Thursday, December 30, 2010

Growing You Audience in 2011: Try a Wii Bit of Subtraction

When we think about growing audience, we often think about adding things. In fact, subtraction is often a better strategy.

I thought about this as I read a post-Christmas Tweet from someone expressing disappointment that their Wii didn’t play Blu-rays.

Granted, a Wii with a Blu-ray player could be useful for some owners, but having that ability isn’t central to the Wii’s core benefits. And, if the Wii were to retain its price point, what would have to be sacrificed to add this feature, and how would that sacrifice negatively impact the Wii’s overall experience in terms of its primary appeal?

Most radio perceptual studies include a segment on music as a tool to build audience. Usually it involves identifying a popular music style and then adding, one at a time, additional adjacent music styles in order to increase the size of the audience. At a certain point however, the addition of too many adjacent styles begins to shrink rather than grow the size of the coalition as these additions off-put more listeners than they attract.

Over time, a station can accumulate any number of additional, adjacent components. While some of these “augmented benefits” could induce some additional buying, some may be repelling it.

Periodically review your product, subtracting things that compromise your “core competencies” (why listeners choose you over a competitor), create barriers to increased consumption, or that actually contract the size of your audience.

Enabling the Wii to play Blu-rays could conceivably sell a few more devices, but if those sales come at the expense of the gaming experience or the brand position, it’s a bad strategy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gen Y's Top Artsts

The end of the year always brings lists and quizzes. Here’s one of interest: Gen-Y’s Top 77 singers/bands/musicians.

Anderson Analytics polled 1000 college students (survey limits noted) asking, “Who is your favorite musician/band currently?”

Want to guess how many country artists are on the list? How many are in the top 20? Who they might be? (Continue when you’re ready).

The answers are: six acts in the top 77 and four in the top 20: Taylor Swift (1), Jason Aldean (13), Rascal Flatts (16), Miranda Lambert (20), Carrie Underwood (38) and Brad Paisley (58).

This is a diverse Top 10 list (see it here) which includes Linkin Park (2), Lady Gaga (3) and the Beatles (#6).

Music Marketer Greg Rollett says of Gen-Y’s music tastes, “The hybrid of music is here to stay. The millennial generation, along with the younger teens and tweens are living in a society that is multicultural in nature, not knowing a country divided by race for most of the rural and even urban cities…the message is more important than the race or ethnicity of a person”

With Gen Y’s making up a good portion of 18-34s, about 1/3 of whom cume country, their interests warrant attention.

As Anderson’s Top 77 list certainly points out, age isn’t the sole indicator of taste.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thanks Gerry House - You've Helped Us All Build a Stronger "Foundation"

Thank you, Gerry House.

For 3 decades you’ve showed us how to craft shows that compel listeners to be willing, habitual consumers.

Content "foundations" of the House Foundation included a balance of humor and heart-tuggers, country and mass appeal content, authoritative and self-deprecating content, and stories that were both personal and universal.

Shows were peppered with memorable stories and (sometimes) improbable characters that rang true because they were rooted in our own lives or in the stereotypes we’ve either encountered or imagined we might encounter at the Walmart or some country bar near us (can’t you just SEE Mack Truck?).

Tonight I'm imagining Gerry’s huge local following, many of whom I perceive are facing mornings with the same emptiness one might feel after looking in the mirror knowing that earlier this week you had one of your front teeth extracted.

So I can’t help but wonder tonight why, less than 18 hours after such a significant page in Nashville radio history has been turned, can Gerry’s story possibly be the THIRD story on the WSIX website flipper?

Note to programmers (with no disrespect to anyone): Move at the pace of your listeners. Be neither too far ahead nor ever behind where your listeners are. Whether it’s music or major station events, be in sync with your audience. Today’s hot news/songs/artists/contests will moves to the ‘back page’ fast enough. Make sure you get your money’s worth before you too move on.

Note to Gerry: Like so many of us in radio, I’m both a fan and a debtor - appreciative of your contributions to radio as a whole and our format specifically.

And if you DO decide to come to New York for a vacation, I’d be honored to be your tour guide or at least make a few restaurant recommendations.

Oh, one more thing - here in New Jersey, we have a different definition of "God speed;" 75%  of all limited access highways have a speed limit of 65.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The "Best" Or "Most" Wasn't Enough

Sometimes it's not about the “best” or “most” or any superlative. Sometimes it’s not about anything tangible at all. Sometimes it’s just about how you “feel.”

Like Cliff Lee’s decision to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies instead of going for the (presumably) best location (closest to home) or the most (no presumption here - 7 years’ worth of it) money.

Along this road to Citizen's Bank Park there was plenty of spectacle - although these didn’t stem from the physical either. Instead, it was silence-driven, suspense fueled talk and theories that drove attention to the sport, the teams involved, and Lee.

Listeners love stories, spectacle, and content that makes them feel something. This story had all that plus a surprise ending.

Baseball may not be your listeners’ passion, but the Cliff Lee saga contained the tenets of what makes a great radio story: a journey that unfolded a chapter at a time, engaging listeners, stirring passion, creating mystery, and causing talk.

Oh, and one more thing – it temporarily took the spotlight off the New York Jets.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why FOX Likes Radio

If you’re outside the industry, it seems almost fashionable to find reasons not to like “heritage” media like radio.

But Wednesday, at the Arbitron Client Conference/Jacob's Summit 15Yvonne Lacey, FOX Broadcasting’s Media Supervisor, took the opposite position. FOX like radio – a lot.

Pointing out that the FOX Network originally launched exclusively with radio and in so doing created the TV spending category for radio, Yvonne shared some reasons why FOX finds radio a good partner, as well as the network’s perception of radio - pro and con

Here are some highlights.

Why FOX Likes Radio:

• Works well with other medium, enhancing buys on TV, cable

• Allows creative ways to promote; can mirror their products’ image

• Longer-length spots drive critical messages while shorter length spots solidify image

What Radio Does for FOX:

• Elevates awareness and promotes tune-in for FOX shows

• Includes on-air and on-line elements in a unique way (such as Glee audio via ftp site)

• Can mobilize listeners, particularly for FOX casting calls

• Can leverage talents’ passion for FOX shows and, in a quid pro quo, FOX supplies the talent with exclusive content, interviews, swag and more allowing audiences to perceive the talent as the expert on popular shows

• Utilizes on air and online for creative, multi-platform promotions and special content spots plus online banners, streaming and e-blasts to ‘accessorize’

• Unique promotional prizes and contest fulfillment

FOX also had some advice for radio, including improving digital accountability, making commercials more engaging, better integrating spots and marketing efforts, and taking a hard look at commercial-free policies.

