Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A 6-Point Slogan Filter (Inspired by a Porta-Potty)

What do you make of this as a slogan/positioning statement for a portable restroom? 

Posted inside the door, I wasn’t sure what my takeaway for “Experience the Difference” was supposed to be.

I’m sure it made sense to the company but, as an end (no pun intended) user, I’m left uncertain.

Perhaps an extended stay or repeat trips would have helped me to understand. But often, as in this case, there was only one, quick chance to make an impact.

With less confusing communication as the goal, here’s my six-point filter for slogans, positioning statements and phrases to connect products with prospects:

“A simple (don’t expect me to figure it out), differentiating statement (of something unique and important to me) that cuts through (reaches and resonates), is attributable (won’t be confused with another brand), makes sense (is believable) to the target, and has stickiness (memorability).” 

Back to my “porta-position.” How about, “(Company) always has a great seat just when you need it.”

Too much?

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Cure for "Talking Without Saying Anything"

It’s all too common to hear shows or stretches of shows where the talent doesn’t say anything of consequence. 

Sure, they may tell me about a blood drive, where to go to sign up for a contest, or how to listen online (BTW, do I really need instructions for that?). But none of this is why I tuned in. In fact, from a non-musical standpoint, it's the opposite of why I tuned in.

I recall a blog from my partner Jaye that included this quote from the late Jay Trachman about the consequences of non-connective talk as a substitute for content: 

"Ultimately, a survey-taker comes along and asks people what they like least about the station, and they'll reply, "The DJs talk too much!" They don't talk too much - they don't say anything worth hearing!

Back in February when Albright &O'Malley presented Roadmap 2012 (our annual online perceptual study), we noted again the importance of the connection between the country audience and the talent. In fact, mood enhancement ("makes me feel good when I listen") and talent were second only to music quality in station appeal.

Jacobs Media’sTechsurvey8 found similar results for radio overall as well as for country fans.
So what's required of a skilled conversationalist? How about:
  • Well-informed
  • Sympathetic
  • Interested in life
  • Has a sense of the dramatic
  • Moderate
  • Can draw out the other person
  • Attentive
  • Always in good humour
  • Has a sense of proportion
  • Doesn't preach
  • Doesn't take himself too seriously
  • Not argumentative
  • Original
  • Broad-minded
  • Charitable
  • Unselfish
  • Considerate
  • Flexible
  • Poised
  • Enthusiastic
  • A trifle whimsical

This isn't my list, it's Milton Wright's. He wrote this in “The Art of Conversation” ... in 1936.

We could argue over some of these of course, but for the most part, these comprise a pretty good skill set if your goal is connecting with listeners - or just being a good conversationalist. 

Try putting three of Milton's qualities together like "interested in life," "original" and "sense of the dramatic." Or "well-informed," "a sense of proportion" and "a trifle whimsical."

What an antidote for "talks too much while not saying anything."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thanks, Rusty

I have no idea of how many people Rusty Walker influenced during his lifetime.  

Directly or indirectly it no doubt was well into the thousands – probably more likely the tens-of-thousands. 

I consider myself fortunate to be among them.

Smart, passionate, funny (sometimes unintentionally), pioneering, and always generous in sharing what he knew, I had the privilege of having Rusty as my Consultant when I programmed WYNY in New York City. 

Rusty connected with you not just on a business or an intellectual level, but on a personal level, too.  A visit from or a conversation with Rusty left you inspired. 

All of us who learned from, worked with, laughed with, or in some way had lives enriched by Rusty Walker are indeed saddened today.

Sincere condolences to Rusty’s family from the many, many people who were fortunate enough to have known him, learned from him, and be touched by him.

Country Artist Discovery Matrix: Who’s “New” Varies by Demo

Scotty McCreery didn’t win Top New Artist at last night’s Billboard Music Awards (Wiz Khalifa did), but his nomination was appropriate enough (Scotty of course was the ACM Best New Artist winner this past April while The Band Perry was the CMA’s New Artist winner in November).  

