Now that I've presented the new Techsurvey 2018 a few times, you get a sense for which findings resonate.
I saw this head-on at the Worldwide Radio Summit where a packed room bobbed and weaved as I presented this year's key findings. And one surefire way you can determine which chart and graphs reach out and grab observers is to watch the ones that attract the most mobile phone camera action.
We've asked a series of new questions this year – deeper dives into podcasting, smart speakers, and satellite radio. And the findings are informative, provocative, and in some cases, breakthrough. But one of the old standbys – why respondents enjoy listening to broadcast radio – continues to produce photogenic charts.
It's an interesting question because so many other facets of the survey deal with new technology and platforms – smart speakers, podcasts, streaming video, and smartwatches. So, what is it about broadcast radio that keeps consumers coming back day in and day out amidst all this new technology?
To find out, Techsusrvey's audience of mostly core radio listeners point to a variety of different factors. Radio is free, plays great music, and features iconic personalities.
But then there are the “emotional benefits” that are part of broadcast radio's fundamental appeal. You can see them designated with the round red Es on the chart below:
For many, radio is part of their daily routine, it's a companion, it's a mood elevator, and it's a way to keep up with the goings-on in their communities. Those emotional underpinnings are an important part of the connection audiences have with their favorite radio stations.
Interestingly, they rarely find their way into liners and positioners as most radio marketers opt for language that deals in superlatives that are format related (“The News Authority,” “The Most Music With Less Talk & Commercials,” etc.). Yet, it's those little red E benefits that pack a more powerful bunch, connecting with audiences in emotional ways.
It's noteworthy that most consumer-generated Spotify playlist names tend to be about moods, attitudes, and situations, rather than music genres. That's how most people connect with music, making it associative with the things they do and the emotions they feel.
As it turns out, many of these same attitudinal attributes that set broadcast radio apart are similar to the ways in which other brands bond with their core fans. A recent story in the Harvard Business Review's “Customers' column examines how both Airbnb and Strava ( a mobile app that racks cyclists and other athletes) have found new and novel ways to connect with their fans.
A core component of building an emotioinal brand is “The 100 Lovers Strategy.” As Paul Graham of the funding incubator Y Combinator explains, the key is to leverage your fans' love for your product or service.
It starts with identifying a group of users who are passionate about your brand – or in our case, your radio station. Here's how Graham explains it:
“It's better to have 100 people that love you than a million people that just sort of like you. Find 100 people that love you.”
And from there, brands can use the power, energy, creativity and passion of these fans to generate content and provide insights about what makes the audience and the brand tick.
Like in radio, that often translates into tapping into a the emotional fiber that explains with how people use and connect with the brand.
In Strava's case, the “emotional layer” is all about the fire to perform at a higher level with friendly ineraction with other cyclists. That led to the formation of small groups (called “mobs”), accompanying marketing discounts, and user creation of web content – all outgrowths of that emotional connection with the brand.
The article goes onto explain how these learnings helped separate Strava from some of the big players in the space, like Nike and Garmin. The “mobs” became comfortable with offering constant feedback, as well as recommending Strava to other athletes.
The authors make the point that “100 lovers can quickly allow a company to conquer the world.” That's something our radio stations should aspire to achieve.
While the size of your cume matters, especially in the pursuit of ratings, it's those core fans who can transform a radio station into a powerful “emotional brand.” And those of you in PPM markets know how transient cumers can be, especially in passive listening situations.
That's part of the secret behind Techsurvey – focusing on an audience that has already bought into broadcast radio and the more than 560 stakeholder stations that participated in this amazing research process.
Core audience matters. Not just because they listen more, but because they want to help you build your brand. And that's the backbone of Techsurvey, a research study that's focused on many of these “lovers” – the heavy users who extol the virtues of your radio station to others. We see that routinely show up in our Net Promoter scores – a true recommendation measure that separates great stations from the also-rans.
Unlike the hundreds of syndicated research studies that report on broad trends across the U.S. or even the globe, Techsurvey's local flavor and its ability to connect radio stations to its fans is its “secret sauce.”
It's how “emotional brands” are built.
A Techsurvey 2018 deck will be available later this week. And an all-industry free webinar will be scheduled for later this month.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.
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