Radio’s 5 Customers

“Radio is at the tipping point, and it doesn’t want to know much about the way its customers are changing.”

Joint Communications’ John Parikhal tells Tom Taylor of Radio-Info.com in yesterday’s daily newsletter he’s worried about radio tuning out its listeners:

“Internet companies are checking out the customer six ways to Sunday. But radio will tell you they don’t have the money to research their customer. I truly think we’re at the tipping point, because for any business, you have to know who your customers are. 

For radio, it’s 5 different customers:

#1 – Wall Street or another ‘lender’.

#2 – The advertiser. And radio should focus a lot more on the advertiser, because it has given them very short shrift. The more innovative companies are trying to become the digital and media marketing experts for the local guy, to help them move more product. Their competition is Craigslist and emerging online city directories.

#3 – The FCC, and I sense that radio will be hearing from them within a year.

#4 – The employees. With a few notable exceptions, they have been treated the way no customer should ever be treated. This whirlwind of firings and layoffs has nothing to do with performance, and the message it sends is very negative. People are now very, very wary about making radio a career.

#5 – The listener. But radio thinks ‘all we have to do is keep the listeners we’ve got.’ That’s a fool’s game. You have to grow the pie, and to do that, you need to know more about your listener than their favorite songs or that they like sports on the radio. The listener doesn’t care that radio is in a recession and won’t invest in understanding their changing needs.”

The Seven Essential Connections

New media has shifted marketing perception suggesting the rules for brand building have dramatically changed.

Actually, the rules haven’t changed — and neither has the end goal. Rather, it’s the methods and choices used to build those brands that have changed the way brands are marketed, with some new powerful tools gaining popularity and other previously-strong tools losing power (or already lost it).

Here’s what remains as true and essential today as always: for significant and meaningful brand building connections and branding engagement, brands have to share common ground with the desired customer.

What does this mean?

The relationship between brand and customer must represent something real to the customer; otherwise, the brand doesn’t matter in the customer’s world. Miss this connection and you certainly won’t motivate brand advocates.

Successfully-built brands have to be genuine and based on the real values and vision of the brand.

Larger brand audiences and market share dominance happen when the brand links distribution of the brand intention with the brands perception.

It’s the bedrock of trust and common ground, allowing the relationship between brand and consumer to grow and prosper.

What are the Seven Essental Connections for Successful Customer Brand Building? The brand MUST share with the customer:

1) Life values (self-identity)
2) Core “roots” (history, heritage, religion, etc.)
3) Cause (forward-moving purpose)
4) Mutual interests and/or benefits (time spent together)
5) Lifestyle (community)
6) Hobbies (interactivity)
7) Preferences (like and shared dislikes)

Brands that connect with customers on all seven levels consistently are engaged. Look at some of the biggest successes: Apple, for example. BMW and Toyota for cars and Ford for trucks. Even TV shows like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Lost, Heroes, 24, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Each connect on all seven levels…and deliver financial results and customer buzz.

But not all brands connect on all seven levels.

Why not?

Most brands don’t consciously concentrate on servicing, staffing or budgeting the brand on those 7 levels. Which is too bad; if they did, the brand would earn the cherished “X Factor”…that special extra oomph in brand value making it superior than any competitor.

How well is your brand connecting?