But back to what FOX likes. I’ll bet your station has clients who can cite these and other benefits from their affiliation with you. Share those stories.

Or perhaps these bullets will stimulate addition thought on ways to serve an existing client, present your station to a potential new client, or create or enhance an on air or online programming element.

Feel free to share here. Your reaction, stories and ideas are always welcome!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Database Membership: So Few Contributing So Much

For plenty of businesses (radio included), a small number of consumers account for a disproportionately large percentage of consumption.

So it’s not surprising that our database, texting and points programs are subject to the same principles.

Still, seeing the statistics on station database/club participation that DMR Interactive President and COO Tripp Eldredge shared today at the Arbitron fly-in are worth some consideration:

• Less than 10% of most stations’ database members have been active with the station in the past 6 months

• Only 6.5% of most stations’ database members are actively involved in their station's “points program.” Of those that participate, 21% drive 80% of the activity

• Just 13% of text club members drive 80% of the messages with the vast majority only text station once a month

Because people are constantly leaving databases (actually or virtually opting out), “growing” membership may really mean standing still.

So here’s a thinking point: how active (or even how large) your database is, is at least in part a function of the value members feel they receive vs. the time they invest to participate.

Music panel participation rates dwindling? Not getting the response you once were to your emails or text clubs or other database-related outreach? Database not growing?

Consider increasing the value to the listener for their time invested.

Increasing the value of your website content could improve activity there, too.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Yes, But...

If you only look at the AQH Persons composition, you could write country off as an older-appeal format. Yes, the largest AQH cell is clearly 45-54 and yes, the 18+ AQH composition ranges from a low of 9.7% 18-24 to a high of 21.6% 45-54.

But the data released this week by the Research Director, Inc. and Inside Radio also shows that country has strength on the young end too, particularly in cume.

Unlike AQH persons, the cume rating by demo varies only slightly – about 4% -- between the data’s polar ends of 18-34 and 35-64 – much more homogenous than the data released so far show other formats.

Again, looking at the young-to-old variance but this time in shares, there’s only about a 10% difference from the polar ends – 3.6 to 3.9. The share differential is much greater across gender than age.

While the format (all stations combined) has a higher market rank as age increases – 18-34 (6th), 18-49 (5th), 25-54 (4th) and 35-64 (3rd) – individual stations rank best 18-34 then rank progressively lower through 25-54: 18-34 (6th), then 18-49 (8th) and 25-54 (9th). Even the 35-64 ranker has country 7th.

There’s a lot of data additional in the report including the impact of P1s (50% of country’s AQH comes from P1s which is a higher percent than any of the four other formats released to date including AC, Urban AC, Rock and Classic Rock), and that country’s P1 TSL is lower than all these except Urban Contemporary.

Plus, as CBS Radio VP of country programming Jeff Garrison observed in Monday’s Inside Radio, country is nearly a non-ethnic format (only 9% Black and Hispanic). That’s a factor now in urban markets and could be more so in the immediate future when the 2010 census is incorporated into Arbitron estimates.

But back to the format’s broad, healthy cuming: the most successful country stations will be those that best serve three generations of listeners with engaging, common denominator content, songs with passion across demos, relevance and in an environment that “feels good” every day and daypart.

Friday, November 26, 2010

“Black Friday” Radio: Urgency, Anticipation and Mood

Ask a consumer psychologist about the factors that drive Black Friday and you’ll likely hear about urgency, anticipation, and the shopping experience.

Urgency – Stores' short, special sale hours, promotions, limited supplies and  real, artificial or implied scarcity driving consumer feelings of “get it now” or “miss out on today and you’ll be sorry."

Anticipation – Store strategies that have consumers looking forward to and planning Black Friday visits, in effect making time-specific appointments with shoppers and promising pay offs big enough to change their habits.

Shopping Mood/Experience – Smart retailers knows that Black Friday shopping is emotional and "part of an energized movement.” They may subscribe to the convergence theory  of like-minded people gathering for a common goal or to a self-feeding theory on crowds, but ultimately stores that hat engage their customers through multiple channels and provide a strong shopping experience will compete at a different level than those that simply conduct transactions.

Thursday of course is the day most stations focus on.

But what if each component on our station was an individual brick and mortar store whose success or failure was largely driven by urgency, anticipation and mood?

How would we have done on Black Friday?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A + B = $

It’s one thing to use social media to market to people who are aware of who you are and what you’re selling.

But what about those who don’t yet know about you or don't yet know that they need your product?

That’s the subject of this Chris Brogan post, “Two Sides of Marketing,” which could be a great topic for your next sales meeting.

Here’s a snippet.

“Some marketing is designed to convince you that your life would be better if you had this (we’ll call that the A side). Other marketing is designed to find the people who are actually seeking that and give them more education to help them make a decision (this, we’ll call B). When I look at how we use social media more often than not, it’s for B and not A. We usually use social media to listen for the people who are expressing an interest in a product or service that we offer, and then we give them content like blog posts and videos to help them better understand how much better the world would be once you really get the product or service that you want…The A-side of marketing, the “ADVERTISING” side of marketing, still has to sneak in between what we know and what we NEED (being bombastic and smirky here) to know, so that we can then help educate people (the “BRIDGING” side of marketing) that it’s what they want.”

I’ll bet you can find some businesses in your market that would benefit greatly from adding your “A” to their “B.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CRS 2011: What Will You Take Away?

CRS, the Country Radio Seminar, is one of the great learning conventions. The 2011 agenda has relevant sessions no matter where you are on the “experience continuum.”

Have a conversation about CRS and it won't be long before the discussion turns to a specific panel, keynote or take-away that had a positive impact on the attendees job performance or perhaps even life experience.

One of the most memorable and meaningful sessions I've attended was Lou Holtz’ 1997 riveting keynote, “What’s Important Now.” Whether you're pursuing a personal (improving your life) or professional goal (like meeting a deadline, coaching talent, moving your station forward, or working to deliver the highest possible quality product), doing "What's Important Now" is a simple yet powerful plan of action that keeps you focused on achievement.

