Give Your Brand a Big Kick – Use Your Sidekick

When it comes to endorsements, sometimes it’s better to pass the mic.

When it comes to endorsements, sometimes it’s better to pass the mic.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear personality product endorsements on the radio and ask myself, why I should believe them? Now, that kind of a statement may sound strange coming from someone with a company that specializes in leveraging the strength of local radio personalities to deliver “personal” brand messages. But hear me out.

More and more brands are using personality endorsements, and while there is plenty of research to show that they can be more effective than a spot, after a while they can begin to sound like the spot they’re intended to replace—especially when they are scripted, contain no personal storytelling, and are delivered in a lackluster way that makes you wonder whether the personality even knows what the product looks like. In our work with station personalities, each endorser must use the product before they talk about it, working from brand points but extemporizing the delivery so the resulting endorsements are credible to the listener.

It’s no secret that local radio personalities have an edge with listeners when they speak with them and not at them. But not even the best personality endorser is the right fit for every product; if listeners don’t believe an endorser would use a product, they won’t believe what the endorser says about it. And endorsements of too many products from one personality can also lead to listener skepticism. It’s important to remember that when people want to know more about a product, they have many sources to go to, the most effective being their own family and friends.

So, how does a radio personality break through the testimonial clutter and connect, particularly with younger listeners, in a credible way? Maybe it’s not the personality who does the endorsement, but the sidekick.

Think about it: as a local celebrity, a personality is elevated in the mind of the listener; more credibility may in fact be heard in the words of someone who is perceived as a peer. It may be more effective in some cases to use ensemble members and station staff as sidekicks, as long as they are people who relate to the most likely buyers of the product. Let them tell listeners how much they like the product and why. The result feels more like peer-to-peer communication, like going online and asking your friends for recommendations—regular people speaking in a regular tone with honesty and not overdoing it or mailing it in.

Ask yourself, would Kim Kardashian’s recommendations be stronger than that of friends you know and trust?

When executing endorsements, take the extra steps to connect:

  • Match the product to the person on your staff who uses it and identifies with the kind of listener that would be a perfect new buyer.
  • Use your sidekicks for relatability, increasing authenticity
  •  Invite listeners to go to your website or social media page to express their feelings about the product being endorsed
  • Ask their permission to use their name and comments on the air when endorsements are being delivered
  •  If you have particularly glowing testimonials showing up, invite them to be recorded and possibly used on the air or at least on your digital assets
  •  Give your listeners a platform to tell other listeners what they like and why

The goal is to sell products through the strength of your connection to your listeners. Adding sidekicks and staff at your station only makes it stronger. The secret sauce here is taking it to the next level to involve your listeners in the process. That’s connecting with your base, increasing traffic to your digital assets and getting more exposure for your client. When coupled with the words of your personalities, the impact is magnified.

This approach may take a bit more effort, but a renewal from a satisfied client is a lot more cost-effective that trying to secure a new one, and you will have stronger ROI case histories to offer.

It’s all about being local and relatable to the listener. Use your strongest assets: your personalities, their sidekicks …and your listeners.

CLICK HERE to learn more about what you can achieve with Influencer Marketing. 


Dick Kalt
Executive Vice President