With the imminent launch of one of the biggest projects to hit the SA media and marketing sector – the unveiling of radio’s new trade positioning, it’s safe to say that if there’s a medium to ‘watch’ in 2014 – it’s radio!
The project, which will undoubtedly shift the thinking around how the medium of radio is approached and used, is spearheaded by the Radio Advertising Bureau of South Africa (RAB) and has unearthed a myriad of findings, most notably reinforcing what we’ve known all along – the personal nature of radio and its ability to make a connection with an audience remains unparalleled.
1. Radio gets ‘real personal’
Following on the success of brands including FNB, we’ll see the nature of campaigns become less about bells and whistles and more about meaningful communication designed to add value. For example, instead of saying, ‘Get a credit card and you will get great rates’, brands will offer customers more functional benefits such as access to the AA and free roadside assistance. So, instead of generic product punts clients will craft more tailored messages for their customer base, with emphasis on the consumer’s passion points.
That’s because radio connects with listeners in an intimate manner. By becoming part of the conversation on air or attaching their brands to something that is already important to their market and leveraging the powerful relationship radio has with its audience, advertisers have the opportunity to unlock immense value, both emotional and financial.
2. Radio gets dramatic and emotive
Like a well-written radio spot that enables brands to stand out and creates talkablity, we’ll see an even bigger shift towards content co-creation. Brands like Standard Bank for example, who in 2013, invested in producing a radio drama to promote their products or KFC who tapped into a cultural practise with a campaign celebrating listeners’ clan names (iziduko/ izithakazelo). Listeners were actually asked to recite a sequence of their clan names on African Language Stations (ALS), proving that radio is still one of the best mediums to tell great stories, to engage people and to have conversations.
This year, 2014, will see marketers continue to use dramas and the ‘word-of-mouth’ power of radio to build campaigns that make meaningful connections to people’s lives.
3. Radio turbocharges digital
With radio right now so tied in with the social media experience, perhaps it’s also a sign that it’s finally time to lay to rest the notion that ‘the rise of digital means the death of radio’.
Radio’s understanding of its audience, coupled with its ability to create multiple touch points with its listeners means there’s incredible scope to use these platforms in a complimentary fashion. Radio is the original form of ‘social media’ in that it allows people to connect with other people and ideas in their communities, for free. Interestingly, a significant number of radio DJs feature highly on the social media lists of most influential social media users, and have a large following.
The trick in 2014 is to use each to foster the other, not to use one platform to drive to the other.
Matona Sakupwanya is the general manager of the Radio Advertising Bureau. Follow RAB on Twitter @RABSouthAfrica.