What Makes A Radio Brand

By Wayne Clouten, BPR

An enormous amount of time is spent nowadays discussing “Brand” within radio stations.  A lot of that discussion is often about how the station wishes their brand to be known and perceived or think their brand is known and perceived (aspirational inside thinking) rather than how it is actually perceived by listeners and the market (outside thinking). Coming to grips with the reality of what really underpins your stations brand in the mind of your listeners and broader target market is critical.  It is easy to fall foul of thinking your stations brand is either more important than what it really is or is something it isn’t.

There are many dimensions to what constitutes the brand of a radio station.  At the end of the day however there are two fundamental realities:

  1. A radio stations brand is largely defined by the listening experience. A great logo and jingle package do not compensate for a poor listening experience.
  2. Strong station brands are not developed overnight. The flipside to this is that once a station brand is established it can be difficult to change that brand in the mind of the listener.

When managing or building a brand strategy for your radio station you need to consider both tangible elements of your brand and intangible elements.

Tangible brand elements are those which can be touched, seen and heard.  These are generally centred on 5 areas:

  1. The music that you are famous for. In other words, your music position.
  2. The show or personality you are most famous for. Generally, this will be your breakfast show and its presenters however a Drive Time show can be equally powerful in terms of ratings in some markets.
  3. A form of non-music content which is unique to your station or regarded as the best of its type in the market – by the market.
  4. A cause which your station stands for or is associated with.
  5. Your packaging and messaging (logo, jingles, Apps, merchandise, external marketing, personality behaviour, social media). This is a mandatory element in today’s competitive environment. If you haven’t got this right, then life is very difficult.

Intangible brand elements include:

  1. The promise of your brand (the value-add your station delivers to the day to day life of the listener)
  2. How well your station fulfils its promises (meeting listener expectations).
  3. The personality of your brand (personal affinity with the listener and the values of the listener)
  4. Perceptions (how well you serve what is important to the listener)

Tangible and Intangible brand elements are in fact opposite sides of the same coin.  Tangible elements are what you do, Intangible elements is the effect on the listener of what you do.

The key issue with developing your radio stations brand is understanding exactly how the market currently perceives your station at all levels, what is important to the market, what are the needs and motivations of your target market and identifying where the opportunity for your brand development is best focussed.


Contact Wayne Clouten if you would like to continue the brand conversation wayne.clouten@bprworld.com



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