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Your Radio Brand Should Have What Nobu’s Having


Nobu Matsuhisa is a celebrity chef and restaurateur. So how could he possibly know what your audio brand is about?

Well, creating audio is like cooking in more ways than one.


For me, cooking is about giving my customers little surprises that lead them to make discoveries about their own latent desires.

Little surprises to make discoveries about what they desire that they don’t even necessarily know they desire.

As Bob Deutsch artfully writes in Fastcocreate:

Whatever the offering—dinner entrée, smartphone, a piece of clothing, or what have you—to be successful a product or brand story must feed people’s appetite for self-expansion. Self-expansion isn’t just a business driver, it’s a life driver.

Consumers will become attached to you because of what they feel – not what they know. That’s something we need to remind ourselves of when we dwell on perceptual attributes that are more about “knowing” than “feeling.”

Deutsch continues:

In the context of marketing, [brand] attachment can best be defined as a metaphoric merging of a person’s underlying narrative of “self” with that person’s story of “you” (the product or brand).

In other words, your brand story enriches consumers’ own story by allowing that story to expand according to their own desires to achieve their best selves. You don’t just watch Luke Skywalker, Luke Skywalker becomes you, and the logo t-shirt proves it.

Too often, I think, the stories audio brands tell consumers are antiseptic ones – ones that may be bring the right thoughts but none of the right feelings. Ones that are all head, no heart.

Take Pandora, for example. Do I listen to Pandora or through Pandora? Is it a brand that helps me tell an expanded version of my own story? Or is it a utility that helps the artists do that heavy lifting in Pandora’s place? Do I fall in love with personalization or rather with the content that’s personalized? This is no small matter, because it’s the difference between a “castle” brand with a built-in moat and a utilitarian commodity one shiny substitute away from obsolescence.

What about your brand?

Are you “live”? Are you “local”? Are you “Today’s Hits”? Are you “the Best Variety”?

How do any of these attributes help me – the listener – expand my own story? How do they provide “little surprises that lead me to make discoveries about my own latent desires?” How do they inspire me to wear a t-shirt that promotes not just your brand, but my role in your brand’s story and your role in mine?

I wear my Jonny Quest t-shirt for a reason, and it’s not because I watch cartoons.

I know, subtle and hard. Subtle and hard. But essential to grasp, nonetheless.

As my friend and partner in podcasting Tom Asacker wrote in his terrific book, The Business of Belief


[Marketers must] gently pull us towards our values and desires so that we ultimately choose their products.

So ask yourself what aspect of your brand consumers will anticipate with a fraction of the zeal invested in the tiniest tidbit of news about the next chapter of Star Wars. That story – a long-running hero journey – taps the hero in us all. Does your brand do that?

Ask yourself who would love your brand so much they’d actually pay for a t-shirt with your logo on it.

Ask yourself how your brand’s story helps to expand mine.

No other story matters.

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