What is your ‘est’?


Whatever area of a radio station or network you are involved in, or whatever brand you work on, there is a question that you must be able to answer:

What is your brand’s ‘est?’

An ‘est’ is a simple way to identify the uniqueness of your brand. To be clear, I am not advocating uniqueness for it’s own sake, but rather ensuring you have a unique and appealing brand for a specific (and saleable) target. Playing nonstop Justin Bieber would be unique, but not particularly compelling unless your target audience is teenage girls.

Further, having an ‘est’ isn’t in itself a selling proposition, but without one (or more), you risk a lack of clarity around what your brand  stands for. It may mean that in fact you stand for nothing: not necessarily liked or disliked, rather that you are invisible. This is fatal.

So what are some real-world ‘ests’. Let’s look at the Sydney market:

  • 2Day FM is the ‘hittest’ station. They own the hit position.
  • 2GB is the ‘talkiest’ station. They own the talk position.
  • Triple M is the ‘rockiest’ station. They own the rock position.
  • Triple J is the ‘newest’ station. They own the ‘new’ position.
  • 2CH is the ‘oldest’ station. They own the oldest (music) position.

It can apply to any aspect of a brand. Love him or hate him, Kylie Sandilands is the ‘controversial-est’ personality: he gets headlines. Irrespective of what Southern Cross Austereo say publicly about recent issues with Kyle, you can bet that privately they will be expecting a strong ratings performance in breakfast as a result of the publicity.

And it applies to any size market. Let’s go north to Townsville:

  • Hot FM is the ‘hittest’ station.
  • Zinc is the ‘rockiest’ station.
  • Steve ‘Pricey’ Price is the ‘local-est’ personality in the market.

Taking a clearly defined position means accepting and embracing that you are not going to appeal to everyone. At 2GB they understand that if you’re not into talk then it’s unlikely you will listen. Triple M accept that if you don’t like rock music, then they are not the station for you. 2CH know if you aren’t a big wrap on 60’s music then you will probably listen elsewhere.

It doesn’t matter. They stand for something. They have an ‘est’. They have clarity.

Identifying your stations ‘est’ doesn’t mean it will be successful. Success will come from a robust, cohesive strategy supported by exceptional execution. An ‘est’ is simply a way to articulate whether your brand occupies, or has the chance to, a unique position.

If you are unable to identify your stations ‘est’: then it either doesn’t have one, or it hasn’t been effectively communicated. Neither option is desirable.

Dan Bradley is Executive Director of Kaizen Media; an international media, management and marketing company.

You can contact Dan here.


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