AS FEATURED IN THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL ADVERTISERS (ANA) FORWARD
Dialing Up Creative Strategies for Radio Ads
Melding storytelling with solid data
September 12, 2019
PARTNER CONTRIBUTION BY
Andrey Dyachenko, EyeEm/Getty Images
he first step to winning a person's heart and mind is being relevant, engaging, and eager to capture her attention. It's the same drill for advertising. Above all, advertising creative is the most important factor for influencing behavior and driving sales. Several studies bear this out. Take a recent study conducted by Nielsen Catalina Solutions, which tested nearly 500 ad campaigns across all media platforms and found that nearly 50 percent of brand sales lift from advertising came directly from the creative.
In today's increasingly fragmented media world, appealing to a person's ears is more important than ever, what with multitasking becoming the new norm. As Chris Beresford-Hill, chief creative officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, puts it: "Multitasking does not work with your eyes, but it does work with your ears."
Indeed, when people commute, spend the day at work, drive a car, shop, eat, or simply rest, audio breaks through and audio resonates. Radio, with its massive scale and significant time broadcasting to most every target demographic, wins share of ear. It's the go-to medium for consumers to get in a better mood, hear their favorite content, and stay informed. These are all things that marketers strive to accomplish via advertising for their brands, and it's why they are turning to radio to engage their consumers and grow their audiences.
Research shows that engaging commercials are eight times more effective than nonengaging commercials. And yet, despite numerous studies proving that radio produces significant results for advertisers across categories, the majority of radio-advertising creative is less engaging than it could be. Therefore, results suffer.
When it comes to crafting the message, telling the story, and getting consumers to engage, audio is arguably the toughest, yet most rewarding medium. That's because people can't lean on a visual "crutch." It's up to marketers to paint the picture, leverage "theater of the mind," and tell the brand's story effectively.
Proven guidelines for crafting radio creative that works are just that, guidelines. Akin to brand identity, every radio commercial (or campaign) has its own unique idea, personality, tone, and voice. Each spot tells its own story.
Keep It Simple, Make It Original
Audio is one of the most intimate forms of communication. It's inclusive, and when brands build the story the right way, loyalty usually follows.
The Radio Mercury Awards, produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), help to illustrate how brands and organizations develop effective and creative radio commercials.
Each year, the competition is judged by a panel of top-level agency creative leaders who develop work for clients across virtually all advertising categories. Since its inception in 1992, the RAB has tapped America's most celebrated creative directors to identify best practices for the "art" of advertising. The top tips from the creative community include:
On the flip side, ad executives have also shared some common mistakes. These mistakes include: thinking that what is important to the brand is just as important to the listener; greenlighting a message that lacks surprise, in which consumers may tune out; overloading a radio spot with so much information, there's no chance for it to turn the corner and be creative; and failing to wrap key messages in an entertaining package. The Radio Mercury Awards Creative Insights includes other creative insights
Best Practices for Radio Ads That Pop
During the past several years, numerous research firms, including Nielsen, IPSOS, ABX, Veritonic, NumericOwl, Sequent Partners, and MARU/Vision Critical, have conducted studies on behalf of the radio industry to help prove the efficacy of the radio medium for various brands. Nearly every study revealed creative insights, such as what works (or doesn't) and what drives higher likability scores, engagement, intent, and traffic. These studies reaffirm that the quality of radio creative is vital to the overall effectiveness of any brand's audio campaign.
The studies also provide invaluable insights regarding the best practices for creating radio ads that can boost the top and bottom lines. These insights include:
Tone and consistency matter
Localize and personalize.
Disclaimers boost engagement.
Sonic branding and music sharpen the message.
The Blended Effect: Merging Creative and Data
Whether it is from the creative (art) or the research (science) perspective, certain themes remain consistent when it comes to radio creative that works to drive business goals and can cut through the clutter. Radio is an incredibly powerful medium that is the purest form of storytelling. There is no other medium that invites listeners to use their mind's eye to visualize and participate in the brand's journey.
The opportunity for brands and their creative partners is to truly capitalize on radio's clout via their audiences. Despite the proliferation of new media channels, radio remains a robust marketing vehicle. It enables brands to tell powerful stories, without force-fitting too much detail, in a very short amount of time.