I’ve been inspired by Lou’s speech for years. That hour alone was worth the entire trip and I'm so glad I didn't miss it.

I hope you don’t miss CRS 2011. I also hope you don’t miss the discount rate of $399 which is good through Friday. After that it will cost you $100 more - which is still a bargain.

Finally, in the CRS spirit of sharing, I hope you'll leave a comment about a Seminar experience that still resonates with you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just A FEW More Awards From Last Night

Was that a great CMA Awards Show or what?

Unfortunately, just like Thanksgiving dinner, there’s so much hype/anticipation/excitement/work that leads up to it that it’s over all too quickly.

Just like any good holiday meal, there ought to be a few ‘left-overs.’ So in that spirit, here are my left-overs: the “Post-Show Awards.”

Feel free to add your own!

Of COURSE Country Singers Can Sing Live Award: Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson/As She’s Walking Away. Multiple runners-up, notably Carrie Underwood, Lady A, Dierks Bentley and (insert up to three of your favorite performances here).

Performance With A Purpose Award: Taylor Swift in a very mature setting playing piano with strings as accompaniment. Nothing says ex-cheerleader like this.

Fastest Costume Change Award: Jennifer Nettles. Less than a second.

Best Hat Award: Kristian Bush: For his top hat. He wore a different one for Sugarland's "Duo" acceptance speech. Honorable mention: Kid Rock and Zac Brown (OK, Zac didn't really wear a ‘hat’ per se, but “Best Head Covering” – while more accurate - is just too cumbersome for an award title).

Most Gracious Acceptance Line Award: Lady A’s Dave Haywood: “We love you all and it's an honor to be in the category with you."

Best National Commercial: Taylor Swift CD. Honorable Mentions: Chevy (a Dog and A Chevy) and HP (baby going 70 mph wheelie-thingy).

Sigh of Disappointment Award: ABC’s The Middle “CMA Salute” promos. Nice Awards show but you still don't get it, do you?

You Lookin’ At Me (and not really a camera) Award: Reba during her performance. Does she get the most out of a camera or what? Wow.

Performance That Exceeded (REALLY Exceeded) Even High Expectations: Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson (DAY-um!)

Best 20-second Cover: Little Big Town covering Taylor Swift

Best Performance of a Country Song Disguised as a Rock Song: “Born Free”/Kid Rock

Best Hug By A Fiancée: Miranda Lambert after Blake was announced as Male Vocalist of the Year

I’m Really Torqued They Didn’t Get To Sing their Whole Song Award: Band Perry (I played “If I Die Young” during the next 3 commercial breaks and it STILL didn’t come close to make up for having this GREAT song and performance cut short) 

Mispronunciation Award: Sheryl Crow. Everyone knows that Loretta Lynn taught us that the correct pronunciation or “washboard” is “WARSH-board” (just like "tired" is correctly pronounced “tarred”).

Best Line of the Night: Miranda Lambert on being named Female Vocalist of the Year: “I just told Blake I think we need to go to Church.” Runner up: Brad Paisley on Joe Galante.

Can't wait till next year!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Take 10: 10 Show Strategies and Tactics You Can Use Right Now

You know how when you’re reading about one thing and you’re struck with how the concepts also apply to something else?

That happened to me as I was reading 10 Steps to More Scientific Social Media Marketing by Dan Zarrella  . While I was reading about Dan’s topic, I was thinking how each of his 10 points also applied to preparing a winning show.

I’ve paraphrased Dan’s 10 points and changed the topic from Social Media Marketing to Show Development. See what you think (and be sure to use the link above to read Dan’s original article).

1.Iterate what works. Do this both for benchmark-type elements of the show (to keep existing benchmarks fresh, evolve old ones, and create new ones) and for your daily content (have multiple “takes” on the same subject).

2. Audience size matters. Obviously pleasing fans is important, but also be cume-aware to keep your show from becoming overly fan-centric and at the expense of growing cume.

3. Find and target influencers. In politics, estimates are that social tools connect with 1% of the voters who are most engaged in your message and that these in turn will influence another 9%. While our ratio may be different, embracing and empowering fans pays dividends.

4. Bigger and louder works – to a point. I’m all about being an occasional spectacle, but great content is the key to loyal, recurring listenership.

5. Personalize. You and me, in your car, on our way home from work – that’s the litmus test for how we talk and what we talk about. Also, “I’m talking about what you’re talking about” only from a more creative, entertaining, fun, interesting, etc. perspective that compels you to listen daily.

6. Don’t wear your audience out. Don’t allow your “content” to be dominated by “do this,” “go here,” and “call now.” Most listeners came to be entertained, not to have new tasks added to their day.

7. Help your audience look cool. What are you including in your show today that will make me smarter, more clever, look better in my friends’ and co-workers’ eyes?

8. Be the authority. Be out in front of everything you can.

9. Avoid too much talk about yourself. Engage others; let listeners see themselves in the stories you tell. Listen more. Same for your social media efforts; make it a conversation not just an oratory.

10. Don’t forget calls-to-action. Use appointments, deadlines, promote-aheads of exclusive content, urgent language, and social media to engage listeners in current and future shows.

Are any of these working for you now? Have any others you’d like to share?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall Rituals: Raking and Writing

Fresh, fun, topical imaging on your station stands out like a just-raked yard in fall. And this time of the year provides plenty of opportunities for writing (and raking).

What will you write for: Halloween, Election Day, the change from Daylight Savings Time, Veterans’ Day/Remembrance Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve/Day?

Plus weekend chores, 4th quarter movie releases, and likely a number of local events.

Put a stationality spin on your writing, have fun, attract attention. Sound real and listener-focused. Communicate core values. Be brief, sincere and creative.

Just don’t miss the opportunity.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Radio 2010: Listening and Lifestyle Profiles...and Coaching Tool

National ratings data and lifestyle information on the major formats is again available for free in the newly released Radio Today 2010 pdf from Arbitron. Download it free here.

There's lots of good news for country:

• Fall 2009’s combined (PPM and Diary) country share was 13.4% (4.4%/4th in PPM markets and 14.1%/1st in diary markets). That’s the highest share the format has delivered since spring 2002.

• Country radio’s reach is second only to AC.

