The COVID-19 pandemic forced brands to rethink their strategies and the radio industry was no different.
To be nominated for 12 SA Radio Awards in 2021 and then win six of them, including the coveted Commercial Radio Station of the Year award, validates Jacaranda FM’s wildly successful strategy in terms of driving greater brand experiences – on-air and beyond.
Jacaranda FM’s latest listener survey (July 2021) shows that 75% of our audience listens to the station every day.
How many brands can boast that three quarters of their audiences engage with their products/ services daily? If you think of any, they’re probably listed companies, much bigger than Jacaranda FM – but bigger brands aren’t the only ones capable of creating engaging brand experiences for audiences.
Forty percent of our listeners spend six or more hours listening to radio on a typical weekday.
Keeping our audience engaged and listening for longer is an important part of our success as a radio station. To attain this success, we focus deeply on understanding what keeps audiences coming back for more.
- First-party data: We spend a lot of time understanding our audience through first-party data and active engagement, and then use those insights to create content that is relevant to our listeners. We run a variety of surveys through our first-party data collection division, SoundInsights, where we ask our audience about their preferences. We also run polls on our online content where we ask readers their opinion on the topic at hand. All these tools allow us to create and innovate programming based on what our audience wants. Any brands not mining data (responsibly) from their consumers or audiences are missing the secret sauce that drives engagement.
- Authenticity: We also focus on being real and authentic and have built a trusting relationship with our audience, where they invite us into their daily lives to inform and entertain. Authenticity is linked to the human factor. No matter how big or small a brand, consumers feel better connected when they can resonate with a human emotion or insight.
- Consistency: Consistency has also been a key differentiator for us, with our consistent music offering and the familiarity in our line-up. Audiences are looking for brands that show up, everytime, and by offering a product that is consistent, we can drive loyalty and engagement on a consistent basis.
- Talent: Our talent plays a massive role in setting us apart. I believe in giving our presenters more freedom to make their own decisions and take charge of their shows and content. This allows them to connect with the audiences and engage in conversations that are relevant to them. Trust the people who make up your team, give them space to contribute in their way, and encourage diversity in how you approach your brand.
- Balance: During the pandemic, Jacaranda FM provided solace for our listeners. We decided early on to position ourselves as a safe space where our audiences can come to for reliable information, but also for a break from all the uncertainty. We actively sought to cure the doom and gloom with entertaining and innovative content during the shows and focus on super accurate and hyper local news to inform our listeners at the top of the hour.
- Lead the need: We’ve always been plugged into our communities and with the pandemic we focused on community critical needs. Understand WHO you’re talking to and WHAT they are feeling or going through. If your brand can help these audiences with a direct need – that’s where you can demonstrate real connection and engage with consumers beyond the transaction.
Brands that show up authentically and keep the consumer central to all decisions, will not only survive – but thrive in a world where consumers are more vocal than ever before about what they need and want from modern brands.
Hennie Myburgh is head of programming and content at Jacaranda FM.
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