valuable lessons we’ve learnt this year.
Through multiple video call group discussions, 1:1 phone calls and emails our teams spoke to hundreds of listeners across tier 1, 2 and 3 cities of India and major diaspora pockets in the US. Our goal wasn’t just to understand what they wanted in a music app or what they thought of JioSaavn or what it had to offer. Sure, this was important to ask and we did but perhaps the most rewarding part of this stage of the project was understanding the human relation we share with music and the products we choose to use. These were some of the most important things we learnt in the process:
- A music app satisfies varying levels of fundamental needs.
- Reliability (i.e. wide catalog, being well organised etc.), while being the foundation of all these needs is the one associated with the least amount of weightage. Having the most number of songs, most number of playlists or most number of podcasts means very little.
- Convenience weighs slightly higher (ease of use, intuitiveness) but thoughtfulness is where brand love in built (curation and recommendations)
- We see our relationship with music in human terms. Unequivocally, participants in the study saw music as a companion. It is a formless entity that we attribute human qualities to.
- Music brands that satisfy higher order needs better tend to have higher NPS scores (a metric that measures the likelihood of a person recommending a brand to someone).
Defining JioSaavn Brand 2.0
Data is great. But actionable initiatives are better. The research phase of the project went on for about 2 months and was designed to primarily help us develop our Brand Key – a foundational document that would help define our core brand identity that would be used to translate our brand to our various audiences across consumer, creators, advertisers and employees and employees and at every touchpoint – mobile, desktop, emails, notification, social media, ads.
Given the extensive reach of our band and the many teams that contribute to bringing it to life, we approached defining our brand in collaboration with stakeholders across the company. We knew it would take longer but we also knew that if we worked alone we might go fast but if we worked together we’d go far. In the truest sense, we wanted to embody our new tagline – Move Together.
Bringing Brand 2.0 to Life
Several debates, video calls and slack polls later – we arrived at our Brand Key. Projects of this nature can sometimes become philosophical or even esoteric. But, they are in fact very much a driver of real world results. It is a driver of brand equity. How much equity can it drive though? That comes down to implementation. A study in Forbes showed that brands that have one voice in the way they communicate that could increase their net revenue by up to 23%. Another study published by Demand Metric suggests uniformly presented brands are 3.5 times more visible to consumers. For us, getting implementation right meant 2 things:
- Translating our brand identity into a visual identity and voice that stands the test of time – to be able to work across touchpoints and relatable in over 16 languages (you can read more about our visual rebrand in this blog post by our VP of Design, Leeann Sheely).
- Our marketing vertical and channel teams implementing Brand 2.0 in their roadmap
Although the project is nearing an end, in many ways our Brand 2.0 journey has just begun. Starting today, millions of listeners across the globe will experience a new and evolved JioSaavn. Where this project differs from most rebrands is that we didn’t only reflect on the ‘what’. We have reflected on the ‘how’. Brand 2.0 is our promise to never stop evolving.
Akhila & Simmi