"There is no more expensive thing than a free gift." Montaigne
"Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible." George Orwell
"Knowledge is the beginning of the discovery of something we don't understand." Andre Gide
Today's image: sunflowers by ko-knia. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
The Radio 2020 initiative is much talked about of late and that's a good thing. Radio folks love to talk and there's no shortage of opinions especially when there's creative execution to critique. He might as well have been talking about logos when Buzzy Bennett famously said "Everybody has the right to program." Aside from the usual suspects, advocates for the Radio Heard Here tag line and logo are harder to find than Randy Kabrick when Arbitron is caught doing something right.
Should the efforts of branding ace and initiative creative lead Kelly O'Keefe prove to be successful he stands to gain a lasting place in business history not simply for results produced but for an important precedent - the amazing achievement of getting and keeping radio folks focused and on the same page for longer than an afternoon. This will merit nothing less than the creation of a new SIC Code, SERVICES - CAT HERDING. Kelly, welcome to our dysfunctional family picnic. Do keep in mind, radio gets up everyday and goes to work not only to commit some measure of great radio but to kill other radio guys in the process. Beware, some of our most vocal creative types are former program directors - think Orson Welles without the genius baggage. Unfair it may be but expect the wags to continue throwing the apple of discord.
Back to the countdown. The concept of radio coming together to promote radio is nothing new. Previous modern endeavors, each introduced with varying flourish, have failed to produce results of any significance. Take radio's share of ad spend as an example. No matter how well intended the efforts, share has remained about the same. Radio is experienced and highly skilled in the art of winking at buyers in the dark, and as this paraphrase goes - we know what we're doing even if no one else does.
To move things along let's stipulate the concept of a fresh attempt at self promotion remains an idea worthy of serious investment.
There are a number of constituencies potentially involved in this initiative, permit me to pick just one - people with money to spend, the buying community. Getting the register to ring should be job one here. Let us agree to table any attempts at getting the industry pumped or convincing the unwashed youth that listening to radio is so totally mad cool. Narrow the focus, define success.
Let me play contrarian and present something that's right about Radio Heard Here. O'Keefe and team are to be commended for use of language, for employing a very important verb.
Because we are so close to it, lost in the press of daily affairs, we too often take for granted or tend to discount the incredible power, the magic, that radio has harnessed. Two citations:
The New Positioning by Jack Trout & Steve Rivkin. Chapter fourteen. Minds Work by Ear...
"Has anyone ever asked you which is more powerful, the eye or the ear? Probably not, because the answer is obvious. I'll bet deep down inside, you believe the eye is more powerful than the ear. Call it 'visual chauvinism,' if you like, but it's a preconception held by many marketing people...After analysing hundreds of effective positioning programs, we ran into a surprising conclusion: The programs were all verbal. There wasn't a single positioning concept that was exclusively visual...We have come to the conclusion that the mind works by ear, not by eye. A picture is not worth a thousand words."
Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads by Roy H. Williams. Chapter 43. How Long Is the Race?...
"If your goal is to be the first into the mind of your customer when he needs what you sell, and to be the company he feels the best about, you should invest in the intrusive nature of sound with the reliability of its echoic retention."
There's a significant body of literature that supports the argument that the ear is a key driver in cognitive process. I'll not spend any more time making this case. It's out there and credible.
Radio Heard Here could serve as an excellent approach in a crucial conveyance of message. Let's start with four major points of difference: the intrinsic powers of audio media, ubiquity of reach, local influence and unmatched bang for buck. Supported with facts already in evidence (e.g., client testimonials, Radio Ad Lab, Arbitron & Media Audit data), Radio Heard Here could well deliver the mail to buyers, planners, brand managers and clients. Radio does have a great story to tell but we also have a history of getting in our own way.
The challenge here is not only in crafting a relevant and effective message but also in achieving deep consistent dissemination. The burden of message architecture needs to be equally sensitive to the practical realities of Madison Avenue and of Main Street. Time to grok "think global, act local." My thought is the task of dissemination will be made easier by leveraging those assets already in place.
Each participating station should be able to adapt the creative in such a way that it compounds the practical effects of the messaging while permitting, encouraging, the richness and nuance of individual local voice. We need to bring the message home by unlocking the power of complimentary local creative.
While the NAB, RAB and HD Radio Alliance may serve as initial channels of communication they alone should not be responsible for getting the word out. The message needs to be carried with consistency into the conversations happening in every metro where two or more are gathered in the name of advertising. To accomplish this the initiative should recognize their work as being grassroots in nature. Accordingly, they must reach out and involve those organizations friendly to radio where grassroots is lingua franca - the associations of state and metro broadcasters. Moving forward without these associations fully engaged is less than wise and simply not lucky.
Every state and metro association should establish a point person to lead Radio 2020 efforts. Provided materials from O'Keefe and crew each association and their members should have the tools needed to deliver the mail locally if not regionally. Every ad club, every agency, every advertiser should get the word.
Not just group guys or regionals or market managers or general managers or sales managers but every single seller as well, everyone in sales, everyone in sales support needs to be totally involved in the delivery of this important mail. It's potentially game-changing work that matters. Let the word go forth, one voice heard everywhere, keeping in mind that frequency sells and repetition is learning.
Until every agency, every single advertiser without regard to metro has heard the story, has been delivered the mail, the job will not be started. Until we move the needle and appreciably improve radio's share of ad spend the initiative should not be deemed in any way a success. I again, respectfully, call for transparency with regard to goals, standards and metrics (detail here). We need a scorecard. No more winking in the dark.
Clearly, we're talking marathon not sprint. Such an incredible endeavor has never before been mounted. There's no reason to believe that a properly resourced, developed and executed Radio Heard Here will fail to get the job done with the buying community. It's time. Let's get on with it. Let's have the courage to break all the rules and the audacity to make the new ones.
Closed circuit to Dan, John, Farid, Jeff, and Gary: That very cool idea - the group guy breakfast rally in Los Angeles earlier - was to be the first of many, what happened? Get the next ones scheduled (and invite Kelly to present).
Your thoughts heard here - comments welcome. Thanks for stopping by. Make something amazing happen this week.
Monday, May 05, 2008
"There is no more expensive thing than a free gift." Montaigne