You know the movie.
Kevin Costner plays an Iowa, corn farmer who, after hearing ghostly voices, is compelled to build a baseball diamond on his property. “If you build it, he will come”, is the catch cry of the apparition’s incessant whispering and sure enough, Kevin’s master construction inspires the spectres of legendary 1919 White Sox players to drop in for a quick game.
It might have worked in 1989 but it wouldn’t work today.
Too many stations put all of their eggs in the music basket. They strategize a unique position (or often simply wedge themselves in a tiny format hole), research the ‘perfect’ playlist and are bewildered when the ratings don’t skyrocket. But music isn’t enough anymore. You can build it but they may not come.
Whether it’s Katy Perry or ACDC, our audiences can get any song they want, any time they want it – they no longer need us for music alone. Great brands have to compel them between the records and on digital footprints to force them back to us again and again and again for fear of missing the entertainment.
Think of it as bricks and mortar. The songs are the bricks; still the most important part. But it is the mortar (everything else we do) that holds the building together – the creative imaging and positioning pieces; the memorable content, on and off the air, from our announcers and shows; it’s all the elements that make our brand, a brand.
And sadly, we can do ALL that and still not win.
In the crowded world of choices that we live in, great brands have to also market to stay top of mind and succeed. For diary stations, recall is currency – perceived listening is worth more than actual listening. The brand is everything. For metered markets, marketing puts you, or keeps you on the audience’s consumption list and every minute you can grab counts. We have to stand out. We have to be memorable. We have to be seen.
If only 2018 radio was as easy as a Kevin Costner movie.