I'm not usually a fan of memes.
Most often, they're a lazy way for social media brands to lazily attract a lot of “likes.” When Lori Lewis was with our company, we used to regularly see stations overdo memes, usually at the expense of posting social content that engaged or delighted. In fact, with some stations, it was “Meme City.” They became socially addicted to posting memes – dogs playing poker, cats doing crazy tricks, and people performing stunts reminiscent of “America's Funniest Home Videos.”
But the other day, I kept running across the meme at the top of this post – a vivid reminder of how disruption has impacted many businesses and industries. But as the meme reminds us, there are the self-inflicted wounds that companies, brands, and other verticals have perpetrated on themselves that hasten their erosion, and in many cases, their demise.
And the conclusion – the failure to focus on the customer is the biggest mistake a brand or industry could make – is the basis of this “cautionary meme.”
To put it in radio terms, the industry is being surrounded by predators and competitors alike – all trying to offer a cleaner, better, and more personalized experience. In many ways, radio has valiantly fought off this digital onslaught, hanging on to much of its reach and reputation. And while future battles may revolve around familiar issues like content and distribution, a customer focus has become table stakes – whether you're running a hotel, an airline, a big box store, or a radio station.
Yesterday's post about how the tired meet & greet model could be transformed into a true fan experience resonated with many people – both in comments you can read and through several emails and phone conversations I had. This idea of radio raising its game by focusing on the LX – or Listener Experience – goes to the heart of the meme's message and what we were discussing in the post.
It's not enough to feature an entertaining morning show, a provocative talk host, or a clever podcast. It is about how a radio station caters to and serves its audience. And that means a company emphasis on the LX: being responsive and caring about fans, customers, and the localities radio serves. We see and hear about this service deficit with some regularity in focus groups, L.A.B.s and 1-on-1 interviews where phones go unanswered, complaints are unheeded, and consumer concerns are ignored. We see these issues, by the way, in both commercial and public radio settings.
At our mobile apps development company, jācapps, we have recently invested in our user experience – how our apps work, feel, and react. Are they responsive, fun to use, and easy for consumers to utilize? To ensure our apps and related products like Alexa “skills” are optimal for consumers we've invested in our UX by hiring an expert in the field, Nathan Turner (pictured right).
Tech companies intuitively know they have to be responsive to the user experience. It goes with the territory.
So, imagine a radio company hiring an LX expert – someone whose main mission is to work with station staff and management to ensure the optimal experience.
If radio is to successfully address its competitive challenges, it will need to step up its game. Because at its core, radio is a service business – whether we're talking about audiences, advertisers, or communities. There's a reason why tech companies are spending millions and billions on customer focus and the user experience.
In an age of online reviews, social media, and a power shift that is now tilting toward the consumer, there is no better time for the biggest radio companies as well as the ma-and-pa's to rethink their LX.
Sometimes, there's a reason why memes go viral. The really good ones are spot-on.