• The format was number one in every daypart except mornings (#2 behind New/Talk/Information). It was also #1 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54. It was #2 18-24, 55-64 and 65+. 18-24 was the “growth demographic” and has been “up steadily in recent years.”

• 26% of the AQH audience is 18-34 and 42% is 18-44. 18-34s aren’t just cumers; their TSL of 6:30 is just under the 7:00 average 12+ and close to the 7:00 for 25-54 and 7:30 for 35-64.

Non-ratings information on the country audience includes education (half have attended or graduated college), earnings (half live in households earning $50,000 or more), home ownership (70%) and interests (country audiences index high on outdoor activities and slightly above the norm on texting).

For programmers, one of the most useful pieces of data in any Arbitron report is the Audience Composition graph (the Radio 2010 AQH Composition for country is shown). Running graphs for cume and AQH give you a 'big picture' look at both plus the relationship between them.

After checking rankings and PPDV/PPM Weight, Audience Composition is usually the next place I go when breaking out ratings.
My expectations are that the 'comps' will roughly mirror our targeting (usually it does). But when it doesn't, it triggers a series of questions: from 'Is this an aberration?" to an overall evaluation of the relevance and ‘welcoming-ness’ of key station elements.

An Audience Composition graph can also be a talent coaching tool, particularly if you're concerned that a show isn't as aligned with the audience as it should be. Compare a multi-book average of the station's and the show's Audience Composition. If there are undesirable differences, challenge the talent to cite the specific audience appeal for the show overall as well as its specific features and content pieces.

Comparing their perceived targets to the show’s Audience Composition might be what you need to offer congratulations or to shake things up a bit.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Like THIS for Example

Sometimes a good example is the best way to make your point.

That was what Jon Robbins, Operations Manager/Adventure Radio Group/Savannah thought when he used a Mediabase monitor to issue a “What content do you have planned for Monday’s show?” challenge to his morning shows.

Jon told me, “I saw (the WMJI/Cleveland show highlights) on Mediabase and thought WOW, look at all this great ‘compelling’ content that this show covered in ONE morning. I wished that I had listened – this makes me want to listen – so I decided to share with my Morning guys and ask them what do they have planned for Monday? Cause this is what it will take to get to #1 like John Lanigan.”

Here’s the content Jon shared:

* A new study shows that one in 10 residents of New York City have bedbugs.

* Hosts discussed details of the recent news story about three Florida kids, ages 15, 13, and 11, who saved their babysitting money, bought airline tickets and flew Southwest Airlines to Nashville, Tennessee to visit Dollywood, which is actually in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

* A 27 year-old London man parked illegally and found his car “clamped” and was ordered by police to pay the fine and the towing fee, even though the car had not yet been towed. So, knowing they wouldn’t tow the car with a passenger in it, he sat inside the vehicle for the next 30 hours.

* LeBron James was on the cover of “GQ” magazine, and in the interview, spoke about a city rivalry between Akron and Cleveland.

* A couple who went on vacation is suing their realtor for using their house and their possessions while they were gone for “unauthorized sexual escapades,” resulting in stained sheets, furniture, carpets and other surfaces. Century 21 paid $7,000 in repairs, and the agent was fired.

* President Obama was scheduled to come to Columbus on monitor day to encourage voters “not to give in to fear.”

* Hosts discussed the latest round of political commercials, specifically, Ohio state politicians.

* The trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had ended with the jury deadlocked on 23 counts. He was found guilty on one count of lying to the FBI. Blagojevich was planning to appeal the conviction and the state was planning to retry him on the other 23 counts.

* The West Wing of the White House is currently covered in a white tarp. Hosts wondered what was going on under there.

* President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 44%, the lowest of his presidency so far.

* A twice-convicted murderer has been turned down for parole again, after letters surfaced that he had written to the family of the people he murdered, detailing how he would kill them too as soon as he was released.

* A listener poll was underway on the station’s web site. Listeners were asked to visit the site and answer this question: “Who would you rather see back in Cleveland first, Art Modell or LeBron James?” Hosts discussed each of the men.

* John read several listener emails, one from a Cleveland listener who moved to San Diego and now listens online. Other emails referenced topics of conversation from earlier in the current Morning Show.

* Hosts discussed several of the newer TV shows, such as “Hot In Cleveland,” and “Rubicon.”

* A bicyclist was seen, wearing nothing but a helmet. Police want to know his identity.

* Laurie read several listener emails regarding the Florida kids who flew to Nashville, with various responses.

* A “Newsweek” article, “The Best Countries in the World,” lists the Top 10 countries in which to live as: #1 Finland, #2 Switzerland, #3 Sweden, #4 Australia, #5 Luxembourg, #6 Norway, #7 Canada, #8 The Netherlands, #9 Japan, and #10 Denmark.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

From Audience Killer to Great Radio in Two Steps

The well-intentioned representative from (insert name of local charity here) comes to your studio and wants to tell you in great detail how your listeners can help out or make a donation. Unfortunately, a lot of listeners didn’t hang around for the specifics because they were never motivated to participate in the first place.

An artist is your guest and usually wants to talk about their latest CD, upcoming show, or something else they have going on right now. Listeners, disappointed they didn’t something personal or ‘behind the scenes,’ drift away as you play and the artist talks about his previously unheard song.

Both of these are audience killers.

You can’t blame your local guests; they’re rarely professional communicators. They don’t know what to say to make people respond. You can’t blame the artist; they’re in the moment and often just trying to get through yet another radio interview from another jock that really isn’t prepared beyond a few basics.

But here’s the thing: you can turn each into compelling radio if you 1) control the agenda that 2) finds and focuses on the Emotional Center.

Your agenda for the local guest is to find the Emotional Center in the story and use it to make listeners WANT to participate. Listeners can figure out HOW later. But if you don’t get me to WANT, you surely won’t get me to HOW.

Here’s a real example: a hospice spokesperson appeared on a morning show and spent 3 minutes talking about the responsibilities, requirements and sign-up procedures are for becoming a volunteer but never once gave listeners a reason to WANT to do this.

Audience killer.

But imagine the listener reaction if the interview started with and stuck to an Emotional Center: perhaps how spokesperson witnessed the daughter of a terminal patient put her arm around a hospice volunteer and, with a smile and a tear, told the volunteer how much she’d meant to her dad these last weeks, how much her kindness was appreciated, and how she’d always be a member of their family.

