Character Counts

By David Kidd, BPR

Having a clearly defined position that the audience wants, and staying true to it, is undoubtedly important for a radio station to be successful. But what we often don’t realise is the importance of how we go about it all. A station may own the key programming and music positions in the market but beyond the best music scores there is another reason successful stations stand out from the crowd ….it is the ‘how’ that helps a station grab the audience’s attention. And the ‘how’ is all about brand character.

The first step is Personality

There are many definitions of a brand out there but one I like is this one: ‘A brand is a product [or service] with a personality.’ It’s this personality that makes a brand more than just a generic bundle of products and services. It’s this that gives the brand an edge so listeners can bond with it.

Personality is, as the name suggests, thinking about the brand as if it were a person. It’s this brand as a person that people can relate to.

Character takes personality even further

Character is personality with purpose. A person’s character is defined by what they seek in life. And the same is true of brands. Brand character defines the driving motivations of the station as well as its human-like characteristics.

While we often talk about stations needing to evolve and not stand still, we actually mean the products and services they offer, or the way they communicate and express themselves. Their core character needs to remain consistent. We connect emotionally with stations when we feel we can trust them – trust that we’re not buying into, and possibly telling others about, a brand that the next day flips and feels totally different to the brand we fell in love with. The ‘I don’t know you anymore, you’ve changed’ line can apply equally to radio stations as it can to former best friends.

Measuring Your Station’s Character

For many of BPR’s clients we measure a station’s character in our strategic studies with various brand images. Images that determine the extent of a station’s relatability, trustworthiness, credibility, talkability (word of mouth), community involvement, companionship, engagement etc.  A program director may think his/her station is “trustworthy” …….but do the listeners?

Character is more than playing the best songs or having the most entertaining personalities…..its what the entire radio station means to the listener.

 

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