04/24

What Do You Want Consumers to Talk About?

We spend oodles of time watching the ratings, minimizing tune-outs, hoping that this or that stray PPM panelist blesses us with her proximity to a radio. We obsess on consistency and on delivering on whatever promise we wish our brands to make.

And when it comes to marketing, which most stations rarely do nowadays, we dream up ways to attract people to our brands by spelling out our attributes and doing so as publicly as possible. Or we simply “play the PPM game” so as to shift the impression of listening, even for a blink in time.

But brand-making is about meaning-making. It’s not about “forced listening” or tune-out minimizing.

Abundant research has shown that word-of-mouth is how most messages are spread. And social media is the online equivalent of that word-of-mouth.

So it surprises me when media brands fail to ask two central and related questions:

  • What do you want consumers to say to each other?
  • What do you want consumers to share with each other?

Although I asked “what do you want…” I’m really asking what do consumers want to say to and share with each other? Because if consumer desires don’t match yours, then word-of-mouth stops dead in its tracks. Nobody cares about your problems.

This requires that you stand apart from the ratings. It means you must divorce yourself at least momentarily from the “PPM game.” It means you must think of your consumers as human beings with human desires and interests and needs.

Take a peek at your Facebook page and see how many of your posts are being shared or at least liked (which is obviously not the same). If your brand is like many of America’s leading radio stations the answer is…not that many. And if you filter on those posts which are driven by YOUR content rather than your posting of somebody else’s content, then the number is even smaller.

Sharing is caring. If I don’t share, where’s the proof that I care?

J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler asks the question this way: “What has [your] company done in the past five years that somebody’s noticed?”

What has your brand done in the past five years that somebody’s noticed?

And where’s your proof?

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