Emotionally Branding Your Radio Station
Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media
Branding is not only about ubiquity, visibility, and functions; it’s about bonding emotionally with listeners. Only when your station kindles an emotional dialogue with listeners, can your radio station qualify as a brand. Listeners want to deal with radio stations that are responsive and sensitive to their unique needs. When effectively executed, “branding” increases a radio station’s market share and profitability by leveraging awareness while clearly positioning the station. In layman’s terms: to attract listeners, Program Directors must think like listeners.
For branding to be truly effective, radio stations have to feel & sound dead-on with their listener’s expectations. The correct mixture of language, sounds and expressions will accomplish this. You need to stand for something to stand out from the crowd. Radio stations must become strong brands. It’s termed a culture: a set of beliefs and expectations celebrated and enjoyed every day. A distinctive experience listeners want to become part of.
As radio’s background has changed so dramatically in the new millennium with the advent of listening options such as internet radio, satellite, HD, or tablets and smartphones, the audience must care about what is said. It has to matter to them. It has to touch their lives in some significant way. As we are in the middle part of the second decade of the new millennium, broadcast radio (the original portable medium), persists dominance in spite of newer, aggressive audio technologies.
The fact that you can listen to radio while doing something else is a reason it maintains its popularity. Radio can never stop innovating. That will become its death knell. For your radio station to be very successful, you must constantly anticipate new developments and freshen your productivity.
Make sure your station has a unique USP in your market that draws listeners and keeps them entertained. Establish your brand and maintain a high quality. Remember, perception is reality. If and how long people tune into your station mainly depends on their impression of your station—your image—which is based on previous listening experiences. Develop positive brand images with the listener!
Keep transforming your radio station. Try and anticipate where the market will be, say, five years from now. Don’t make many moves that will distort your audience and damage your brand. Invest in talent development and coaching while searching for tomorrow’s radio personalities. Give fresh talents a chance but make sure they relate to your stations target audience. Make sure your radio personalities are natural storytellers. Great storytellers make a nice story great by the way they present it.
Build distinctive and familiar brands. Create a brand for your radio station where people feel at home, through imaging, marketing and events. You’re more than just a radio station; you’re a brand! Create a brand that your audience can relate to and knows what to expect. This goes way beyond music. It’s about a shared feeling. Radio is a great medium to embrace new developments.
Apply innovation to the complete output of your station, from programming to marketing.
Now that the music industry’s impact has deteriorated—record companies are not the only jumpstart for talent: with radio and social media combined, you can create an enormously important and fun place to work by branding your station as the place that plays the latest music. Music discovery is still dominated by radio, although teens now turn to YouTube and I Tunes to discover new music.
Most radio programmers agree that constant innovation, familiar brands & shared emotion are key to secure radio’s future in today’s social media world. The technology and content behind radio offers all the possibilities in the world. Radio is immediate, live and fast. The final conclusion? Radio brands will remain to thrive on emotion and a personal relation with the listener.