Show Me The Relationships


(By Loyd Ford) Welcome to “Show Me The Money” 2021. Money doesn’t stand still. Money keeps moving. This literally means that, as some parts of the economy are experiencing significant challenges, others are creating new opportunities actively and rapidly. This is ongoing in any economy and any crisis.

No one may have been challenged in the last year more than the airline industry, but have you been paying attention? Everyone has noticed the layoffs. All of these airlines are booting employees and trying to conserve cash. But did you see what airline is grabbing critical real estate by seizing every opportunity in city after city from the crisis? According to the Wall Street Journal, Southwest Airlines is using the crisis as both a predator and being opportunistic to grab more real estate and come out stronger, larger after the crisis.

If you have followed the things I have written over time in Radio Ink, you know that I believe that bad things and good things happen to everyone.

Our role at local radio is to find out where the new opportunities in our market are developing now and in 2021 and make our services key to their growth and success. We are also challenged with making the gate keepers or influencers understand the power of local radio and our other tools to help them rapidly and regularly reach those with spending power. No matter if business owners are seeing new opportunity or stuck in a rut, they have a choice now: Quit or keep going. If they don’t choose to quit, our goal should be to show them how radio can help them survive and thrive.

One of the things we have learned in the last six months is that household spending is largely up in a wide variety of households across all parts of the country. People are home and isolated more than ever, but they are spending money. Spending is happening. So, as we start looking toward a new year, what can we really do to strengthen our opportunities, which supports our staff (employment) our adventures (growing brands) and our overall mission?

Here are some thought starters for your team:

  • Invest in a full staff strategy retreat for 2021 (this can be done via Zoom or Skype) and do it in December. Looking ahead and developing a fully thought out strategic plan on how and where to grow revenue opportunities with your team is more important than it has ever been. Bringing your team together to build this strategy means all will put skin in the game and know what they are fighting for.
  • Instead of focusing on the word can’t (which many are doing during what we will call the Covid-19 era), make sure you eliminate the use of the word can’t in these sentences we are all saying now and replace it with these words, “How can we…..” It is critical that this become your staff mantra for developing strategy and execution in 2021. We must find innovative ways to grab positive attention and to become essential for our local clients in the new year. Radio gets its power from being local. That is also where you will have the most control on significantly strengthening the bottom line.
  • Elevate the importance of individual connections and building relationships in your building with clients and green light influencers inside your market. Relationships can come to mean much more during a crisis. Whatever you are now facing in your market, your clients are being challenged just the same. Get closer to them, help them and both you and they will come out stronger for it.
  • Use Zoom, SKYPE or other virtual platforms to effectively give local business owners elevated consistent resources to help their changing businesses in 2021. This is more than offering advertising; we want to be an essential tool belt to help encourage safety and growth for local businesses. Give them more than selfish resources. Make yourself an essential partner and consistently show them you care about them, their family and their business.
  • Consider developing a focused plan for the first three months of 2021 with real benefits for clients and one that includes something you need. Your goal should be connecting and committing clients to use your tools for the full balance of 2021 tied to the early jump-start (think of it as your own local stimulus). They get an early benefit boost and you get the full six month or one year commitment.
  • Create specific means to stay close to your internal team, encourage them, support them and keep them focused on the real value of their relationships in the new year. Just as every client has never been more important, employees are facing crisis, change and challenges that can depress and detach them from their goals. Investing in them consistently with positive reinforcement will have a significant payday for you.

We know that times are challenging. The question is who will best handle the stress and create the most opportunity? Who will keep their team focused and grow business by following the money in crisis? Will it be you or your competition? Opportunities come and go. Things are not only tough for the radio industry. Many people and businesses are truly facing once in one hundred-year challenges. This time is different, but you can come out stronger.

I have always believed that great radio is truly designed around creativity. Creativity drives creative destruction and that drives the economic growth in any new trend, crisis or opportunity. As Americans, we value phrases like “Think differently.” However, 2021 will give us opportunity to really prove it in the radio business and get back to our creative roots. I’m a believer in you to get this done. In crisis, there is opportunity. Look around. People are making mistakes.

Like Southwest Airlines, some smart broadcasters will know, “Now is the time to attack.”

Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].



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