For radio players across the world, the NAB Show sessions on April 15 had some learnings on how to engage an audience in radio and what not to do. The bottom line of what most international radio heads had to say was that the strategy for radio should come before the policy.
Speakers at the session included Christo Grozev, Chairman of the Board, Radio Corp, Netherlands; Yuri Kostin, VP, PMBC Broadcasting Corp, Moscow Russia; and Mathieu Sibille, CEO, International Operations, NRJ International, Paris, France. Bud Stiker, VP, International Development, NAB moderated the session.
Mathieu Sibille was the first to speak on his experiences on the medium and what he had seen working for NRJ. The most significant point coming from his address was that for radio, by necessity, one had to create demand and connect with the audiences. “We were very clear that even if the medium is radio, you have to create a 360-degree presence and connect for the brand,” he said.
Sibille spoke on the need to have different reasons and different ways to market the brand – be it through on-ground initiatives or the Internet. He said, “On the international platform, what we do best as managers, is to think global and act local. Local knowhow and added manpower to deliver what the audience want, is probably one of the biggest strengths of the radio medium.”
He also spoke about the synergies between these mediums that kept the brand at the centre of it all. For Sibille, constant reinvention was the key to longevity. Yuri Kostin agreed with much of what Sibillie had to say, and informed that by nature of the market itself, Russia proved to be tough on the radio medium. Kostin explained that the mantra for them was to engage the audiences on platforms away from radio, and then bring them back to the medium. In the process, Autoradio, a brand under the PMBC Broadcasting Corp, had created large on-ground events that involved the audiences in contests and initiatives with some gratification.
The last to share notes on the subject was Christo Grozev, who spoke on the things that radio managers shouldn’t do. Grozev briefly touched the Indian radio scene before enumerating the key points of what he thought needed to be done. He said, “The approach that Indian managers have to radio is very marketing-oriented, and in a very broad sense of the word. They get involved right from defining of the markets to creating different niches, and this, I believe, is very unique to India.”
For Grozev, the key lessons of a marketing launch were to focus on the timing and to get that right. He explained that the time of entry had a very crucial role to play in the kind of market share that a station could corner. The trial rate for latecomers tends to be lower. The second lesson was ‘Don’t offer listeners what they don’t know they want’. He said, “Finding a source of disappointment and filling that gap is easier than creating a new offering that may not even be something that the listener is seeking.”
The final lesson from Grozev was that in the radio medium, one didn’t have to wait too long to see the results. “Once you have the right strategy, the results would show immediately, and if you are not seeing the results, you should change fast,” he advised.
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