Haters gonna hate

Successful brands, irrespective of whether they are radio stations, breakfast shows or in any other category, are bold and unapologetic about who and what they are.

They understand that to be successful means, amongst other things, ensuring that you are distinctive enough so that a segment of the audience dislikes  what you do.

You don’t like rock music? You’re unlikely to listen to Triple M, and they won’t care.

You dislike softer music? Smooth isn’t for you, and they’ll be fine with that.

Think Alan Jones is over-opinionated and biased? 2GB aren’t losing any sleep over it.

Not only will the brands above not care, but the fact that some people dislike what they stand for is an indication that they’ve achieved clarity around their brand position, and that is a real positive.

And the principles apply to any category.

James Blunt has made an art-form of engaging with twitter trolls who dislike his music, and he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

In order to be a successful brand you need to ensure people ‘feel’ something about you. It doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad (well to a point), but the worst thing people can feel towards you is indifference.

In Hawthorn (Melbourne) there is a bar called Nevermind.

Nevermind is a local institution, a kind of rite of passage for 20-somethings, and it has been around for a long time. It’s the kind of uber-cool, city fringe bar that even if locals haven’t been to, they all know what, and where it is.

Kind of like me. I live a couple of suburbs away, and whilst I’m aware of Nevermind, I’ve only been there the one time so I’m certainly not a regular visitor.

However Nevermind clearly understands that in the crowded ‘bar’ category their brand needs to stand out from the others, and stand clearly for something.

Nevermind has this sign in the window, right next to the front door to the bar.


Every line says something about the Nevermind brand, and how they wish to be perceived. And every complaint, by presumably somebody who is unlikely to come back, reinforces the relationship their core fans have with the bar and why they love it.

It is smart branding.

And it is wrapped up perfectly with the tagline: ‘come and see why 7% of people don’t like us’.

To be clear, I’m not saying as a radio show, or station, you should set out to offend.

But you just can’t be bland. For fans to love what you stand for, and who you are, sometimes you need to do things that a segment of the audience will dislike….at times passionately.

Because when you’re building a brand; whether it’s a radio station, a breakfast show, or any other brand in any other category; the ones who are dislike what you do are as important as the ones who love you.

It’s the middle of the road indifference that will condemn you to be ignored.


Dan Bradley is Executive Director of Kaizen Media; a boutique international radio consulting and artist management company, working with radio stations, media talent and music artists.

You can contact Dan here.



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