Radio still packs an emotional punch as part of the marketing mix

By Charlie Wannell, Head of Marketing, Mediamark

We live in a media-saturated world, and the media we consume can affect our mood for better or for worse. As an advertiser seeking to create positive engagements and tell brand stories, your challenge is to tap into media that creates the right emotional response.

Research shows that radio can be one of your most powerful allies. A study by the Radio Advertising Bureau in the UK shows that radio packs a mighty emotional punch. The research shows that radio is the highest scoring medium (compared to TV and online) for increasing both energy and happiness.

EEG tests conducted for the research found that radio stimulates positive engagement activity in the brain. They also confirmed that when ads are preceded by radio editorial, positive engagement is sustained throughout the ad break.

Here are some of the reasons that this should be the case:

1.       Community creates a sense of wellbeing

Radio fosters a spirit of community and lifestyle that can create sense of wellbeing for the listener. Whether it’s through humour or common interest radio tailored for an audience segment connects people to each other.

For example, one of our clients in financial services, wanted to talk to consumers who identify with being “Afropolitan”. Kaya FM, one of the stations we represent, offers an audience that identified as Afropolitans and that share a bond through this identity. This is sort of engaged community is ready to make an emotional connection with the content shared over the airwaves.  Clever marketers are tapping into this connection.

2.       A direct connection to a voice on the air

One of the ways radio makes an emotional connection is through the human voice and the personality of the presenter. In a digital world, many people are seeking a human touch and our ears are attuned to the tone and timbre of the voice.  In an era of fake online news, the human voice on the radio is still trusted.

In the financial services company’s campaign, it was the voice of one of Kaya FM’s key presenters and influencers that helped to sell the message. It was the direct bridge between the listener’s response and the brand’s prime objective.

3.       Theatre of the mind

We’re overloaded with stimuli and marketing these days. Radio lets us immerse ourselves in a theatre of the mind and use our own imaginations to create a picture from the words and sounds we are hearing. This can elicit a powerful emotional response.

4.       A constant companion

Radio is a comforting presence, with music and on-air banter helping us to navigate day-to-day to life. When people are stressed in traffic, they’ll tune in to find some music to help them relax or to hear the traffic reports. At work, vibrant music can infuse the office with energy during a deadline. And many of us enjoy some tunes or talk in the background while we do our chores at home.

5.       Plays well with other channels

The radio experience has always expanded beyond listening at home or in the car. People can engage with radio station news and views through websites and podcasts or follow their favourite presenters on social media. Radio can be the glue binding numerous channels and executions together, amplifying brands’ messages and the audience’s emotional response.

In the campaign mentioned earlier, the Kaya FM personality’s engaged social media audience was a key part of the success. He created content and shared it – and it rapidly went viral. Why? Because people know and trust his voice from the radio.

The audience today is looking for authenticity, truth, information and entertainment. Radio still answers these needs in a way that resonates with the listener. Any brand that wants to make a real emotional impact should look at how radio can put a smile on the customer’s face.

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