Are You a Commodity or a Brand?

 In Blog

Your show or podcast is either a commodity or a brand.

Commodities are perceived by consumers to be the same as the other products or services in that category. Gasoline is a commodity. Even when gas prices are low, we buy it strictly on price. There is little to no loyalty to Shell, ExxonMobil, etc.

In the minds of listeners, generic shows without personality, cultural relevance, or differentiation are commodities with little value.

Recently, a top industry executive asked me what percentage of winning radio stations utilize bowtie stop sets (placing commercial clusters across quarter-hours). My reply: “Almost all PPM market stations use bowtie commercial placement to maximize the potential of getting five minutes within a quarter-hour to get credit in Nielsen. Stations utilizing bow ties run the gamut of winners and losers. They make little difference in ratings if the station lacks effective branding, great content, and execution.”

Tactics like contesting and Nielsen clock games are a form of commodities since multitudes of stations employ them. They have either minimal or temporary ratings impact. In the case of contesting, the effect is inconsistent, and listening usually declines immediately when the contest ends.

Brands have a trusting relationship with listeners. They choose you because they relate to you, they know you and they like you. Brands enjoy long-term listener loyalty that transcends short-term tactics.

In a recent Forbes article, Nielsen CMO Jamie Moldafsky points out the importance of being clear on your core brand values and communicating them to your audience. The syndicated Bert Show is exemplary in conveying their brand essence: Real. Funny.

The Bert Show consistently illustrates these two brand characteristics across all platforms and by highlighting clips of the characters being real sharing their viewpoints, stories, quirks, and flaws as well as funny moments.

Relationships thrive on interactions. Since we’re an audio medium, listener interactions must go beyond the ease of social media and texting. Make it a priority to work harder talking with listeners on the phone for the benefit of more entertainment and emotion.

Today, successful brands stand for something bigger than their show. During the holiday season, many shows around North America are making a difference, like Star 101.5 Seattle’s Moug and Angie’s Toy Drive and New Country 103.1 West Palm Beach’s Tim and Chelsea’s Friends Feeding Friends.

Your show, podcast, and radio station are competing on a worldwide stage where listeners have a dizzying array of choices. To stand out as a brand, it comes down to four factors:

  1. Be clear on what your brand stands for
  2. Have a trusting relationship with your listeners
  3. Create relevant and innovative content
  4. Highlight your brand’s uniqueness

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