For more than 130 years, Michaels Jewelers has served Connecticut with 10 locations throughout the state. “We have been doing radio for decades,” says fifth-generation family member Lindsay Michaels, Marketing Manager for the company she and her father now run. In addition to stores in Connecticut, Michaels has 14 Pandora franchise locations along the East Coast and in the Southwest. She tells Radio Ink that radio gives Michaels Jewelers multiple ways to connect with people at all times.
Radio Ink: What is it about radio that you like?
Michaels: Like many others, I have a long commute. I spend probably 15-plus hours driving in my car, so radio is perfect. I listen to my favorite morning show driving in to work, and then when I get to work I put on the stream and listen. It helps me get through the day. When it comes to jewelry, I like to think about it more like a consumer than a business owner, so I know what I like to listen to. TV for me has kind of gone away because I don’t really watch live TV anymore, it’s either recorded or streamed on demand.
With radio I think it’s something about the personalities and the immediacy of being live and local. I remember last year, having to drive home during some very bad weather. It was so bad that I had no service on my cellphone, so I couldn’t even call my husband or go online. I turned on my radio and they were giving me a live update on where the storm was, where to go, what to do, and the type of damage that had already been done.
I think radio will always be a very important part of the community because of the way they can get a message across in real time. It’s always going to be there, whether it’s news or entertainment. So from a personal standpoint, that’s why radio has always been effective for us.
Radio Ink: What radio stations are you on?
Michaels: We have been with Connoisseur for about six years. In the past what we would do would be on during peak periods, then be silent. But we wanted to find ways that we could really integrate our brand into different and fun events, so we have a comprehensive package that uses digital and traditional platforms year round. On the radio we use WPLR-FM 99.1 (Classic Rock) and WFOX-FM 95.9 (Classic Hits) — that gives us the male demographic — and WEZN-FM, Star 99.9 (Adult Contemporary) which is good for the female and younger demographic.
Radio Ink: Along with the usual AM/PM drive ad buys, what other promotions and campaigns do you run?
Michaels: Bridal is huge for us so on WPLR we have been doing a “Ring In The New Year” contest/promotion. It is a very moving, wonderful, feel-good promotion that takes place around the holidays. Near the end of November and into the first part of December we collect listener stories as to why they deserve an engagement ring. We’ve been doing this for about four years now and this year we had two stories that were just so touching, and the couples were so deserving, that we decided to give each couple an engagement ring. It was a very special moment and one of the favorite things that we do. So we have committed to Connoisseur to continue to do this. It’s a way we can give back in a very meaningful and touching way at a special time of the year.
Radio Ink: How does event sponsorship fit into your radio advertising mix?
Michaels: We do branding with Star 99.9 by sponsoring “Michaels Jewelers Acoustic Sessions.” These are exclusive concerts in intimate venues that listeners can win tickets for. They showcase new and upcoming artists along with established artists. These concerts often include a meet-and-greet, which our winners love. We recently had Rob Thomas for a show. Other shows featured Daughtry, James Blunt, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, Goo Goo Dolls and many others. Tickets for these exclusive shows have generated a lot of interest in the radio station and that has helped us to be very successful in getting our name out there.
Radio Ink: How do you know radio is working for you?
Michaels: People are asking me all the time how they can get tickets for our “Acoustic Sessions” concerts. Also, my mother-in-law told me that she finds it annoying that she hears about Michaels Jewelers so often when she turns on the radio. I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing (laughing), but that’s proof for me that we are getting our name out there.
Radio Ink: What’s it like working with Connoisseur?
Michaels: Our rep, Ginger Ballou, is amazing. I can contact her at any time or any day and she is truly there for me. I trust her. She will bring me things with honest opinions on if it’s a right fit for us. They always put us at the top of the list for any promotions or ideas they have. One example was an Instagram campaign called #MichaelsMoments. Customers shared their Michaels shopping, and gift-giving and receiving experiences that were posted on each station’s Instagram account.
Connoisseur is very dedicated to the community and being part of Connecticut, and we like that. When we have had hard times retail-wise they have always been willing to work with us. Even when we have had to scale back our spending, they have found ways for us to get our message out there. It’s a long-term commitment with them, so they will be there with us through the good and the bad days.
Radio Ink: What advice would you give people who are not quite sure radio is a good fit for them?
Michaels: For us we have seen the most success with a longer-term commitment. If you are only going to do a one-week spot, you’re not going to get the results. You need to make a commitment to a station, and an account rep, and trust them. I came from a digital background and never was involved in traditional marketing, so I had a lot to learn. I really relied on the Connoisseur team to give me insight, to help me understand what was going on, what would be the most effective way to get our message across and build that relationship so that we have consistent messaging on their stations.
It’s not going to be a short-term fix, it has be a partnership built on longevity. It is totally worth it. It’s important to not only do things on the radio with traditional commercials, but other things outside of running spots. Things like the event sponsorships and promotional contests are great because those are fun and unique ways to get your name out there in the community.
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