What Sprite is to Coke, what the Big Mac is to McDonalds can be what a good talent can be to a great media outlet. What separates the good radio stations from the best is Brand Building, not just the Brand of the station itself but all of the people who work there as brands inside of the brand. Who are they? Where do they hang out? What does this person contribute to the overall movement, and most importantly is this person even interesting, or are they just another voice on the radio? Great examples of stations that executed this formula well are KHRK- Memphis, WZMX Hartford, and WHTZ- New York. The people who listen to those stations religiously not only feel like they are a part of something huge, but they feel as though the can genuinely relate to the people who are the brand ambassadors. Twenty years ago it was only the morning show that mattered, but now we finally have research telling us that there are listeners who may like your product (music & contest) but not be a fan of your Kim & Zack in the morning. Who do these casual listeners have that they can champion and can relate too? What reason are you giving them to invest more time? If the answer is music and contesting you are in huge trouble.
Great Examples of Personal Brands:
The examples above are people who understand and are in line with the brand they represent, and they also know that it is ok to be an average, relatable person outside of work and have a good time. In my time as a programmer looking at social media accounts, I see mostly photos of jocks with celebrities, or some pets or at a station event, and all of those things are fine if your audience is only other radio people and you are ok with that. What about the real people? What about the listeners, where are the photos of you at your favorite local spot? Where are your friends? How do I know that you care about my community? A lot of the things I mentioned are blogs within themselves, and I will touch on them at a later date.
Here is a KISS 108 super talent with an up and coming singer, you may or may not know of https://www.instagram.com/p/BY_zDsBlZ7a/?taken-by=mikeyvonair and here is Mikey at work. https://www.instagram.com/p/BeRLjv-FVov/?taken-by=mikeyvonair. What separates him from other radio talents, photos like this..https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc3aJ14FQUZ/?taken-by=mikeyvonair where you can see his love for Boston Sports and the love for his very close-knit family https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb2jEMjFq_2/?taken-by=mikeyvonair and this establishment where he is enjoying some Pho, https://www.instagram.com/p/BOxkjWDglCz/?taken-by=mikeyvonair this is not an endorsement or a place where he is doing an event, it's just him enjoying life and being well balanced. Not only would I know he is invested in this city, but I also know of places that he hangs out that I might as well, so we will have similar stories. The days of hiding in the studio and not dealing with people are over, for our business to survive, we need to remember that our radio stations are 360-degree infotainment outlets that set up great narratives and have great interactive storytellers.
In the next blog, I will share a personal story of what happens when Brand Building strategies are not properly implemented.
**Kwame Dankwa is a 12-year radio veteran with stops in Hartford Ct, Rutland VT Boston MA, and Seattle Washington.
He is currently Program Director of CHR WRTS Erie PA (Star 104). Follow him @TheKwameShow on Instagram and Twitter.**