Find and tell a story like this and you’ll have great radio and a line of volunteers.

Similarly, while an artist may want to talk about a single or a new CD or an upcoming show, you have the chance to make if far more of an event for listeners if you create an agenda that includes mystery, a look behind the scenes, or that engages the artist in a way that reveals the artist as a person behind the star - itself an Emotional Center.

That’s the agenda Steve Stewart, WTNR/Grand Rapids’ OM/AM host of Scrubs in the Morning used for his Tuesday morning interview with Toby Keith. They got around to the new music, but not before Toby was talking like the golf playing, football-loving guy next door. You can listen to it including a feature called the “30 Second Meet & Greet” where a listener gets to end the call with 30 seconds to ask or tell the guest whatever they want.

Have an Agenda/Emotional Center interview story to share?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The “Sooner or Later” Tightrope

One of the highlights of the Management Circus is the high wire act – where the “needs of now” on one side are balanced against "longer term objectives" on the other.

If you’re walking this tightrope on a daily basis (as so many of us are), Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi and Saatchi says you need two things: a plan and a list.

The plan is a “100 Day Plan” - an aid in helping you accomplish what is important over time. A 100 day plan says Roberts, “lifts your eyes, mind and heart up off the pavement and out to the horizon. It cuts a path through detail swamps and meeting deserts to create action…(to) help you keep on track with what’s most important” vs. what’s just urgent.

Hyperbole notwithstanding, this is good advice.

Get started by listing 10 major objectives you need to accomplish in 100 days or less. For each item on the list, Kevin recommends starting with an action verb and using no more than 3 words:

“Win vs. France, Rehab left knee, Win US Presidency… Make sure each action is measurable and that each one is a stretch. You’ll know when something is a real stretch and when you’re just creating a list with things you can tick off. Review your list every Friday morning. When the 100 Days comes round, the goal is to have each item checked off.”

The second suggestion is maintaining a simple to-do list.

Don’t scoff.

The simple “to do” list was a tool of Thomas Edison (among others) who said it helped him avoid being “consumed by the urgent at the expense of the important.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The 50 Minute Oil Change - 50 Ideas for Your Morning Show

Thanks to all who attended the standing room only panel Tommy Kramer and I presented Friday, 7/16/10 at Conclave 35. And a very special thanks to all the great morning show talent who so generously gave of their time and creativity and created a video for us to share (you're credited in the list below). Your efforts were appreciated by us all!

In creating the panel, Tommy and I wanted to share not only just great turnkey bits, but techniques and philosophies that could make you think differently about your show.

It’s no surprise that we couldn’t fit everything into our 50 minutes, but you can download the complete list at

Here are a dozen to whet your appetite. And, in the spirit of sharing, it would be great if you could leave an ideas too!

1. Developing an Alter Ego enables you to expand the boundaries of what you can do on your show (Kevin Matthews/WLAV)

2. Keep a diary and share it with other players on the show, using it as a jumping off point for content ideas. For bonus points, have artists who visit your studio make up a song based on your journal/diary entries (Wally , WAY-FM Nashville—using his 6th grade journal.)

3. I am T-Pain iPhone AutoTune App: hilarious for you or listeners to “sing” a song about virtually anything.

4. Your own family traditions can be the inspiration for large promotions (Tim Leary/WCTK)

5. Take the show outside the studio for the betterment of the community/world (Cliff Dumas/KSON and Bob Rivers/KZOK)

6. What’s a guy thinking (male talent gives absurd rationale for dumb things guys do)

7. Just before the break, hold a 5-second huddle to remind yourselves of you point, your close, and how you’re evolving the break

8. Brainstorm with others in the building; you’ll get different subjects and different perspectives on the same subject

9. Morning show team members: listen to each other for potential material (J and Julian/WBBM)

10. Study the art of storytelling and learn to be good at it; this is a life as well as a career benefit.

11. The new rule for evaluating phone calls: “too good not to air” vs. “good enough to air.”

12. Courage is essential if you’re going to go from “OK” to “great.”

Don't forget to download all 50 here and, if you'd can, leave one of your own ideas.
Have a great show!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The 50 Minute Oil Change

Thanks to all who attended the standing room only panel Tommy Kramer and I presented Friday, 7/16/10 at The Conclave. And a very special thanks to all who created a video for us to share (credits in parentheses). Your efforts were appreciated by us all!

In creating the panel, Tommy and I wanted to share not only some great bits, but techniques and philosophies that could make you think differently about your show.

It’s no surprise that we couldn’t get to everything in our 50 minutes but you can download the complete list at

Here are a dozen to whet your appetite.

1. Developing an Alter Ego enables you to expand the boundaries of what you can do on your show (Kevin Matthews/WLAV)

2. Keep a diary and share it with other players on the show and use it as a jumping off point for content ideas. For bonus points, have artists who visit your studio make up a song based on your journal/diary entries (Wally , WAY-FM Nashville—using his 6th grade journal.)

3. I am T-Pain iPhone AutoTune App: hilarious for you or listeners to “sing” a song about virtually anything.

4. Your own family traditions can be the inspiration for large promotions (Tim Leary/WCTK)

5. Take the show outside the studio for the betterment of the community/world (Cliff Dumas/KSON and Bob Rivers/KZOK)

6. What’s a guy thinking: male talent gives absurd rationale to defend dumb things guys do

7. Just before the break, hold a 5-second huddle to remind yourselves of you point, your close, and how you’re evolving the break

8. Brainstorm with others in the building; you’ll get different subjects plus different perspectives on the same subject

9. Morning show team members: listen to each other for potential material (J and Julian/WBBM)

10. Study the art of storytelling and learn to be good at it; this is a life as well as a career benefit.

11. The new rule for evaluating phone calls: “too good not to air” vs. “good enough to air.”

12. Courage is essential if you’re going to grow from “OK” to “great.”

Have an idea, technique, bit or philosophy you'd like to share? Post a comment.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

'Clave Rave

I've blogged previously about the great learning experience that is the Country Radio Seminar (CRS). But the Conclave too gets terrific marks for its learning conference - this year dubbed “i35 – Freeway to Your Future” - which concluded yesterday.

