In teaching broadcast sales at the university, one of the things I taught my students was to help their advertising clients to identify their unique selling position in the marketplace. In other words, what was the one thing that made them different than everyone else in their specialty.
Something For Everyone
The answer you most often hear when you ask an advertiser what makes them unique is, “well, we have something for everyone.”
Something for everyone is nothing special for any one. To the radio listener, it’s like blah, blah, blah. It’s meaningless. Why? Because every other advertiser selling everything from soup to nuts says the same thing and the listener has become trained to tune out these advertising clichés.
Plumbers are probably not something you ever give much thought about, UNTIL you need one. That’s true for lots of repair services when you think about it.
What’s the one thing you hate about calling a home repair company? Knowing that you will be kept waiting and waiting and waiting for their arrival at the time when they said they would.
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing could have said a lot of things about the services they provide, but instead they decided what would make them unique in the ears of future customers would be being punctual.
The Punctual Plumber
They built their whole franchise around the realization that people hate to be kept waiting. In fact, they promise when you don’t have time to wait around, you can count on them to be punctual plumbing professionals, but if they are ever late, they will pay YOU for every minute they’ve made you wait. Doesn’t that resonate with you? It does for me.
Give Your Radio Station a Diagnostic
When is the last time you pulled out the Advertiser Diagnostic sheet and used it on your own radio station(s)?
What makes your station unique? Not the music, that’s for sure. The songs you play were carefully crafted by composers, producers and talented artists, who have record labels that have worked relentlessly to get those songs played on as many radio stations, pure play streamers, movies, TV shows and any other place that uses music to entertain people.
Is your brand name unique? Well, if you branded your radio station KISS you are one of 78 radio stations in America that call themselves that, along with radio stations in Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Iceland, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, Canada and Australia. It’s no different than calling your radio station HOT, Jack, Bob, Alice or some other cute name that dozens upon dozens of other radio stations are doing, especially in a world where voice commands increasingly are the way people are accessing audio on their smart devices.
But if your brand is 650AM -WSM, you are the only one in the world that has that brand. You have set yourself apart from the estimated 44,000 radio stations currently on-the-air in the world. WSM is the Home of the Grand Ole Opry. I don’t expect this historic radio station to ever call itself by any other name, but by the one it owns exclusively: WSM.
In a world where you can receive virtually any radio station on an App like TuneIn, being unique and one-of-a-kind has never been more important.
If a person tries asking Alexa, Siri or Google to play the KISS radio station, I have no idea which one she will play. However, I don’t have to wonder for a second, if I ask my smart speaker to play WSM, I will hear any other radio station, but the one from Music City USA, in Nashville, Tennessee.
What Makes Your Radio Station Unique?
If you stake your radio station’s future on things created by others, like music, talk shows, network news, syndicated programs, jingles – things every other radio station in America has access to – then your radio station is NOT unique.
When other providers are able give your listeners more of what they want while eliminating the things they dislike, your days as a broadcaster are numbered.
Another way to think about this is, if you were to eliminate all of your commercials – the thing radio listeners say they object to most – would you be able to sustain your radio station by listener support, like public radio and Christian radio does? Or the way that Netflix or SiriusXM does?
If a listener hasn’t heard of your radio station,
wouldn’t choose your station or recommend it,
your brand is dead.