Turn on a sports radio station today, and you can’t go an hour without being reminded of the station’s slogan. Over and over again you’re beaten across the brain with a fancy message that tells you how great your local radio station is, and which city they operate in.
But do they matter? Do they make a difference? Are they necessary?
Some of the most opinionated, right-seeking people on the planet, work in the sports talk format. Line up 10 people and ask them to weigh in on this subject, and you’ll get 10 different answers, and they’ll all be pretty convincing, and interesting.
Except nobody is right. It’s simply a matter of personal preference. What we often forget, is that there are multiple ways to create a brand, and communicate the radio station’s position, while developing an identity and delivering winning results.
On a CBS sports talker you’ll hear a lot of calls, a looser content flow, and commercial breaks without programming promos. Instead the station’s use liners in and out of segments to promote special broadcasts, games, giveaways and other special events.
When you turn on an ESPN sports radio station, you’re likely to hear a lot more production, a tighter format, less calls, more audio clips, and commercial breaks usually include at least one or two programming promos.
While CBS prefers to use their inventory time during breaks to focus solely on commercials, and return to content, ESPN prefers to mix it up between commercials, and promote programming benefits that occur on the radio station.
In both cases, it works because there’s a different strategy for each product. If the on-air presentation reflects the station’s vision, and it’s producing results, that’s all that matters.
So after listening to a number of sports stations this week, and the different ways they position themselves, it got me to thinking about whether or not slogans are really critical.
For example, when you listen to a music station, you’re going to endure an avalanche of messaging. The stations usually are programmed so strongly with songs, and commercials, that when that little bit of time is available to them to say something, they reinforce who they are.
The difference with sports talk is that we have opportunities to promote our messages during commercial breaks, AND during content, whereas songs restrict a music format’s ability to do both.
Rather than approach this strictly from a radio point of view, I want you to think about some of the world’s best brands, and the way you view and talk about them.
If I said to you, Nike – chances are you’d know the slogan “Just Do It“.
If I asked you to name a slogan used by Geico, McDonald’s and Budweiser, you’d likely recall “15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance, I’m Loving It and the King of Beers or This Bud’s For You“.
When a message is promoted heavily, and it represents the brand in an accurate way, it can have a major impact. No example is better right now than Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again“.
While you may like or dislike Trump and his positions, everywhere you turn that message is reinforced. He’s wisely worked it into every interview he conducts, and every press conference he holds, and it reflects what he wants to do if he’s elected President of the United States of America. Whether he can deliver on his slogan’s message is another story for another time.
As an industry, radio isn’t necessarily strong when it comes to creating powerful slogans. That’s scary because we’re often tasked with writing commercial copy, promos, liners and on-air mentions. If anyone should be skilled at writing and creating strong positions, it’s us but there aren’t a lot of companies who analyze the writing, and effectiveness of a message created by the programming and production departments. There’s also a lack of coaching and training available to radio professionals as it applies to improving as writers.
One other aspect of slogans that I see radio stations miss on, is that they’re often built around telling listeners what to think, how to feel and why the brand is so great. The focus gets put on the brand’s view of itself, not the benefits or connection it provides to the audience. I’m not sure how you feel about it, but I like to form my own opinions. I don’t need a packaged liner playing every 15 minutes to help me decide how to feel about a product.
People who listen to sports radio want to feel important to the brand they spend time with, and they want to believe they carry a little bit of influence in determining how the brand operates. When the message is built the needs and desires of the audience, the listener will spend more time helping you spread it.
As someone who has written a lot of promos, liners, on-air mentions, and bits, throughout the years, I’ve certainly delivered my fair share of clunkers, so I know how challenging it can be. While we all want to be creative, and produce an amazing message, our strengths are often in verbal communication, not written form.
Even when we do create something powerful, and effective with our words, it takes a lot of time, and patience. Unless you’ve been part of the process of creating a brand message, people on the outside fail to understand that being creative is a process, and it can’t be scheduled. Ideas come to you when you least expect them, and you can’t put a 30-minute writing session on your calendar, and expect that you’ll come out of it with the world’s best slogan. It doesn’t work that way.
When you try to operate that way, you usually come away with something terrible like this:
“(Name of City), home for the best local sports talk, (Station Dial Position)”
You can put the voice of Jim and Dawn Cutler, Paul Turner or Steve Stone behind it, and they’ll make it sound as good as humanly possible, but even they can’t turn turds into diamonds.
Are we really convinced as programmers, talent and executives that if we don’t create a slogan for our brand, that the audience won’t know what it is? Isn’t the audience smarter than that?
When was the last time you had a conversation about a sports talk radio station with a friend, or family member, and said “I listen to WFAN, because it’s my Flagship Station for New York Sports“? That’s not how people talk when describing your brand, and why they enjoy it.
If they’re talking about your product, they’re going to recall three specific things – the personalities on the air, the station’s dial position, and the name of the brand. The conversation sounds more like this – “I listen to 98.7 ESPN NY because I like the Michael Kay show“.
Slogans may feel necessary in the conference room, and they may look great on a white board, but unless they’re powerful, focused on the listener, and important to the identity of the brand, you can do without them. The time that gets spent in trying to create clever messaging for a :10 second legal ID, station liner, or station promo, can make your head spin.