I was there as both a presenter of a morning show development panel with terrific talent coach Tommy Kramer (download notes from our session Tuesday afternoon at and also as an attendee – mostly the social media and Internet-related panels.

I answered Art Vuolo’s question on the value of the Conclave by saying it’s about sharing what you know with others while being exposed to new ideas and experiences in return.

In that spirit, here are some ideas I shared and some others I'm passing along:

  • The number one enemy of any show is irrelevant content.

  • “Curation” is a big opportunity. People like someone – including a friend – to tell them what’s important, relevant and valuable.

  • Follow people who follow you on Twitter; reciprocation makes people feel more engaged with you. Thanking people for following you makes you visible to that person’s followers as well.

  • The new success formula for advertisers is “empower, demonstrate and involve/engage;” these replace the old formula of “inform, persuade, and remind.”

  • Podcasts = action. 71% of a podcast’s listeners will visit a website, 62% will consider a new product or service, and 60% will gather more about info about product.

  • Yes, DO think of digital platforms as more than just new avenues of product distribution. And DO think about new ways to delight users with platform-specific content. And DO be aggressive in creating apps that people actually want. But first, fix your stream!

Thanks, Conclave for inviting me to present a panel this year – and to leave with some new ideas to share with others.

Anything YOU’D like to share?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Six Attributes of Premium Brands: How Many Does Your Station Have?

I really like Starbucks' coffee.

I seek it out (fortunately that's not usually difficult) and willingly pay more for it.
To me it's a unique coffee experience (especially the rich, earthy, smoky, intense and satisfying French Roast) that's well worth the reasonably higher price.

I like to share my Starbucks experiences with other Starbucks fans and in turn hear what they enjoy.

Even outside of the coffee, I like Starbucks as a company – their history, initiatives, new products and promotions.

Uniqueness, customer loyalty, higher price point, distribution, promotions and back story: these six attributes that make Starbucks a Premium Brand for me are in fact characteristics shared by most Premium Brands.

How many of these Premium Brand attributes does your station have?

Uniqueness – From packaging to process, Premium Brands have clear elements of differentiation. They also introduce unique new variations of their basic products. Remembering that nuance is lost on most listeners, what most clearly and positively sets you apart from competitors? How are you promoting/exploiting it? What new, unique features or listener-experiences have you launched recently?

Customer Loyalty and Evangelism – Premium Brand customers demonstrate their brand loyalty by sharing their stories about your brand and hearing similar stories from fellow Premium Brand customers. “Pull marketing,” word of mouth, and public endorsements/consumption are part of the core marketing strategy. Are you making it easy for listeners to spread the word about you and interact with you and others about what you’re going?

Higher Pricing – customers expect to pay a realistically higher price, but consumers of Premium Brands still need to feel that they are getting value and receiving a premium experience. The higher the commercial load, the stronger the entertainment value must be. But price is not limited to just commercials; consider costs like the monetary investment or extra steps necessary to listen to your product on other platforms. Is the end experience worth the cost?

Distribution: Speaking of platforms, Premium Brands are widely available. Is your station missing any distribution channels?

Promotion: Many Premium Brands support or dominate niche events (like Red Bull’s involvement in extreme or dangerous sports). Others engage in particularly creative promotions (like Mattel’s Barbie dressed in designer clothes and walking the runway during New York City’s Fashion Week). Starbucks is involved in multiple community and global initiatives. Are there promotional or philanthropic opportunities in your market that you could own that would enhance your station’s brand image among your target listeners?

Back story: To tell a brand’s true back story, some have produced “promotumentaries” for the brand’s website or TV (Patron tequila has done a great job with its back story). A Microsoft study found that “...helping consumers build up their knowledge about a product is what turns casual interest into a premium sale”. What’s your station’s story? Why did it come about? What was your original strategic mission? Is there a powerful story you can tell?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Going Once...

Just for fun, I went on e-Bay to see what $399 would buy (for a limited time, $399 is the cost of registering for CRS 2011). I found some cool things but none appeard helpful in furthering a radio career.

A pair of binoculars (90x80 Professional) – techy, yes, but they won’t help you see the future of our industry.

A GPS device for golfers – it might help you find your lost ball, but it won’t help you find new listeners.

A pair of Bruno Magli Raging Venetian black loafers (10 D, pre-owned) – I suppose looking like a "raging Venetian" could help you appear successful, but these probably won't do too much to help you actually BE successful.

A pair of Chanel classic patent gold logo pumps (ladies size 11.5 – new with defects). Really? $400 for defective shoes?

$399 worth of services from a resume writer – which you won’t need because of all the impressive ideas you’ll bring back to your station.

A La Perla Black Label Litterae Bra/Thong 36B/M (no, really, they're for sale for $399).

You can check e-Bay too, but my suspicion is that the $399 you spend registering for CRS, March 2-4, 2011, will be money well spent on your career. Register here. Don't worry, you won't be outbid.

Spending time with your fellow broadcasters, sharing ideas, and creating solutions to problems sounds like a far better way to blow your own horn than buying that $399 used saxophone.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Means To An End?

I’m all for any advance that will improve ratings accuracy and preciseness – starting with sample/panel size – so I’m certainly not dismissing Arbitron’s announcement of its PPM 360 technology out of hand.

Instead, I’ll share this December post from former Arbitron Senior Vice President, Ratings Services, Jay Guyther and hope that this news – and more importantly and also announced today, the news that Arbitron has purchased IMMI’s cellular phone-based technology that captures consumer cross-platform media usage – is all a means to a good end: larger panels at lower cost.

As radio audiences continue to fragment, there will be an increased demand for larger sample sizes. In the U.S., Arbitron’s PPM panels are one-third the size of the previous quarterly diary sample…

"For continued success, development of new generations of meters must be continuous and come much faster. The costs, both the equipment costs and the system operating costs, must be greatly reduced so sample sizes can be substantially larger making electronic measurement more attractive and affordable to more markets.

“The ability to efficiently and inexpensively embed signal identification technology into a consumers existing personal electronic device, while maintaining the necessary research quality, is the only solution to building large cost-effective panels…

I’m hoping that today’s steps are two of many that will be quickly taken to that end.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Horn Of Plenty

I was brainstorming with a morning show this past Monday about the World Cup when the discussion turned to the fun potential of the vuvuzela as content.

