Changing Listeners Minds

“Persistent stories that are true, amplified by the tribe… that’s what changes behavior.” – Seth Godin


Have you listened to some of the imaging you hear on radio? Not quite “the more you listen the more you hear,” but close. We’re so busy talking about our own perspective and our own needs, that we forget that stories, not slogans, have impact and are memorable.

We write for print, use cliches, and sound very radio. But it’s not just us. Much of what you see in TV advertising falls into the same category. But we should expect more of ourselves, we’re radio people. David Ogilvy, one of the greatest marketing people of all time, once said “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.” With that in mind, take a listen to your imaging. What kind of “image” are you looking for? Is that what you hear?

If you listen to how your fans describe your station to each other, you get insight into what’s important. The best stations find a way to reflect that self image.

Three Dimensional Marketing

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury

It’s hard to think creatively some times. We’re so set on our goal we don’t let the mind wander, we feel like there’s time to be creative, or, like most of radio’s corporate management, we don’t see the ROI in creativity. Einstein once said something to the effect that the minds who created the problem aren’t the ones who can solve the problem. And a part of the problem is that radio needs a large dose of creativity.

These advertising campaigns from one of Guy Kawasaki’s blogs not only show creativity, they show it in three dimensions, people able to think geometrically in order to create. Like all good creative solutions,their message is so simple and effective.  Like Bradbury says, they did something.

The Value Of Viral

Does your man look like me?

With that question the Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice man, launched himself into history by becoming the spokesperson for the all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube with 94 million views. Which is even more amazing when you consider that he looks just like me. Only I’m paler…and older..and not as fit…and I can’t ride a horse.

Old Spice also had eight of the top 11 most-popular videos on YouTube on July 16. In the six days following the start of Mr. Mustafa’s personalized videos, he reached more than 100 million followers.

The effort sent Old Spice to more than 80,000 Twitter followers (finally ahead of Mr. Mustafa’s own follower base of 30,000) and its Facebook fan base to 630,000. Facebook fan interaction jumped 800% since the launch of the personalized videos.

The ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, is well known for its creativity, and this isn’t the only home run they’ve slammed, but they obviously know how to engage people with creative content. They also did the Coke “happiness” video with a vending machine that seemed to be inhabited by real people. In a world where everyone likes to quote that, “Content is king,” they deliver on it instead of just talking about it.

The Wieden & Kennedy offices in Portland are designed for creativity, from basketball courts to an open, collaborative design. Clear Channel wouldn’t get it, and the Dickey’s would hate it. They’d cut the office design and the people who create, just to make the bottom line look better. But the Wieden & Kennedy people have another idea – product highly creative, innovative content, and put it into a channel where people gather, and you’ll make enough money to make the bottom line look better.

If I had to choose which option would take me into the future, I’d choose creativity and innovation. Whenever creativity meets shareholder value, creativity wins. When you have a company of people who understand that, you’re unstoppable.

Is Steve Jobs Learning From Radio?

“I think it’s a good thing that there are bloggers out there watching very closely and holding people accountable. Everyone in the news should be able to hold up to that kind of scrutiny. I’m for as much transparency in the newsgathering process as possible.” -Anderson Cooper

I am an Apple freak. Mark Ramsey once told me that if Steve Jobs had a kidney stone I’d order one in black. I like to think that I just appreciate the combination of simplicity and performance, design and function. It’s just a coincidence I’m writing this on an iPad.

But Steve Jobs recent performance on the video about the antenna problem could be the start of a serious problem. The iPhone 4 does have a problem, and it’s a big one. Maybe if it were on the Verizon network we could afford a little degradation, but it’s not. AT&T has a problem. The iPhone 4 has a problem, and all the logic and attempts to show everyone that it has a problem makes you look disingenuous. We all know there are problems. AT&T is playing catch up, and now you are too, Steve. You can’t blame the consumers for your problem (just hold it this way), any more than we can blame the listeners for radios challenge. We created out own problem, and so did you. It’s not the consumers (listeners) fault you’re having problems, and the more you try to make it so, the more ground you will lose.

Reason Not Awareness

“Baby just give me one reason – Give me just one reason why.” -Tracy Chapman

It’s challenging to change your way of thinking, especially after many years, but that’s where we are on the topic of awareness. We can’t help believing that if people were just aware of the station, or any other product for that matter, they’d listen/buy. We put our hearts and soul into the station, so we have to feel that way. You know, build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, and all that.

But through the people meter, and research, we’re seeing that people aren’t always looking around for that next great radio station, so awareness alone doesn’t motivate them after all. If we want people to listen, we have to give them a relevant reason to do so.  Awareness is only valuable when accompanied by motivation.

And that’s where it gets tricky. Most people already have a set of radio stations they use, and aren’t in the market for a new one, so our reason has to be relevant and in context with their existing choices. You have habits. From the coffee you buy to the computers you use, you get used to something, and it’s a difficult task to get you to change. The same is true of listeners, especially with something as personal as their radio stations.

The first step is to abandon the awareness thinking. Only then can we start thinking about why someone should start listening. We’ve got to give them a reason, and as Tracy Chapman says, just one reason, to switch. So it’d better be a good reason, with an emotional connection to the listener. Because people generally make choices based on emotional motivation rather than pure logic.

But that’s another story for another time. Right now, just understand the difference between awareness and reason. Being aware doesn’t motivate change, having a meaningful reason does.