(By Dick Kalt) I can’t tell you how many times I hear personality product endorsements on the radio and ask myself, Why I should believe them? Now that kind of statement may sound strange coming from someone with a company that specializes in leveraging the strength of local radio personalities to deliver “personal” brand messages. But hear me out.
More and more brands are using personality endorsements, and while there is plenty of research to show that they can be more effective than a spot, after a
while they can begin to sound like the spot they’re intended to replace — especially when they are scripted, contain no personal storytelling, and are delivered in a lackluster way that makes you wonder whether the personality even knows what the product looks like.
Endorsers should be required to use the product before they talk about it, working from brand points but improvising the delivery so the resulting endorsements are credible to the listener.
It’s no secret that local radio personalities have an edge with listeners when they speak with them and not at them. But not even the best personality endorser is the right fit for every product; if listeners don’t believe an endorser would use a product, they won’t believe what the endorser says about it. And endorsements of too many products from one personality can also lead to listener skepticism. It’s important to remember that when people want to know more about a product, they have many sources to go to, the most effective being their own family and friends.
So how does a radio personality break through the testimonial clutter and connect, particularly with younger listeners, in a credible way? Maybe it’s not the lead personality who does the endorsement, but a sidekick. Think about it: As a local celebrity, a personality is elevated in the minds of the listeners; more credibility may in fact be heard in the words of someone who is perceived by listeners as a peer.
It may be more effective in some cases to use ensemble members and station staff as endorsers, as long as they are people who relate to the most likely buyers of the product. Let them tell listeners how much they like the product and why. The result feels more like peer-topeer communication, like going online and asking your friends for recommendations — regular people speaking in a regular tone with honesty, neither overdoing it nor mailing it in.
Ask yourself: Would Kim Kardashian’s recommendations be stronger than those of friends you know and trust?
When executing endorsements, take these six steps to make them work successfully for the client:
- Match the product to the person on your staff who is most likely to use it and who identifies with the kind of listener who would be a perfect new buyer.
- Consider using sidekicks for relatability, increasing authenticity.
- Invite listeners to go to your website or social media page to express their own feelings about the product being endorsed.
- Ask listeners’ permission to use their name and comments on the air when they give their endorsements.
- If you have particularly glowing testimonials showing up, invite the listener to be recorded and the audio possibly used on the air or on your digital assets.
- Give your listeners a platform to tell other listeners what they like and why.
The goal is to sell products through the strength of your connection to your listeners. Adding sidekicks and other staff at your station only makes that connection stronger. The secret sauce here is involving your listeners in the process. That’s connecting with your base, increasing traffic to your digital assets, and getting more exposure for your client. When coupled with the words of your personalities, the impact is magnified even more.
This approach may take a bit more effort, but a renewal from a satisfied client is a lot more cost-effective than trying to secure a new one, and you will have stronger ROI case histories to offer.
It’s all about being local and relatable to the listener. Use your strongest assets: your personalities, their sidekicks — and your listeners
Dick Kalt is the EVP of CRN International. You can reach him at 203.407.3339 or [email protected].