Creating effective campaigns

When you use radio beyond the conventional advertisement stop set, your brand radically increases its chances of achieving results far beyond expectations.

Two recent developments speak further to the ineffectiveness of lengthy stop sets and the effectiveness of non-traditional radio marketing.

The first was Entercom’s gamble to experiment at a Seattle radio station with fewer ad slots per hour and shorter stop sets as well. The intent, of course, would be to draw listeners with more programming, and in turn appeal to advertisers via a larger engaged audience. At the same time, advertisers are questioning more than ever the ROI of their messages appearing at the tail end of long stop sets. Good for them.

The other development was a random poll CRN conducted in which a majority of 75 marketers said they feel a combination of non-traditional advertising tactics such as branded content and promotions generate stronger results for their brands.

Think of these non-traditional marketing tactics as the antithesis of conventional radio. They take salient product communication points and place them inside programming segments when consumers are actively listening to radio. Radio as a marketing medium works here because it provides listeners with compelling communication they seek, enjoy and believe.

When working properly, this strategy accomplishes three things: (1) it removes the message from the clutter of many ads; (2) it creates the right content to capture listeners’ attention when they are primed for it; and (3) it effectively helps consumers engage and relate to the brand, hopefully to buy something. We’ve seen time and again how this avenue of translates into consumer response.

Good companies spend lots of money on radio advertising – in the billions of dollars – with the optimism and confidence you’d give any medium that delivers 244 million Americans every week. Their expectations should be high.

CRN uses radio differently—way beyond advertising. By taking brand messages out of the stop set and delivering them to consumers in ways they want to hear, we are able to change consumer behavior, make people fall in love. That’s the power of radio.

The power of story

Whatever success I’ve had at CRN is because I told a good story.

I tell stories to job candidates, CRNers, prospects, the public, clients.  I tell them when I teach, when I pitch, when I create.  Stories are not part of the fabric of CRN, they are CRN.  After all, CRN is a collection of thousands of stories.  Stories are our product, and how we talk about it.  Stories are in our memories and are added to every day.

Without stories, there is no CRN.

I tell stories about talking my way in to see the president of New England Mutual Life; interviewing Ralph Nader and forgetting to turn on the record button; flying across the country on a whim to see a potential client who failed to show up for the meeting; getting sick on a van (mostly others tell that story); meeting Hugh Jackman, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter; getting stuck on a ski trail that led to CRN’s development of Ski Watch; creating a candidate for UConn student president that never existed—it doesn’t matter.  I tell stories all the time.  Some funny, some unbelievable, some boring.  But there is always a story.  And they all count.

If you can’t tell a story, you can’t sell.

The good news is everyone can; everyone has and tells good stories.

We would not be able to create successful client solutions—the engine of our business—without telling and hearing stories about our clients’ consumers; how they spend their days, their lives; how they work and play driving to work, picking up the kids; their relationships, their habits; and how we, on behalf of our clients, interact with those consumers to make a client’s product part of their lives.

Credibility and trust are often gained through stories—sometimes through narrative, sometimes through analogies, sometimes by relating our own personal experiences.  It could be a story about how we came up with the idea or even what happened at breakfast. In the context of a story, it’s easier and more effective to weave in facts and statistics to build a case in a less jarring, more natural way. Prospects need to like us and believe us. Capabilities decks don’t do that; stories do.

As Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business, explains, “A big idea is not enough. Your big idea needs a story.  Stories fuel innovation.  They hold the power to take listeners on a journey that changes how they think, feel or act.  Studies show we are wired to remember stories much more than data, facts, and figures.  However, when data and story are used together, audiences are moved both emotionally and intellectually.  Harnessing the power of stories will enable you to be more persuasive, move people to action.”

Imagine a room full of people, all eyes on you and nary a bullet point in sight.  No one is checking iPhones, Facebook or LinkedIn.  You’re controlling the room, heads are nodding, they’re leaning forward—no scowls, just intensity—and, like watching House of Cards, they can’t wait to find out what’s next.  Now imagine that translating into more business, more meetings and happier clients.