One of the questions we ask in Albright & O’Malley’s annual online perceptual study ‘Roadmap’ is, “Is there a new country singer or band you’ve discovered in the last 12 months that’s becoming one of your favorites?” This year, 59.9% of respondents answered “Yes” (up from last year’s 56.7%).

Those who answered “Yes” were then asked to name the artist(s) in an open-ended question (top 7 results below).

Not surprisingly, “discovery” varied by demo. 

Also not surprising, these ‘discovered’ artists varied by demo as well.

Here are Roadmap 2012’s most frequently mentioned ‘new’ artists by 18-54s with the top demo for each artist highlighted (we asked this question in January of 2012 so the respondents’ frame of reference would be 2011).

Band Perry
Jason Aldean
Zac Brown Band
Brantley Gilbert
Luke Bryan
Lady A
Scotty McCreery

Other artists like Thompson Square and Eric Church had their highest discovery scores 18-24 while the Eli Young Band’s was split 18-24 and 25-34.

An ‘Artist Discovery Matrix’ like this is a good reminder of country’s idverse audience.  

It’s also useful as you consider your overall music-to-target relationship.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Transit Marketing: An Engaging Example from the Oakland A’s

When someone's marketing captures my attention, I often ask myself, 'Why?"

I snapped these Oakland A’s transit ads on the BART because I was instantly engaged. I loved the combination of humor and competiveness, as well as the way they made me feel about the team. 

While the A’s are 20+ years removed from their last World Series rings, these posters gave me the impression that this is a team that plays hard and plays to win. This is no bunch of lollygaggers (intentional “Bull Durham” reference).

Green Collar Baseball plays off the obvious blue collar allusion and reinforced the idea of a team that shows up and works hard every day.   

I’m sure it was no accident that there was both an offensive and defensive poster. Together they gave me the feeling that the A’s are both dangerous on the bases and stalwart defenders.

The shots and captions made it personal. I want to root for these two guys. I’ll be checking in to see how many bases Coco Crisp  steals and see what Kurt Suzuki’s stats are. 

But it was the copy's humor that initially drew me in (the fun is further developed in a series of online videos about the team and the players).
Hub Strategy is the San Francisco agency that produced these. Their brand building strategy is three-fold:  develop a specific and competitive position, produce ‘embraceable’ creative, and have consistency across platforms.

The result according to Hub Strategy?

“Messaging that is strategically sound, difficult to ignore and consistent everywhere the consumer is likely to come in contact with it. That's our secret. Now, whatever you do, don't tell anyone.”

Oops.  Guess I thought I was “pulling a fast one” too.

If you found this interesting, here’s an older post on effective morning show billboards 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Spot Controversy? A Low Profile May Be Your Best Strategy

If you’ve been on the receiving end of emails and phone calls threatening protests and boycotts of your station because of allegedly controversial spots, it’s easy to envision the worst and want to respond on air with a disclaimer or something similar.

But assuming we’re talking about spots and not something grossly offensive your talent did or said (you need to take immediate action), taking a low profile may be your best strategy. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Many listeners listen with half an ear and will miss the message entirely unless you draw attention to it.
  2. Your target demo might not be offended at all; complaints may be coming from people you’re not targeting or from people who don’t even listen but have been encouraged by other non-listeners to make negative comments. 
  3. Your particular ratings math could suggest little or no impact on your numbers. While it’s easy to imagine hundreds of people stopping listening, consider that a meter may represent 1500-2000 individuals making the value of a single meter significantly greater than the number of people claiming to be offended.
Instead of taking on-air action, draft a short, thoughtful and sincere statement with your GM so staffers will have a single, appropriate response should they be confronted.

No one wants a spot controversy (of course you can say “no” to a buy – see this week’s poll at Sales CafĂ©). But if you get one, be prepared to tell your side of the story – off the air.