Every medium tries to capture the leaders of tomorrow, but few have done it quite as well as 5FM. Station manager Aisha Mohamed reveals how they go about attracting and retaining the coveted youth market.
Today’s youth are probably the smartest generation ever. Never before have we seen a demographic so at home with technology, so brand aware and so bargain-savvy. They’re switched on and clued up. But they’re also self-absorbed, impatient and can lose focus easily. Whatever your business, the challenge remains to find out who are these elusive youngsters and how we keep them consuming our product for decades to come.
We’re talking about Generation Me: youthful individuals who want instant gratification and who demand customisation. They’re materialistic and self-focused. They want it all and they want it right now. The rules have changed and the name of the game, especially in radio terms, is making sure that what’s on the airwaves is both interactive and inclusive.
Content and social interaction
We have the opportunity to enhance on-air programming by using a multitude of platforms at any particular time. Radio as a medium has changed substantially over the last couple of years and listeners expect much more from it now than in the past. The medium has to be accessible and provide instant answers to questions. It needs to have stronger and more frequent interaction with its listeners. It should be a medium that gives its listeners a voice as and when they have comments to make. Hence the power of social interaction. There’s no better way to offer that much-craved accessibility and interactivity than through radio that can engage live with online platforms.
The job of good programming and marketing is to keep the attention from straying through interactive engaging content and providing a multitude of options that offer access to your content. A generation constantly online is a generation constantly multitasking.
Rules of engagement
The rules of engagement have changed and things happen at a much faster pace. With the rise of social media, everyone can now have a voice. With access to blogs, 140-character Tweets and Facebook statuses, everyone can be a ‘broadcaster’ in their own way. Building a community of listeners by being interactive and inclusive is key. The days of talking ‘at’ your listener are long gone.
Top-rated talent and radio DJs who can speak ‘to’ your listeners in a way that they can relate to is fundamental, coupled with good content and the right mixes of music. Using the lingo of your audience in a genuine and honest way, and avoiding blatant sales talk, as well as responding, acknowledging and listening to feedback, is paramount. If it feels forced and scripted, it’s disingenuous.
The power of the brand
Just as the audience or consumer are already multitasking, the presenter and producer must become adept at this. Content, engaging conversation and providing a listening experience are still king. Social media is merely a tool to enhance your core product.
The bottom line is social media isn’t a new media; it’s accepted and incorporated media that you work with, not against.
Being dynamic and willing to adapt where necessary is important in the youth market space. The world changes fast and the youthful change with it, so you either adapt or die. N
Aisha Mohamed is station manager of 5FM.
This story was first published in the October 2012 issue of The Media magazine.