Epic Battle For The Mind
September 25, 2012
Since the advent of Arbitron's Portable People Meter, there have been startling new ideas that have grown organically out of seminars and conference rooms. With any new device or concept in radio, some want to be the first with a unique strategy to navigate this new ground that countless others are sure to follow, almost blindly. This certainly is the case with PPM markets. Many non-PPM markets are even doing this for seemingly no reason at all except to sound like they are "in the know" when talking to others. I have been alarmed at what I have heard on so many occasions concerning this topic.
I have actually seen memos and heard from PDs and air talent where they are looking for creative ways to avoid station identification! These same people are disregarding decades of historically successful models of programming, not realizing what the long-term results will be. As a result, I now hear stations all over the country go out of their way to avoid telling you who they are between songs and going into stopsets, believing that this pure, artistically pleasing flow will win over the hearts and minds of their listeners. These same stations are cutting way back on most if not all branding of their features and other elements as well. They do this, they say, because they are in a PPM market and the listener no longer needs the top-of-mind awareness required to score well like they did with the Arbitron Diary methodology. Really? This is about as far away from the truth as you can get. Do not buy into this. If you already have ... change.
Just because the PPM tracks the actual radio audio that a listener comes in contact with doesn't mean that you are not in an epic battle for the listener's top-of-mind awareness. Here's why. Your average listener spends about five to seven hours a week with your station. A heavy listener spends about 12-15 hours per week. This means that most of your listeners spend the vast majority of their time NOT listening to you! So it is imperative that you create such a high level of top-of-mind awareness while they are listening to you that you actually win in their minds when they are NOT listening to you!
This has always been true for radio, no matter what the rating measurement methodology. Look at the TV Neilson ratings system in their major markets. They have a box that uploads viewing habits as well. Do we see TV networks and local stations getting rid of their visual and audio logos/IDs? I haven't seen that. In fact, the most successful stations are the most heavily branded, far surpassing many radio stations. Many have their logos on the screen 24/7.
We must win the top-of-mind awareness battle so thoroughly while a person IS listening that they remember us when they are not! Never forget this. To do this, we must identify our station with great enthusiasm and creativity, and give the listener compelling reasons to come back to us when they go away for most of the day. An artistic presentation from a nameless radio station will not work.