We considered its radio applications…

…improving a song or two by adding a few, inappropriately placed vuvuzela riffs

…using it as a contest sounder, for a right answer or wrong answer, or when someone on the show agreed, disagreed or got tired of a team member’s content

…as an alternative for a song that has high burn; spending just a few seconds at the online, commercial-free radio station playing all vuvuzela all the time on line  might do a lot to lower “tired of” scores.

We considered its household potential…

…a very large drinking vessel (remember those ‘yard of beer’ glasses?), an alternative to a tripod, a waffle ball bat (with a large bat handle), as a golf club/polo club/javelin substitute 

We considered it as a device for public safety… a handy device to alert the bus driver that you want to get off at the next stop

…having a member of the show blow it at railroad crossings as an added alert to commuting motorists that a train was coming thinking that you might miss the flashing red light but not the vuvuzela

And we considered possible variations on its original purpose as a communication device…

…as a ringtone (at least 750,000 downloads have already happened)

…or for expressing your approval of a point made during next Sunday’s sermon

While search engine analytics suggest that the topic’s high point could have been reached yesterday, for a short while this was a talk about with good potential for fun (feel free to share anything you did).

Great shows are always finding content in the next talk-about – content they make uniquely their own with brilliant brainstorming.

Just ask if you need some brainstorming tips.

I’ll send them out as soon as the noise from the vuvuzelas dies down and I can concentrate a little better… ;->
photo credit: Flickr

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trash Talking

There are people who should ignore everything I say. For their own good, they shouldn’t even bother to strike up a conversation.

Like the restaurant I went to recently that wanted me to take a survey about my dining experience even though at best I won’t be anything more than a once a year customer. Why should they care what I think?

Similarly, a cruise line should stop trying to build a relationship with me. The idea of being trapped on a ship, taking days to get to where I could have flown to in hours, sounds tortuous to me. No offense to those of you who love this sort of vacation, it’s just not me – now or ever.

And just an hour ago a discount store wanted me to take a survey and in exchange would enter me to win a $5000 gift card. Why are you asking for my opinions? My wife is the one who shops here; I just stopped by to pick up a pair of socks. Even if I was tempted by the incentive and took the survey, how valuable (or misleading) would my answers be?

Hopefully the listeners you survey are the ones that matter, that will help you and your station achieve your goals. Hopefully because paying attention to spurious feedback, no matter how well intentioned, could be the ultimate trash talk.

With everything on our plates, it’s easy to let the chore of database maintenance wait until tomorrow. But garbage in/garbage out is a real problem.

Here are five things to do right now:
  • Make sure your sample matches your target. Study who’s responding to your questionnaires. Are they your target? Are you inviting feedback from people who can’t help you reach your goals? On one of our Albright & O’Malley Client Wide Conference Calls earlier this year, Presslaff Interactive Revenue’s Ruth Presslaff urged stations to regularly check their database metrics including demographics and their opt in/out rate.
  • Drill down to find listeners who have the deepest level of engagement with you and be sure you are including an appropriate number of them in your sample and reward them after the fact. Sharing some top-line results and recognizing those who regularly participate are two ways to keep hearing from those who are important to you. 
  • Because attrition make a panel less representative, continually look for ways to build the panel with targeted persons and eliminate factors which increase opt out or non-participation rates. Be creative. Distribute information about the panel in places where your most regular listeners are likely to visit – from websites to appearances.  
  • Limit the number of times you ask a panelist to take a survey. Over-sampling is one cause of panel erosion.

One man’s trash may be another man’s treasure – but not yours.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

"When You Come To A Fork In The Road...

…take it." 

It’s one of the great Yogi-isms of all times: When you have a decision to make, make it. 

Even if no one has ever made that particular decision before. Even if it goes against long-standing traditions. If it’s the right decision to make, make it.

Forks in the road come with three choices and three sets of consequences. Take the correct fork and your journey – real or metaphorical – likely moves on to its next fork with minimal or lesser consequences than if you made the wrong decision where you’ll likely suffer some consequences but, if you’re fortunate, have chance to retrace your steps and make a better choice.

Not taking a fork is the worst “decision” of all and carries the most severe consequences. Making no decision means you’ll have no chance to make the right choice - or to recover from a bad choice. The immobility of a non-decision makes you target practice for those who came to a fork and took one.

Brands (recently Tylenol, Toyota, BP, the federal government) are always coming to forks in the road. How a brand responds (or doesn’t) often has significant perceptual impact.

Today’s era of transparency includes owning up to and correcting an honest mistake; it's both expected and rewarded.

Umpire Jim Joyce chose such a fork last night by acknowledging he blew the call that cost Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. The consequences of the choice to admit this earned Joyce no small amount of respect from all sides.

"The guy had every bit of integrity. He faced the music. He stood there and took it…” Tiger’s manager Jim Leyland said of Joyce adding, “I'm taking about sincere. There was nothing phony about it. This guy was a mess. My heart goes out to him."

Armando Galarraga of course was at his own fork in the road. His choice was adopting a spirit of forgiveness which he publicly demonstrated by bringing the lineup card out to Joyce before today’s game. The consequences of that choice: applause from the fans (a nice choice of forks for them, too) and a tear from an emotional Joyce.

At 2:43 pm today, I was encouraged to learn that the brand called Major League Baseball which has come to a fork in the road because of all this, has promised to take one.

Personally I hope the fork that's ultimately taken (following an investigation – puh-leese make it quick) will be one that retroactively awards Armanda Galarraga a perfect game. Choosing this fork doesn’t mean I advocate instant more replay (I’m don’t) nor do I think that in the grand scheme of life this is a bellwether moment. It would however mean a lot to two people and (in my mind) a lot to the game and the MLB brand.

Still, choosing that fork will be a courageous, controversial, and one that goes against long-standing traditions.

But then that’s the nature of forks in the road – some are hard (especially it seems the ‘right’ fork). But business or baseball, when you come to a fork in the road, you have to take it.

Thanks, Yogi for the reminder.

Monday, May 31, 2010

To Tell A Story, Peel An Onion

I like stories. I like to hear them and I like to tell them. Because I know they're a powerful way to communicate, I've presented storytelling workshops to stations and at conventions to help people become better storytellers. 

Stories make you memorable and make what you say sticky. Stories are personal, interactive and engaging. Storytelling enables the quick, holistic understanding of a message without the listener having to absorb a mountain of facts or stream of data points.

