Before we can discuss how radio can be an effective branding tool for Maine's small businesses, it is important to first define what "branding" means. Attempting to do so reminds me of an old episode of the Twilight Zone when Flight 107 arrives from Buffalo with no passengers, crew or luggage on board. As investigators begin to share their findings about the plane's mysterious landing, they come the realization that each of them sees the plane differently. Each thinks the seats are a different color and each sees a different tail insignia. The same thing happens when you ask marketing experts to explain branding: each one describes it differently.
Distilling the Many Definitions of Branding
Seth Godin, one of my favorite bloggers and the former head of direct marketing at Yahoo! plus a recent inductee into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, says, "A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.
Advertising legend Leo Burnett, creator of the Jolly Green Giant, Tony The Tiger, The Pillsbury Dough Boy, and The Marlboro Man, says branding is "anything that leaves a mental picture of a product's identity."
When one distills the thousands of definitions of branding it mostly comes down to this: Branding is the beliefs a consumer holds about a product or service. And that's why creating and maintaining the brand of small business takes time.
Building Brands Is Like Building Reputations
According to the blog site The Marketing Donut, "The time it takes to build a brand is the time it takes your customers to come around to accepting your brand values. These may include the belief, for example, that your product or service will give better value or be more reliable than competing ones. They may also start to believe that they will be happier with your product or service than any others and that your product or service is the most suitable for people like them." Vincent Grimaldi, a leading brand specialist at global marketing firm Grifin Partners concurs, "It takes as much time to build a brand as it takes a person to build a reputation. The difficulty is not as much to perfect a strategy as to be focused, differentiated, and consistent everywhere, every time. Will it take one, five, ten or over twenty years? That essentially depends on the memory and openness of the brand's audience."
Since, according to the experts, branding takes time and targeting, radio can be a powerful tool for any Maine Small business. Here's why:
- Birds of Feather. A radio station's audience tends to be homogeneous attracting a high-concentration of people with similar socio-economic traits, beliefs, and consumer profile. With research provided by any reputable radio station representative, a small business can identify the radio stations whose audience will be most receptive to a specific branding message.
- Rinse & Repeat. Branding is about changing a target consumer's beliefs or habits...a task that isn't easy. To do so effectively requires repeating the message to the target over, and over, and over again (kinda like the number of times by wife had to ask me to put the toilet seat back down). Because radio listeners habitually listen at the same time most days, it is easy for a small business to repeat its message frequently to target consumers.
- Time (and cost) is On Your Side. In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Lois Geller who runs an eponymous marketing firms said, "it take time and a lot of hard work to build a brand that speaks volumes in just a few syllables." Because radio time can be acquired affordably for extended periods of time, it is, therefore, an awesome tool for Maine small businesses to effectively build brand.
In the videos below, meet 2 Maine small businesses who utilize radio to build their brand. Both Kevin Kaserman of Dunbar Water Filters and Cathy Manchester of Keller-Williams Real Estate reveal that using radio on a consistent, long-term basis has been responsible for expanding their respective brands and expanding their business.
To learn more about how Kevin Kaserman and Cathy Manchester have built their brands using radio in Maine, click on the links below:
- Effective Small Business Advertising: Consistency is Critical
- Maine Real Estate Agent Doubles Sales Using Radio Advertising
Free Download For Maine Small Businesses