CYBERTORIAL: “Why are you still so excited about RADIO?” The question came from a friend who has a deserved reputation for being remarkably blunt. The conversation had been circling around new media developments and in particular about the need for media communications to evolve and innovate to keep up with developing consumer lifestyles and changes in how people relate to commercial messages.
At a basic level, the little group had been bemoaning the fact that advertising avoidance is on the increase (although this is less of an issue for radio than for other media) and that this is causing marketers to consider less interruptive, more engaging forms of communication. “Is radio still relevant?”…she challenged.
It is obvious that we are seeing an important shift in advertising and that is exactly why I am so excited about radio. The big challenge facing advertisers today is to create an ongoing conversation between their brand and its consumers and then to develop this connection into a powerful relationship. This is exactly what radio is expert at and what makes it so valuable.
Radio is a personal medium and, unlike other media, it can accompany you throughout the day. This fact makes radio the ultimate local community and loyal friend. Radio is highly personalised because it requires the listener to fill in the blanks … and they are entirely in charge of what they “see”. It is this personalisation that takes place every day in a radio listener’s life.
The personalities provide the link to the community and a “local flavour”. In the past people would meet in the town square or chat over the garden fence. Local radio’s human give-and-take environment, keeps that feeling alive. Social networking is not a new tool to radio it has been its strength from the beginning.
Radio remains relevant in today’s world of time-starved consumers. It provides programming content meeting the entertainment needs of people according to their demography, geography, ethnography, etc.
Radio is everywhere, reaching consumers on-air, online and on-demand – whether they are at home, at work or in their car. It allows consumers to multi-task and listen while they work or play – essential in today’s world. It is a reach medium, delivering messages 24/7 to consumers personally, one-on-one, in an attentive environment.
It provides information as it reaches consumers closest to their time of purchase, as they drive to or from work, or even during a lunch break. When used synergistically with other media, it increases brand awareness, brand recall, and an advertiser’s ROI. In numerous studies, it has also proven to increase visits to websites and the likelihood of stimulating a purchase.
Radio’s fundamental strength continues to be the power of words and sound. With its human voice to persuade, it is a powerful branding medium. Advertisers use presenter endorsements to build trust and drive business with presenters often imparting personal experiences with the brand, on-air mentions and authentic chatter within their shows.
Unlike other media, the radio experience remains intact platform to platform – whether it is delivered on a desktop, in a car, MP3 player or cell phone. These platforms allow radio to maintain its local presence while also delivering to a national audience. New technologies are increasing and enhancing listeners radio experience through text messaging, mobile applications, time shifted listening via podcasts, word of mouth forums and other opportunities.
A revolution in the way that radio views itself, is bringing all technology and platforms together to deliver true interactivity to the masses, one person at a time. Within this world of new technology and media fragmentation, radio continues to be the first source for audio entertainment and for new music discovery (this is the reason why Apple decided to put an FM receiver in their fifth generation of iPod).
Radio offers REACH, RELEVANCE, ACCESSIBILITY, FREQUENCY, ENGAGEMENT, TRUST, AGILITY and with it, the opportunity to shift from interruption to engagement. Above and beyond this it has the ability to get advertisers close to the action, embedded into the conversation in a way other media just cannot match.
So that in short, is why I am still an evangelist for and a dedicated fan of radio.
Rivak Bunce is the managing director of United Stations.
Follow him on Twitter @RivakBunce