03/08

Guy Kawasaki knows how to make Radio Enchanting

Guy Kawasaki is one of the most widely read and respected voices on the digital frontier.  He’s an entrepreneur, marketing guru, one-time Apple chief evangelist, and author of ten books (most of which I have read), including his newest, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.

Watch the video of our conversation here.  An abbreviated transcript is below, but the video is richer and funnier, too.

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What got you interested in the topic of Enchantment?

Since 1979 or so I’ve been trying to enchant people.  I worked in the jewelry business and then for Apple, evangelizing Macintosh.  I started companies.  I went back to Apple and venture capital, and in all of these things I’ve been trying to enchant people with products and services, and so I became a student of persuasion and influence.  I read all the works of Robert Cialdini.  I have a bookshelf full of books about this kind of thing and I wanted to put my spin on it.  I’m an admirer of Dale Carnegie’s book, so I wanted to bring that up-to-date into the digital world and help people kick butt.

What’s the difference then between the idea of enchantment and giving people what they want?

Sometimes giving people what they want is not good for them.  I can think of some parenting practices that fit in that category, for example.  But having said that, I don’t think I could build a case that you will enchant people by not giving them what they want.  You may have to educate them on what they should want.  A stellar example of this is Apple. Apple’s idea of a focus group is Steve Jobs’ left hemisphere connected to the right hemisphere, that’s two focus groups right there.  So it’s not always about listening to your customers; sometimes you have to anticipate what your customers will want and need before they can even articulate it.

The Apple example is obviously the ideal.  Everybody wants to emulate Apple.  But there’s this “magic gap” between what Apple does and the way it plays, and in that gap is enchantment.  But I wonder, is that something anybody can really capture?  Can anybody do that?

If I could enable anyone to become the next Apple, trust me, I would charge a lot more for the book.  Each copy would be roughly $24 million instead of $24.  However, having said that, I think that you should look at enchantment as you would look at fitness.

There are people who are super fit, Lance Armstrong, his resting heartbeat is, I don’t know, 10 or whatever it is.  And then there are people whose resting heartbeat is 200.  So, there’s a continuum of fitness and no matter where you start on that continuum, almost everybody (maybe except Lance Armstrong) could be more fit.  And I think the same thing is true of enchantment.

There are people who are like Richard Branson – off the scale enchanting people – but everybody can get more enchanting and you do that by doing some of these practices and tips in the book.

Let’s talk about those practices and tips.  What can broadcasters do to enhance their enchantment to their audiences and fans?

I’ll give a great example in my area.  There’s a guy named Greg Kihn, a former rock musician and now a morning drive-time DJ, and I find him very enchanting.  There are two reasons.  One is because he’s authentic.  He really was a musician.  He’s not a wannabe DJ who’s criticizing musicians; he was a musician. He really knows his stuff.  When he tells stories about meeting the Beatles, it’s firsthand knowledge.

Second, he’s a “wysiwyg” kind of guy – what you see is what you get.  He’s totally transparent.  You can see that it’s not a façade, it’s not his people are telling him how to behave.  He is what he is.

I find those two things very enchanting, so he’s a good example.

It’s interesting that you humanized enchantment that way, because when I talk about radio, I could talk about any form of radio, but you specifically focused on the enchantment of a real person, not a format or station, for example.  How important is that to the formula of enchantment regardless of what kind of radio we’re talking about?

I think it’s crucial.  I mean, I don’t see how you can be enchanting using some logarithm picking songs or something.  Don’t get me wrong, I mean you can do an adequate job.

So you’re saying that a radio station with human beings has the potential to be more enchanting than, say, Pandora?

I would hope so.  My company is a Pandora shareholder, so I have nothing against Pandora; but one would think that a DJ or a morning talk show host who’s interviewing legends in Rock because they were on the road together and they were opening acts for each other would have to be more enchanting than someone using a computer algorithm.

Now having said that, the fact that Pandora can figure out this music genome – this DNA of music that you like – is pretty cool.  That company is enchanting, but I would not say that you could be enchanting just by coming up with a computer algorithm.

Based on your own listening to radio, what is it that broadcasters don’t understand about enchantment?

