Audio: The Pathway to the Human Mind


(By Pat Bryson) With the advent of AI for writing and voicing commercials, the spotlight has once again focused on radio creative. When we plan campaigns for our clients, three elements must be done correctly for the magic to work.

  1. Enough weekly frequency for an OES schedule
  2. Enough consistency (at least 52 weeks)
  3. A relevant message.

The third one, a relevant message, is often not used as effectively as we should. After all, radio’s secret weapon has always been the “theater of the mind.” So far, my experience with AI is that it can write a script about as well as some of our account executives do, but it hasn’t yet mastered the art of using sound to create images and situations. Yet, AI continues to learn. “Theatre of the mind” might not be far away.

How the mind processes and retains radio ads is critical to the success of our campaigns. Neuroscientist Pranav Yadav, CEO of market research company Neuro-Insight US, has stated that, “Audio is unique among media.” People can divert their interest away from a video ad, but they cannot close their ears.

Through theater of the mind, consumers can create their own visuals to make the ad more relatable. This is why the movie is never as good as the book: the characters are never as you imagined them to be. (Think Jamie Frasier in Outlander!)

Brad Kelly, former managing director of Nielsen Audio, has stated that radio and TV can be complementary. Each enters the neuro pathways in a different way. The audio portion supplements and amplifies the visual. The message becomes “stickier.”

Audio hooks to make ads more memorable. How brands “sound” becomes an important piece of the puzzle in getting them remembered. Memory does not store things chronologically. It stores moments and uses them to recreate past experiences.

Telling a story in a commercial also makes the ad more memorable. The brain stores information in story form. John Medina, in his book Brain Rules, tells us that using stories releases dopamine which increases memory by seven times! Think of the power of having your ads become seven times more memorable! 

Radio’s secret weapon has always been the power of sound. The right commercial can enhance the results of any campaign. My challenge to you is to stir your creative juices, create memorable and relevant messages to fuel your client’s campaigns. Get rid of hearing, “My advertising didn’t work!”

Pat Bryson is the CEO of Bryson Broadcasting International, a consulting firm that works with sales managers and salespeople to raise revenue. She is the author of two books, A Road Map to Success in High-Dollar Broadcast Sales and Successful Broadcast Sales: Thriving in Change available on her website. Read Pat’s Radio Ink archives here.


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