“Stand By Your Brand”

Stand By Your Brand


“Make   one point.”

“Make   it simply.”

“Make   it something worth listening to.”

Sounds easy, doesn’t   it? Find out what people want and give it to them. A recipe for success!   Unfortunately, most radio stations are anything but simple. In my travels as   a consultant, it’s amazing the number of stations that make listeners jump   through hoops to listen. Too much ‘clutter’ in stop sets and too many   positioners. Confusion for the listener is a recipe for disaster!

We need to start   thinking of our listeners as “customers.” The better we’re able to   understand how our listeners “consume” our product, the better   we’ll be able to market, package and produce a product acceptable to the   marketplace. In essence, programmers need to become ‘brand managers’ of their   radio stations.

We live in an over   communicated society. For a radio station to succeed in such a crowded   environment, the station must create a position in the listener’s mind. That   position must take into account not only your station’s own strengths and   weaknesses, but those of the competition as well. When we think of computers,   most people think of IBM. But IBM didn’t invent the computer. Sperry-Rand   did. IBM was the first company to build a computer position in the mind of   the consumer. Radio needs to do the same thing! Build a position in the   listener’s mind that you’re a station with instant top-of-mind awareness.

Two types of   customers

Radio is unique in   that it has two types of customers; listeners and advertisers. Most companies   don’t suffer from that phenomenon. Their customers are their customers. Radio   has to ‘sell’ it’s product to listeners on a daily basis. As the marketplace   becomes even more fragmented with iPods, Internet radio, mp3’s, CD’s,   satellite and now HD radio, it’s the “brands” that people remember—the   thing that makes it comfortable for people to go out and buy or listen to.

The radio dial is   filled with more choices than ever before. Listeners are consuming our   product on a daily basis. You better be able to stand out in the crowd! The primary   reason to create a great product is to create great revenue. The better the   product serves and entertains the target listener, the better the opportunity   to increase ratings and revenue!

Building Brand   Loyalty

Brand loyalty is the   Holy Grail for all brand marketers. It’s a lot of hard work to establish and   maintain that relationship. There is a reward, and it’s given to radio   stations that develop a successful consumer product relationship with the   listener. As programmers, we need to connect with people and develop a sense   of ‘satisfaction’ the listener can embrace. We need to know and understand   listeners’ beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of our station. We’re supposed   to be in the entertainment business; let’s capture their imagination. Be Creative!  

Entertainment   Value

Most of the ‘fun’ has   gone out of the radio business. It’s become too homogenized, formulated and   computerized, not to mention centralized. Radio needs to bring back the ‘art’   and ‘fun’ radio once enjoyed. That all plays into building a brand:

1. To create a brand   we must create a unique brand identity communicating your benefits.

2. Once the identity   is established, we need to build awareness of that brand.

3. Create ‘brand   loyalty.’


Brands live in a   highly competitive world. A brand may stand apart, but rarely does it stand   alone. Your brand needs to push against commonality, driving a wedge between   itself and your competitors. You must become a category of one. Miller   Brewing accomplished this by hitting on a unique brand concept: “Tastes   Great, Less Filling.” Miller Lite found a way to appeal to the rational   and emotional sides of beer drinkers at the same time: only Miller Lite could   claim to be lower in calories (rational) while offering the taste beer   drinkers wanted (emotional). Your radio station needs to accomplish the very   same thing.

Over-Simplify Your   Message The most effective approach to take in our over communicated society   is the over-simplified message. Less is more. We need to sharpen our message   to cut through the clutter. Jettison the ambiguities, simplify the message,   and then simplify it even more. That way, you’ll make a long-lasting   memorable impression. Do you really think listeners believe we’re playing   “a better mix of music?” Better than what, my iPod?

Drop the things you   can’t brag about. Do what you do best, forget about the rest. Cut the crap   and focus on making your strengths stronger! Stop insulting your listener   with meaningless phrases they don’t believe. Relate to your audience. Find   out what your strengths are and master them. Doing so builds a solid   reputation and a following. Become known for doing great work in some area   rather than good work in a lot of areas.

You Look Marvelous

It’s important to   come up with a signature style. Producer Phil Spector was sought out in the   60’s by the Beatles and Rolling Stones for his unique “Wall of   Sound.” His track record included producing such hits as “Be My   Baby” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by creating a   dense, complex, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink” type of sound. He   mastered what he did and people wanted to work with him.

Come up with a strong   theme. Do your best to be entertaining, thought-provoking and memorable.   Develop bits that the audience will enjoy and remember. This will become your   signature that no one in your market will be able to copy. Listeners don’t   know what they like but like what they know. Brand yourself in a way the   audience can relate and embrace, and that recipe for disaster will soon be   the ingredient for success!


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