Is this critical to what we do? Is it where our time is best spent? Would the station you work for suffer tomorrow if the audience wasn’t aware that you were their city’s destination for sports radio?
In researching this topic, I found a few messages that impressed me, and some which didn’t. Bear in mind, these are my opinions, and yours may be different, so take it for whatever it’s worth.
Here are the three slogans that didn’t register with me.
- “Real Sports Talk”
- “Sports Radio With Balls”
- “All Sports, All The Time”
“Real Sports Talk” implies that nobody else in the market talks about sports in a serious way, and it suggests that the brand never deviates from that plan, which isn’t true. It also doesn’t create a sense of power for the audience, or something memorable to identify with. If other brands in the market also talk about sports, how does this make the station unique?
In the case of “Sports Radio With Balls“, I’m guessing that the station is trying to play off of the fact that they carry LIVE play by play except, they don’t have the rights to the market’s only major professional sports team. This particular message is one that is going to come out of the mouth’s of every on-air talent. While it may feel, and sound natural for some, it won’t for others. Also, as sports radio adds more women listeners, do you think they want to hear this? It comes across very male-focused, and while I understand it, especially when considering the competitor they’re up against, and the Men 25-54 focus, I think there’s room for something else that represents the brand, and gives the talent more pride when they say it.
The final one, “All Sports, All The Time” is actually pretty solid, but if you know the brand I’m referring to, it’s not at all accurate. The content experience, and personalities on the radio station, focus much of their material around guy-talk, and they’re outstanding at it, and the audience loves it. Yes they talk sports too, but they’re built around entertainment, and lifestyle so if the message isn’t going to reflect what the brand represents, why use this approach?
When a slogan is created well, it can register and make a difference. For example, ESPN bills itself as “The Worldwide Leader In Sports” which many would say is exactly who they are. I also liked Apple’s “Think Different“, TNT’s “We Know Drama“, TBS’ “Very Funny” and Outback Steakhouse’s “No Rules Just Right” because I believe they provide an accurate description of each brand.
Looking at those last few examples, notice anything similar? Each of them is short, sweet and in line with their brand’s presentation. If you can’t describe the brand, what it does, and what it stands for in 10 words or less, make adjustments. The more you need to explain, the more confused people become. There’s a reason why these companies, and the others I listed earlier in this column, stand out. They say a lot with very little.
In listening across the country, I did hear a number of brands that I thought were very good. In each case, I noticed that they weren’t only strong performers in their respective markets, but they also keep the message very simple. This made it easy to recall, and that’s important when trying to invade a listener’s head space.
- Arizona Sports 98.7FM (the brand name, dial position, frequency)
- The Mighty 1090 (focus is strictly on the brand name/dial position)
- Rip City Radio 620 – Portland’s Blazers Station (highlights the brand name which plays off of a term that local people are proud to be associated with, dial position and the relationship with the city’s only professional franchise)
I noticed that many CBS Sports Stations keep it simple, and focus solely on the brand name and dial position which is similar to what Arizona Sports and the Mighty 1090 are doing, and I think that is smart. ESPN Radio stations that I listened to highlight the four letters, and cities which they operate in, which is part of their operational philosophy, and also makes sense.
There was one slogan I liked a lot, but learned is no longer being utilized. Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City used to use the position “Powered By Fans“, which was excellent because it gave the audience a sense of pride, passion, and ownership in the radio station. They’ve since switched to “The Power of Sports” and I’m sure there was a reason for it, but I personally preferred the original one.
I don’t claim to be right on all of this, but I’m simply making the point that the format can thrive without the use of a slogan. There are a lot of things that we do in this business, simply because someone else before us did it. That doesn’t mean it’s right, needed or valuable.
If you look at sports radio and the way it has grown over the last 30 years, it’s very different. Yet we continue to do some of the same things that we originally did because we’re creatures of comfort. We preach about the importance of change, taking risks, and introducing new ideas, but as soon as someone does, they’re met with resistance.
As our format faces new challenges, and enters unchartered waters during the next 30 years, we can’t afford to be one track minded, and stuck in our 1990’s views. That mentality will cost us listeners, and a whole lot of revenue.
If you can show me a radio station being weakened with its audience, or a station’s ratings suffering due to the loss of a slogan, I’ll gladly adjust my line of thinking. But there is value in my point of view, and I believe failed performance goes a lot deeper than the loss of one simple brand message.
If you’re going to use a slogan on your radio station, make it mean something. Otherwise you’re cluttering your airwaves with additional white noise, and taking away time from your best asset – your on-air talent!
I once read a quote from former Florida State Football Coach Bobby Bowden which stuck with me and it fits perfectly for this subject. Bowden told his sons when they were considering entering the coaching profession “If you can live without coaching, don’t get into it. But if you can’t live without it, go right ahead“.
Now give that some thought, and ask yourself “Would my radio station’s slogan be missed if it was pulled off the air tomorrow“? The answer you come up with should determine what you do next with it!
Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network
“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”
To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.
As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.
If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Which brings me to today’s announcement.
If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.
After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.
The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.
I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.
One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.
Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.
Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.
What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.
Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.
Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.
5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs
“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”
I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.
Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.
But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.
Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.
If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.
Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.
For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.
At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.
I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.
Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.
Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.
Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.
Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.
Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.
Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.