We need to change radio’s perception from expense to investment!

It wasn’t all that long ago that advertising on the radio was a broad goal and even a “status symbol” to many businesses. My how times have changed! But we’re the guilty ones. Since deregulation, the quality of our campaigns has suffered greatly due to several reasons…one being exceptional creative doesn’t matter anymore to most radio companies. Most don’t even have a Creative Services Director or department anymore. We’ve turned our inventory into a commodity instead of the precious real estate it once was. We’ve allowed agencies to dictate our pricing and value as a result of our lack of creative focus. It was a choice we made as an industry. It makes me laugh every time I see a story or column from the RAB or NAB talking about the things radio needs to do to grow our “piece of the pie”. Have you noticed that not one time in any of those pieces has it been suggested that we step up our creative performance? But let me tell you, the times are changing. With more and more media platforms popping up the pie is sliced in a lot more pieces. As is tradition in the radio industry, we’re once again reactive. Some broadcasters have started to realize that the key to success going forward is going to up our creative game. Our campaigns need to penetrate and activate the end users. Tracking results has become much easier thanks to some of our recent media newbies, and clients expect more tangible results. Results don’t happen because of the latest high tech deliver system or side delivery platform. People create results and it’s time the radio industry realizes this. Radio needs to return to the days of hiring creative people to do what they do best. Radio needs to treat it’s commercial inventory as content….not a necessary evil. “Less is more” came about because our own industry admitted our campaigns aren’t compelling. It’s probably too late for radio to take back pricing controls, but we can control our results, if we choose. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what needs to be done, but we have to admit, most rocket scientists are more creative than radio these days.

Creativity with out connection is just white noise…

Some of the greatest special effects based movies have bombed at the box office, we can all name at least one. The reason is they simply didn’t connect to the audience. Messaging is the same. Creativity that doesn’t connect doesn’t work, period. This is why determining the messaging focus needs to be the hub, and everything around it are the spokes. The spokes need to enhance the focused messaging, not dilute or confuse it for the sake of “cool effects”. Remember, consumers want to know “what’s in it for me” first and foremost. If they’re entertained in the process, great! But buying decisions are an emotional decision, if you haven’t been very clear about a primary benefit and why it matters to the consumer, then all the “cool” special effects will only annoy them. Results are a result of “what’s in it for me”. If it matters, you’ll get the results intended. The rest is just white noise.