5 Tips to Improve Your Online Media Branding

1. Marketeering 101: Create a strong, compelling core message -- then communicate!
As brilliant innovators like Rosser Reeves, David Ogilvy and Victor Schwab put it years ago, "Say something, say it well, say it often." In the digital age, this remains as true as ever. Some consumers will click on a display ad the first time. Others need 5 or more impressions. Others will never click -- then they were probably not really prospects at this time.

As for your  Branding efforts online, why should media consumers come to you via any platform?  What is worth their taking a second glance? You need to build a strong message that gets your key benefits across without adding to the bane of broadcasting: clutter! Simple, but not easy.

2. Make sure you deliver a USP
In the early 60's Rosser Reeves introduced the concept of the Unique Selling Proposition in his groundbreaking work Reality in Advertising. Nutshell: this is your competitive advantages or "W.I.I.F.M." ("What's in it for Me?") from the consumer's standpoint.

With a sea of choice, make sure you NEVER waste your prospect's time with mundane or boring offers. General rule of thumb: if your co-workers aren't begging you for a deal that's being offered, your consumers probably won't, either.

3. Be sure your initial message guides consumers toward a specific action.
Anyone who knows me understands that my bias is towards gathering a relational database for your content brand(s). This is the power behind such mega-brands as Google, Amazon and a number of successful broadcasters. Ironically, three entities who start with 100% database participation (cable, satellite and the telcos) range from zero value to modest efforts at best.

Noted speaker, author and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki told a group of broadcasters "you're mining for coal, but leaving the gold behind", referring to the dramatic waste of digial resources. This is also true for advertising partners utilizing your digital assets. As Steve Krug puts it, "Don't Make Me Think".

4. Think Visually
TV and print people have 'gotten' this for decades, but radio people need to realize they are now playing in three (3) arenas: Audio, Visual and Text. The visual arena includes static images, rich media and video. The images on your site should enhance your message by adding visual stimulation. Almost every media brand has a logo. Is the same true of each program and promotion? In TV, yes. In radio, sometimes.

5. S.C.A.N.-proof your Digital Platforms
There's a good reason the world of Twitter happens 140 characters at a time -- People are more time-crunched an info-overloaded than ever. Never forget that consumers will scan before becoming fully engaged. You probably did so on this post. We know on-air listening decisions (to punch or not to punch!) are typically made in the first 6 seconds.  Give your digital products a frequent "S.C.A.N.":

Situation: Consumers are slammed. Make your digital products easily scannable and understandable.
Confusion leads to
Apathy...which ends up leading to
Non-Participation and click-aways.

According to the latest Jacobs Media Tech Survey 10
- Consumption of all media is higher that ever
Core radio listeners are moving fast to digital media & gadgetry 
Radio is on both sides of the digital tipping point
The "connected car" movement continues.

The gold is there. We just need to be smart enough not to stop once we've harvested the coal. To discuss ways in which these concepts might be put to work for you, let's talk!

***The Steamed Streamer***

Confused much?  Streaming a fairly well-respected Large Market News-Talk Station recently, I witnessed a mismatch of cross-platform dis-pollination like I have not heard recently.  

The on-air presentation sound stodgy and ancient, and the station was still using radio newscasts for 'recent history' reports, and through formattics, inviting consumers to 'visit the website' for the latest breaking news.  DUH!   

Not how I'd opt to BRAND my station.

Spoiler alert: this 'interweb' thing may be around for a while.  Are you really incorporating ALL platforms into your 'branded media content'?   Many are not, which means OPPORTUNITY for those who are. Why not offer old and new media platforms to allow consumers to consume 'station branded content' in the synergistic manner to which they are accustomed?   
  • LIVE news content should be for breaking and developing stories, while talk segments can perform analysis and digestive discourse.  
  • Podcasts, print and visuals (including video and photos) can reside on the web, and be and SHOULD BE promoted via social channels.  
  • USE SMS TEXTING for breaking news alerts.   
It works for little outfits like the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and even AP.  It might just work for you and your bottom line, too!

May the best brand(s) win!

Broadcasting Lessons from the Brewery

There was a time when many broadcasters would rather crawl inside a bottle than examine the marketing savvy that goes into creating and maintaining a successful brand. Based on current broadcast stock prices, it appears some still would!

However, the recent revival of one heritage brand proffers hope to a generation of broadcasters caught in the morass of declining budgets, Wall Street pressures and an overall weak economic climate.

Recently a new team bought the rights to the legendary Schlitz Beer and by all accounts are enjoying the gusto of home brewed success. This at a time when some major brewers are experimenting with flavored beers (think "Miller Chill") and other gimmicks to increase -- or at least maintian -- declining market share. Of course, like broadcasting, results of recent mega-mergers like parent companies of Budweiser and Miller/Coors remain to be seen.

The picture at Schlitz was not always so heady. After decades as America's top selling beer, and acknowledged as "The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous" the bean-counters outmanuevered the brewmasters in the late 1980's. First by cutting back on the quality of ingredients, they further 'saved their way to failure' by shaving marketing, distribution and packaging costs. At it's low ebb, Schlitz was available only in cans, and only in limited areas.

With new ownership came a new 'can do' attitude, which included upgrading the recipe ("The original '60s formula") returning the headquarters to Milwaukee, distributing longneck bottles and actually marketing their product -- including a strong web presence -- Schlitz has literally revived a flat brand. Granted, their 'new normal' is likely to be as a boutique beer, but a turnaround is a turnaround.

Needless to say, the previous regime did not see the value to securing the "Schlitz.com" web domain which takes you to a place far, far away from the www.schlitzgusto.com site.

Lessons for Broadcasters:

1.) It's far easier not to let your station brand die before reviving it.
2.) The 'ingredients' matter.
3.) Remember the four key marketing positions: Offense, Defense, Flanking and Guerilla. Don't be afraid to take a Flanking or Guerilla position if that's what's available to you.
4.) What got you here may or may not get you where you want to go next. Be flexible.
5.) The power of the brand matters -- and the digital arena provides a whole new toolbox for smart marketeers.

It will be my great honor to explore these and other brand turnarounds and the lessons on digital marketing broadcasters can learn from them at the upcoming Morning Show Boot Camp, part of the two-hour Digital super-session later this week in Nashville. Hope to see you there!

The Age of Engagement

There's a new demographic in play, and if you haven't already been introduced, now's the time. Broadcasters, meet "Generation C". Earlier this year, the "A students" at Morgan Stanley tagged onto a concept that smart operators like Canon have known for some time.

Generation C transcends our longstanding notions about age, gender and ethnicity. Members include the oldest Baby Boomers through the youngest X-er's, Y's and Millenials -- the so-called "Echo Boomers".

For this active, engaged and valuable consumer segment, it's all about:

(when, where & how they want it!)

Broadcasters are just beginning to skim the surface of this rich vein of consumer desire and behavior. Meanwhile, social media outlets like Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter and others are seeing dramatic growth in usage and revenues by filling the void.

Other industries are moving down this road. Are you? How can you put the Age of Engagement to work for your media outlet?  How can you best reach "Generation C"?

In future posts...we'll explore the preferential differences between Email, Texting and Social Media -- and help determine which (or all) are viable for your brand(s).   We'll also review the increasing presence of services like Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram and the growing trend towards limited, 'walled' communities.

Until then, may the best brands win!

(There's still time to do a spring checkup on your brand plan. Don't delay. Contact Kipper today!