Thursday, July 05, 2007


What are the names of some of the people who’ve waited on you at McDonalds? Or the cashiers at the supermarket where you shop? Or the person who reads your water meter?

We see it all the time, but it’s still mildly shocking (and discouraging) to see the blank expressions on the faces of people in focus groups when we ask the radio version of the same question – “tell me the names of some of the DJs you listen to.”

In a recall universe, such memory paralysis is never a good thing.

Here are five ideas to help talent be more memorable:

  1. Make content “unique-to-you” by approaching topics in a way other than the “first right answer” which is what most talent in the market will come up with. All penguins look pretty much the same.
  2. Let listeners see more of the “real” you. It’s near impossible to remember what you don’t know or understand, nor will you make accurate recollections of things that are fuzzy in your mind. Same for things you don’t care about. Make me care about you as a person and I’ll be more likely to remember you as a talent I’ve listened to.
  3. Similarly, use personal appearances and one-on-one opportunities (even on the phone) to deliberately engage listeners you meet on as personal a level as they will allow. The power of one-on-one is a double-edged sword; you’re going to be perceived as aloof or engaging. You pick.
  4. Create benchmarks that are in line with listeners’ values, expectations, station image and you personally. If I’m listening to the station for something I like and the talent heightens that experience, I’m more likely to recall that talent – and in a positive way.
  5. Become a more interesting talker. Replace “geek talk” (minutiae, execution, rules, etc) with phrasing that paints mental pictures, creates associations, or tackles topics in a fresh, surprising way. Imagine how you’d tell a friend about a great meal or funny experience you had, or about a most interesting person you recently met. You’ll cut through the wasteland of “DJ talk,” clichés and hype.

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