I was recently involved in a PPM conference with a radio cluster management team along with other consultants. The mission was to get to the heart of PPM and help this group determine best practices and strategies.
The amazing part about this two-day event was that it took two days (!). The second part is that we barely talked about tactics – bowties, granularity, AWTE, and teasing.
Instead, we focused more on the importance of branding as it relates to the decision to tune in a station, and feel a part of it. Companies like DMR are addressing this issue in presentations like “Hearts On Fire” which examines the things that stations do off-air to create brand attachment – before a consumer even turns on the radio.
And even Arbitron’s inside guys – folks like Gary Marince and John Snyder – will tell you that brands matter. That stations need to stand for something. That they need to create an emotional bond with consumers. That when a PPM respondent chooses to turn on the radio (which happens less often than you think) that connection already needs to be in place.
Emotional attachment (EA) to a brand matters.
We saw this clearly in “Goin’ Mobile” where most of our 18 respondents didn’t just enjoy their smartphones – they were intensely loyal to these mobile gadgets. And they were willing to extol the virtues of these devices to others.
Now a new report in Ad Age featuring the Leap Index shows us attachment rankings for various consumer brands and products, and the results shouldn’t surprise you.
Sitting right on top are two of the hottest Apple brands – beyond reviews, cost, and other more rational factors. You can see that iPad has also cracked the Top 10, and my bet is that when this index is updated next year, Apple’s tablet will move up several ranks.
Why does this matter? Because consumers not only choose brands based on emotional attachment (EA), but even tough economic times become secondary when it comes to selecting products that are meaningful to consumers.
As radio comes out of the recession, what is the state of your brand? Have you created that emotional connection with your listeners and your community? Does your brand have meaning in your market? Have you been able to weather the economic times by helping your audience through these rough waters? Are they attached to you above and beyond the high-testing songs you play and your commercial free hour at 8:30?
Are you doing more than testing your music, showing up at remotes, and running commercials? Do your email blasts provide value for consumers, and are not just sales spams?
All of the consumer brands tested in the Leap Index (and those who are trending down) will tell you that every point on this scale translates to value and dollars. And the building blocks for their EA has nothing to do with running slick TV commercials or sponsoring sporting events. If that were the case, hundreds of companies would have these kinds of rankings on the Leap Index. It has nothing to do with marketing money and everything to do with creating those emotional connections, oftentimes off your air.
What is your brand’s EA?
(And how did the U.S> Postal Service come in at #15?)