Jeffrey Hedquist of Hedquist Productions, Inc.likes storytelling too - especially when the stories morph into effective radio ads.

Jeffrey who counts Clio, ADDY and EFFIE among the many awards he has won was a guest earlier this month on one of Albright & O'Malley's regular Client Wide Conference Calls. On the call Jeffrey shared his techniques for finding stories (look to your own past) and crafting them into effective ads (emotion is the key to a powerful story).

Jeffrey's story-to-ad process often involves what he calls "peeling the onion" - uncovering the emotional problem the product/business solves, noting "the more you peel the onion, the more powerful your commercial will be."

There's a wonderful scene (one of so many) in Mad Men where Don Draper (Jon Hamm) has been challenged to create an ad for a new piece of slide projector technology - the "wheel." The clients are expecting something quite different than what the get as Don peels the onion and delivers a powerful, emotional story about the real problem the Kodak Carousel solves.

Watch it here and be inspired to become a great storyteller for your clients.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Art of Falafel: Recipes for Exceptional Performance

The ubiquitous New York City street vendor. Whether serving up franks or falafel, these entrepreneurs compete for your attention and your business in a very crowded marketplace (think 3000+ competitors).

Yet many have a very loyal clientele and each year a few are awarded as the best of the best at the annual Vendy Awards - New York City’s annual awards for the Best Street Food Vendor (or, as Chef Mario Batali called them, “The Oscars of food for the real New York”).

Here are seven “not necessarily secret ingredients” Vendy Award winners know about pleasing customers along with some of the most frequently mentioned observations and accolades from the winners’ fans.

Product Superiority

Significantly better product quality was the most mentioned attribute. Fans used phrases like, “phenomenal,” “out of this world,” “unbelievable” and “not just a product to be sold but an experience.”

Good? That’s not nearly good enough.

People go out of their way to buy from them

One customer checks Twitter daily for their location and “…if they’re even remotely close to where I am, I’ll find them.” One loyal customer has his favorite Upper East Side food cart on his speed dial and thinks little of walking blocks in the rain to pick up lunch. Another customer cites a “loyal and intense fan base.” Still another says he’s “addicted” and can’t help himself from coming back.

Street vendor or radio station, daily consumption is a significant measure of success.

Entertainment Adds to the Experience

Many loyal customers said their favorite vendors were skilled in the art of performance. One cart king was referred to as “the most entertaining vendor in town.” Another said, “Watching them work is like watching a ballet...” and, “These guys are such characters that it adds just as much flavor to your meal as their secret hot sauce.”

How’s your entertainment quotient? Would a little more “spectacle” be beneficial?

Anticipation is Part of the Experience

A number of people think about the experience long before stepping up to the cart. “I actually find myself sitting at my desk daydreaming about it.” Another noted that he waits all winter for his favorite summer street vendor to return and as soon as you’re done with your plate, “you are already planning your next trip…for another one.”

As DMR’s Tripp Eldridge pointed out in “31 Moments of Truth,” what audiences think about your radio station brand when they’re NOT tuned in is critical to their future listening decisions.

There’s Something Surprising, New or Unique on a Regular or Even Daily Basis

“Always changing” and a “constant introduction” of items were also hot buttons.

Rolling out product upgrades and innovations is a common tactic particularly among smaller brands.

Social Media is Part of their Business

The King of Falafel, Fares “Freddy” Zeidaies, a Vendy finalist for 3 years, tweets, is on Facebook and has a website that includes video of a TV interview, menu, map and a guest book where submissions include “you have truly become a vital part of the neighborhood,” and “I cook my first arabic (sic) meal thanks to you.”

Vendors tweet their specials, update their arrival times if they’re running late, and just simply communicate regularly with their fans. Kenny Lao’s Rickshaw Dumplings claims to have 5000 followers; he also has a website that includes the history of dumplings, locations, a menu, and recent press coverage. You can see similar efforts from many Vendy winners including Wafels and Dinges and the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck both of whom sell merchandise with Wafels also offering products for sale.

It’s More Than Just Cooking, It’s Connecting

Many comments referenced how the community was a better place because of a favorite vendor – not because of the cooking but because of the connections that had been forged between vendor and customer.

“She is a wonderful, cheerful person who knows everyone in the neighborhood and takes care of them like family,” “He’s a great guy, humanitarian and environmentalist” and, “If money is scarce, you can get a meal from him and pay later.”

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership writes, “Demonstrate a sincere interest in discovering my needs. Remember those needs. Respect me. Listen to me. Give me your best – not something less. Earn my trust and you’ll have my loyalty. As a customer, these things are important to me. The more of these you fulfill, the more your business earns my loyalty and respect – and my praising referrals. The less you do, the more your business tells me how average it is.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010


All brands are not created equal. If you are part of a large cluster, you may know this first hand. Some stations in your building, though they are profitable and deliver a quality product may, because of their position in the cluster, not have access to the resources available to their sister stations.

Lack of funds – at least compared to their larger counterparts – is among the difficulties in growing second-tier brands (this is also true for “Challenger” brands although these brands have other dimensions, issues and strategies than second-tier brands).

From electronics to airlines, there are many second tier brand success stories. Here are two from the food industry that absolutely have radio relevance.

Parsippany, New Jersey’s B&G Foods has assembled a portfolio of quality, second-tier food brands that were languishing at bigger companies. B&G has been quite successful in reviving old product lines and revitalizing newer ones, growing sales from $293-million in 2002 to $487-million in 2008.

Here are five strategies B&G uses to grow their brands:

1. Escalate the roll-out of product innovations
2. Use promotions and events to further improve distribution and promote trial
3. Ride the coattails of a consumer trend or of a bigger brand’s marketing campaign
4. Leverage your stronger brands’ access to improve the distribution of your smaller brands
5. Agree that being number two in a category doesn’t mean you are a bad brand – nor does it mean you won’t be profitable

The former Aurora Foods Inc. (now Pinnacle Foods Corporation) marketed their brands heavily but, a second critical part of their brand strategy was product-related including introducing new products to existing lines, reformulating others and developing new packaging to attract consumer attention or more closely marry the packaging to the product.

If marketing isn’t an option for you right now, what product innovations, promotions, packaging, or distribution changes can you launch to reignite interest in your brand - no matter what its tier?