The Power of Radio
Since its inception, radio has proved something of a paradox for advertising agencies. On one hand, it’s held in considerable affection; we all know what it’s like to listen intently as a story unfolds or scene develops. On the other hand, that power to engage is rarely harnessed through advertising. As a result, too many radio commercials are still awkward, unappealing and unwelcome.
One possible solution: familiarising advertising people with how the medium works. Radio has an extraordinary power to maintain a presence for advertisers for two main reasons: its real-time nature, and how it seamlessly weaves itself into people’s lives. This proves especially useful for brands where consumer expectations of the category are not particularly high, or where brand perception lags behind reality.
Listeners don’t consider radio as a superior medium that talks “at” them, but rather a friendly equal they engage with in the privacy of personal spaces, e.g. the car and kitchen. Radio is not about pretensions or aspirations; it is about trust. This aspect is especially useful for brands which seek a closer, more familiar and more accessible relationship with consumers.
Without hard news to promote, brands have to either draw consumers in or stick out in their minds – and radio does the former remarkably well. Those which use radio without seeking to involve the consumer in some way are missing out on the power of the medium.
In the absence of pictures, radio’s message is couched in words and sounds – all delivered by a real person. This means that corporate puffery or adspeak sound hollow on air. Good radio works at a personal level, making brands and products relevant to people in a human way.