Monday, May 05, 2008

"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.


Anonymous said...

so damn true it hurts, cheers on a killer post

Anonymous said...

"Radio Heard Fear"

"I’m a little late weighing in on the ludicrous 'Radio Heard Here' campaign... I pretty much agree with others who expressed concern and disgust over the 'Radio Heard Here' campaign... Before the NAB chose this slogan did they research anyone under forty? I doubt it."

Radio is old-fashioned and the "Radio Heard Here", which means absolutely noting, just reinforces that belief - this slogan belongs back in the 1920's, with the development of radio. At least, the HD Alliance's "It's Time to Upgrade" slogan attempts to confuse consumers with the mandated 2009 digital TV changeover.

David Martin said...

Via email:

Well that does it Martin. After reading this blog for years I'm finally going to give you a piece of my mind. THANK YOU for pushing us into thinking by saying on your blog the things that someone (hello..captains of industry) needs to be saying. We have become pretty good at putting on the happy face and saying everything is fine. Go along to get along and all that. I'm embarrassed to watch the industry shooting itself in the head and shouting down outsiders trying to help get us out of the ditch. Face it bitching about how bad things are is part of who we are and how dare some carpetbagger tell us what to do. You want us to focus on the big picture and things like goals and scorecards well thats no fun and trashing logos and slogans is a chance to show others how much smarter we are. Hey man, they dont get it. Almost done here. Your point about thinking global and taking it local is on the money. That is the error putting millions down the HD rat hole. This morning when I came to work we were a local business. When I head home tonight we still will be. We don't need a national spot without playing to radio's greatest edge LOCALIZATION. Been too many years of not saying thanks so thanks David thanks for keeping it real and making us think.

Name reserved upon request.

Anonymous said...

the numero uno problem in radio today is sales and your answer is get serious roll up our sleeves and go to work on it? why don't you understand the pure joy of ridicule? stop dodging dave and tell us what do you think of the thunderbolt? bravo dude

Anonymous said...

Dave, these things come and go never adding up to much of anything. imho you are taking this far too seriously and trying to make a science project out of it. Buy a clue Dave. We'll run the spots, we'll do the rah rah thing and sooner than you think it will be over. Next.

David Martin said...

Dear readers, the days of comments may be coming to an end. Moderating comments takes bandwidth. This post has generated more than 40 comments and emails. Posted here the one email that gave me permission, five others asked not to be posted but shared some good feedback/insight. That leaves 34 of which 4 were cleared here, the other 30 failed to make the cut. Personal attacks, a couple of potential go to lawyerland comments (libel), and some of the typical two-word things that add nothing. Yes, I am very aware I suck. Please do add something to the discussion, your ideas and thoughts are always welcome. Your search engine driven lame attacks are spam and not welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Dave, it would be a loss to again change your roe and move that goal post again esp. backwards to the days of no comments. My two cents is the unmoderated was, uh, bad and got worse. Yet there was fun..admit it Dave you enjoyed the playful Cmdr Tamale that guy who did the homage to /. Cmdr Taco Then we played the no bravo, no this sucks and you asked to add something to move discussion forward. Now it seems a mix. You finally allow some props again and some negative comment along with thoughts of others. Keep it the same, the gems are shining through. Good post today. My reading is O'Keefe seems new to the electric radio gang. His blog is cool. The logo looks fine to me and that Home Depot orange is one of the hot colours of the month. And take this as another vote for the scorecard. You can't manage it if you can't measure it. Charge on DM. Peace.

David Martin said...

Thomas, thanks for stopping by. Hope all is well. Always good to have you weigh in. The gems do shine, did you catch the comment last week by the great Ron Fell. We may be hearing more from that gentleman soon, stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Mr O'Keefe has a big sketchy mess on his plate - way too many agendas and is it me or is the mission smelling ambiguous? Certainly wish him and his team good luck. The x factor here will be the politics. How edgy will he be allowed to get?? My gut says the logo is a compromise production. Too many chiefs will spoil the soup. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

The proof will be in the audio. Holding my comments until then. The logos ok, the tag line subject is right (for a change).

David Martin said...

Via email


Calling you out on this one. You were fine up until the last.

"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."

You provided the very reason earlier in your post.

"Take radio's share of ad spend as an example. No matter how well intended the efforts, share has remained about the same."

What has changed? Your faith in an effort so far lacking detail and substance for fair hearing is an error in judgment.

You may know me as one awaiting some indication this "initiative" is genuine in difference from earlier work.

Name reserved at request

Anonymous said...


On comments. Most of the time when I see a number next to comments and click it's - sorry - a waste of time. Then there are times when one of those clicks makes my day. Keep em.

Dan Kelley said...


RE: "the days of comments may be coming to an end".

Don't let the "search engine commenters" and those making personal attacks stop those who actually contribute to the discussion.

Yes, I know it takes bandwidth; and more importantly, your personal bandwidth (time).

I find your thoughts as well as the comments of those who intelligently agree - and disagree - to be a big contribution to the issues facing our industry.

Thanks again for all you do.

David Martin said...

Thanks to Erin, Dan and the anons, appreciate your remarks.

Anon, you asked what has changed that I would put my faith in this new effort.

Almost everything has changed. This latest endeavor is a collaboration. NAB and RAB working together is smart, involving the HD Radio Alliance inclusive.

I've learned thanks to Kelly O'Keefe that this effort includes industry leadership as well. My suggestion is why stop there?

Every state and metro association needs to be involved. Arbitron needs to get involved. Media Audit should play a role. In the issues related to sales all of the sales trainers need to get on board.

Because we have never done something of this magnitude before does not make the case that it won't work. Nonsense.

Radio needs to stop being a rule taker and become the rule breaker and rule maker. This is a leadership issue.

Radio 2020 is in the very early stages of development. Give it a chance. Better yet, get involved.

drewdeal said...

We hope that our usage of the Radio heard Here logo on will be a welcoming repurposing of the campaign, which does actually highlight the idea that the radio can be heard in a place you would not expect.. the telephone.

We plan on making use of campaign to help radio expand out of the box a bit.