5 essentials for every radio brand
In this rapidly changing media and general economic environment, I suggest there are 5 key principles for growth over the next 5 years.
1. Think of your radio brand as an app: a smartphone app has a singular, focussed purpose of great practical benefit to the user, which can be expressed in a creative, unique positioner, and adds such value to everyday life, that people are prepared to pay for it. Can you say that about your radio station? Or are you trying to be too many things to too many people, and of value to no one in particular?
2. Define your target beyond “demographics”: there’s no such thing as a 25-39 year old female, for instance. How many different life-stages are there within that group alone? For meaningful engagement, you (and your personalities) need to know your target “psychographics” of lifestyle and attitudes, to build effective brand values, marketing, and content.
3. Strategy is the Content-Content is the Strategy: listeners define you by your content. The influences of “commoditised” global hit-music on digital platforms, accelerated culture, instant gratification and short attention spans are overwhelming. To achieve true engagement, radio must deliver consistent innovation and idea-generation, for differentiation and Time-Spent-Listening. The biggest risk is not taking risks.
4. “Whole-Brain” approach to strategy: means “left-brain” numbers are a necessary foundation to understand your competitive landscape, but not enough to build and execute the strategy. You also need “right-brain” intuition, feelings and emotion to connect with listeners, think different (like Apple!) and conceptualise innovation from all sources of information. It’s not “what the numbers say”, but “what the listeners say”. Marketing neuroscience is teaching us more and more about the less obvious, but no less powerful drivers of consumer behaviour.
5. Social Media management: might seem common-sense now, but you do need a clear idea of why and what you’re trying to achieve, and then work at it, hour after hour, day by day to be effective. SM tools can be used for basic listener interaction, idea-generation, content “spike” promotion, nurturing a heavy-listener database, and brand-evangelising. And a lot more in the future.
I’ll expand on these themes in future posts, and welcome any feedback, comments or debate. The exciting potential for radio is its flexibility, to meet the ever-changing needs of listeners and clients.
Eriks Celmins is Managing Director of Third Wave Media, Adelaide-based consultant for media research, strategy and content.