I don’t know if I’m a typical user.  When I’m in the car I listen almost 100% to NPR.

What does NPR not understand about enchantment?

I think NPR pretty much understands enchantment.

I love shows like Fresh Air, TechNation, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.  I think Moira Gunn and Terry Gross and Peter Sagal all understand enchantment.  They are what they are.  They’re very competent, they’re very knowledgeable, they let it rip on the air; and so I love them.

The only time I find something on NPR not enchanting is of course when they do the pledge drive.  Even that I understand because they have to have a revenue source. I absolutely give money, but I must admit that during the pledge drive, I switch from KQED to XM radio which is running NPR without the fundraiser.

You advise on the best ways to use “push” and “pull” technology.  Can you define what those are?

“Push” marketing is when you are controlling the mechanism, the timing, and the quantity of what you’re sending to people.  You push out email; you push out your tweets.

“Pull” marketing is when you have to convince people to return to your website, return to your Facebook page, and so you have to attract them continuously.

Both have a place in enchantment.  Twitter is a very useful tool for enchanting people as is a great Facebook fan page.

Let’s talk about each of them.  In terms of “push,” you mentioned Twitter.  What are a couple of great Twitter “push” tactics to promote enchantment?

With Twitter, I think the key is that you tweet out interesting links and that you are seen as the source of stories and pictures and video that other people would not have found in your particular area of expertise.

So, if you’re an expert in radio, you should be tweeting out the great interview about the future of radio and what it means in a world with Pandora, for example.

The second thing is something many people do not agree with.  I think you need to repeat your tweets to make them effective.  You’re in radio.  You can’t assume that the person who listens to your station at 7 a.m. is also going to be listening at 7 p.m.  So if you push out something interesting at 7 p.m. through Twitter it’s unlikely that the same the person who uses Twitter at 7 a.m. will see it.

You need to repeat it.

Very often the radio station with the most repeats is among those with the highest ratings.

Yeah, I rest my case.

What about great tactics for “pull”?

For “pull” marketing, it’s all about generating great content that you have a real reason for people to come back for – there’s new stuff available all the time.

There’s value, there’s information, and the common thread of “push” and “pull” is that “content is king.” it really is.

And new content is king.  It could be photos, it could be video, or it could be the interaction of the community.  It’s not necessarily true that you have to provide all the content; because you can have very, very interesting forums, but ultimately “content is king.”

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  • http://twitter.com/tomasacker Tom Asacker

    Content isn't King. It's the court jester.

  • http://www.markramseymedia.com Mark Ramsey

    Cryptic goodness from Tom Asacker!

  • Jon Simpson

    Certainly Guy listens to “Car Talk!?” Great interview…enjoying Guy's book now

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/MJE2VT23Z75V2EX5G4KEZ7FRVA booze hound

    I'm so frigging sick of radio researchers snuggling up to techies who don't even utilize commercial radio. Radio Ink's Convergence conference keynote speaker a few years ago was Steve Wozniak. Early on in the Q&A session he admitted he didn't listen to commercial radio. But he liked Frick & Frack. Geeks are not the target!

    Guy is interesting, but once again not a true user of the commercial medium, even though he mentions Greg Kihn in passing. The one area I agree with is Guy's reluctance to totally embrace Pandroa's music genome theory. It is a beatable concept, as it takes the humanity and feel out of the entertainment process.

  • http://www.markramseymedia.com Mark Ramsey

    So in other words to understand anything about something you must be a user of it? That's what you're saying.

    I'll ask my brand manager friend at P&G about that. He's in charge of feminine products.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/MJE2VT23Z75V2EX5G4KEZ7FRVA booze hound

    I don't think you presented a good comparison. Your friend has a vested interest, expertise, and I dare say, a passion for feminine products. On the other hand, Guy is a world class start-up expert. What would have been perhaps more enlightening is how he would advise many of us who are content, programming, and or talent on starting a business. Mark, look around this business is shrinking. You have wonderful insight, but how many of us who have attained major success in this business will fare in a world of bottom feeding corporate types such as the Dickeys, is highly questionable. The next model is creating your own product.

  • http://www.markramseymedia.com Mark Ramsey

    Creating your own product certainly is ONE of the next models.

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