Friday, January 22, 2010

Is Your Morning Show In Sync With Brand Expectations?

It seems like every month we watch some pretty legendary all talk Morning Shows being ditched in PPM markets.  Johnny B, Dahl, Chainsaw, Lex & Terry, and probably a few more I missed have all been pushed off in the last 18 months or so.  The big reason is that they just don't perform as well in PPM as they did in the old diary days.  The big costs of the shows just doesn't seem to pay off in a PPM world.  

In the diary days shows like this seemed to drive the station outperforming the rest of the dayparts and offering a big lead in.  Most of these shows started out (many 20 years ago or more) playing some music and really being more of an integrated piece of the brand.  As they grew in popularity (or assumed popularity) and developed more content they started ditching the music all together.  For most of them going back to a mix of music and their content didn't seem possible so the buy outs or letting the contracts lapse began.

Even if you are not in a PPM market you have to wonder if your all talk morning show is really performing as well as you perceive it from the data you're getting now.

It looks like we have 2 big factors that are playing into this trend:  

  1. Brand Confusion - If you are THE ROCK STATION or THE CLASSIC ROCK STATION to the audience your brand is built around music to a big degree.  The all talk morning shows are often a brand on to themselves with few ties to the whole station in any content.  When you add that they don't play music (which is a central image to the brand) they end up on an even more remote island.  Are you're station P1s also P1s of the Morning Show?  And are you Morning Show P1s fans of the music side?  Often not - we saw this most in the Howard Stern stations which often had great loyalty in the Diary world but ended up with a cliff after the show when the music hit.  Notice how most of the Howard stations ended up in a different format after he left - their music images were so low there was little to recover and keep the station alive. 
  2. Sample Sizes - PPM samples are around 40% (or less) of the sample sizes we had in the diary days.  While there are more meters around every day collecting data than we had with diaries in their hands the final numbers in the diary days had more individuals in the sample and the sample changed every week.   The PPM sample is also listening to nearly twice as many stations in an average week.  Fewer individuals that spend less time with any one station, than we saw in their diary recall data, ends up with fewer opportunities to reach the super P1s for a given personality.   We also see more listening to the other dayparts in PPM than we saw in the diaries so your Morning Show is also less likely to out-perform the other dayparts.  You can't just live on a great morning show as much as you could before.  
The lesson to learn here - you Morning Show better be in Sync with the Whole Brand - not just itself.  

1 comment:

Serge said...

Music is one of the tools you could use to promote brand recall but remember that it could also have an adverse effect if not used wisely.