(By Charlie Sislen) Successful radio stations have done a tremendous job of building unique brands in their market. Whether it is “more music,” “great giveaways,” or the “news source,” these brands let the listeners know what to expect. Delivering on this expectation is another issue.
While building and maintaining this brand to the listener is important, it is equally essential that a radio station builds a “SALES BRAND.” In other words, what does the advertiser expect from the radio station’s sales team? While presenting this brand to existing advertisers is essential, one can argue that it has even greater value with potential advertisers. A brand helps them understand how you do business. What differentiates you from other advertising sales operations can set a station or cluster apart from the rest of the market.
Therefore, what is your sales brand? While the options are nearly endless, it is important to be what your sales team believes. Not living up to your brand image is worse than having no brand image at all. Here are a few examples:
We Do It Right: This means that you run a professional operation and spots are run properly. Some believe this includes a refusal to bump low-cost spots for higher-price orders that come in later. This sense of professionalism also means that you show up on time, well-prepared, and do great follow-up. You want the advertiser to say, “they are great business partners.” This can justify the premium you may demand.
Results Radio: Your investment in our radio station will deliver what you are looking for. Whether it is more foot traffic or web hits, you will help the advertiser meet their goals. Be aware that this can often set high expectations. Be prepared to back up what you promise.
The Added-Value Choice: “Benefit” often has a negative connotation. However, when you have a vast tool kit, being able to offer them to advertisers is a bonus. Buy this schedule and we can include…. Yes, there are costs involved, but you will be known for your added value.
Full Marketing Resource: Does your station have digital experts? Does your team know how their cluster fits with other radio stations and other traditional media? Are you willing to suggest a full media mix, which may not include your station? If so, this is a great brand. You are no longer a radio station salesperson. You are now a marketing solutions expert.
Deliver Results Efficiently: We all know the word “efficient” often means low cost (not necessarily cheap). While not a great long-term strategy for our industry, there is nothing wrong with offering a low-cost alternative. This is how many great brands were built. GEICO got started with “15 minutes can save you 15% or more.” Price is always an issue. However, if you make that your brand, it will always be hard to push rate.
It is important to recognize that the entire team needs to build and maintain the agreed-upon brand. How will you promote it and make sure that when a potential advertiser thinks of you they think of your brand? Do you want a simple logo or your brand statement on all your collateral materials? After all, you are a marketer selling marketing solutions.
In my next post, we’re going to take a sales brand that we at Research Director, Inc. help our stations excel at and dig a little deeper – The Information Source.
Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at csislen@ResearchDirectorInc.com. This blog post is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.