James Cridland, of media.info, the media information website, recently outlined what seems to be a new branding trend in radio – stations have a different brand on air than everywhere else.
“A while ago, I worked on a radio station called “The Groove”, which was a soul music radio station in London. It didn’t have frequencies, since it was just online and through DAB broadcasting, which doesn’t use them, so it was just called “The Groove”.
It became quite obvious that nobody knew, from its name, that it was a radio station. On its website, its social media, and other places, we had to work quite hard to educate people that “The Groove is a radio station that…” and all this seemed a bit of a waste of time.”
It’s certainly true that some radio stations have enough recognition that people would know they’re a radio station. “Triple M” is a good example of a station which has existed for some time now in Australia, and most people in its target market would, you’d think, know that it’s a rock radio station.
But radio rarely has these type of large brands – particularly if you’re launching a new service. One way to get around that – as Triple M’s owners have done – is to use the strength of the main brand to launch sub-brands: Triple M Aussie, as one example, is a station that just plays Australian rock music. Still obviously a radio station to most people.
However, what happens if you don’t have access to this heritage?
There is a new branding trend that seems to be slowly emerging for radio – a trend which makes a whole lot of sense: a different brand on-air to everywhere else.
One example is Magic Radio, a station in the UK that’s called Magic Radio in its advertising, its press releases and its Twitter handle, but is called simply “Magic” on-air. You know it’s a radio station when you’re listening to the thing: but otherwise, “Magic” could mean anything at all.
The beginning of this year saw ABC Classic FM, a classical music station in Australia, change its name to “ABC Classic” – reflecting the multi-platform nature of radio. But the station recently aired a TV ad that called it “ABC Classic Radio”. A perfect name for it off-air, but the “radio” bit is superfluous on-air.
Does it make sense to have a simple, snappy name for a radio station on-air… and then a longer, more descriptive station name in marketing material?
It seems an interesting new trend that might work well.
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