Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Using Imaging to SELL Not Just Identify

I always look forward to monitoring stations. When you hit the road and spend a few days immersed in a market or even just breaking down a station with an on-line monitor the area that seems to fall short is in the imaging.

All too often we work hard at just keeping it short - so it says nothing and just repeats the calls, name/frequency, and maybe some positioning.

We also tend to make such grand positioning statements. THE best rock!!, All the Hits not just some of them, Today's Hit Music, -- we throw around statements like these and expect the audience to believe them and embrace them mostly because we make sure to say them 14 times every hour.

Of course there is also the BIG production packed with sound effects, movie drops, TV clips, Music hooks, and anything else we can find to layer into the 10 second sweeper. Often these are so packed you can only hear the copy in a production room with the processing set 'just right'.

When you actually break down the message much of the time it's about recycling personalities, selling feature shows, hyping contests, promoting events, and selling that we have more music than others. It's ok to push all these important parts of the station, but does it really SELL THE STATION? Does this really build up any images in the audience's head? Or does it just try and push them around the dayparts? If it's not recycling it's usually making claims that set off the BS meter in much of the audience as quickly as humanly possible.

Think of it like a billboard for a minute. A billboard that just says McDonalds Next Exit will make the sale if I'm hungry on I-75. But, a billboard with a clever phrase or an eye catching picture that leaves a lasting image about McDonalds even if I'm not hungry goes a much longer way to building McDonalds into a real brand.

We don't just need listeners right now. We need them to have great images and feelings for our brand as much as possible to win. You won't get those great images if you don't project them on the air.

The best way is to think in campaigns. Brand building advertising works in series of well crafted messages that communicate the facets of the brand with a creative presentation that catches your ears and eyes. If you approach your imaging this way - with a clear message in mind and stick with it you will be building a real brand.

Now that's worth putting between the songs.

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