Is there a general return ratio in radio advertising?

  • How many calls should you expect from a radio campaign (let’s say out of 100,000 or 1,000,000). I know “it depends” … but I am sure there is an average? LinkedIn Question by: Oren Yehezkely

Normally there are several factors that would restrict you to put a ratio expectation to your Radio advertising. Some of these factors are: campaign period, frequency of appearance, number of channels, reach of channels, competitive clutter, creative standard, mode of delivery, whether spots or sponsorships, whether call in programs or just spots, etc. etc. – the list is really huge!

In the simplest sense, let’s say you want to spend on only one channel, for a 4 week period within a prime time program. Without going into the costs, I’d say that your best chance of getting maximum effectiveness would perhaps be to concentrate on a call-in program that involves the listener to take part in the program while being told that the caller might win prizes courtesy your brand, or caller may answer questions about your products – which were perhaps talked about within the program itself! Therefore it becomes a “give and take and recall” kind of relationship.

In this type of scenario, the responses could be quite high. But again, without any numbers background (eg. target numbers, reach numbers, etc.) it would really be difficult to quantify the ratio.

In general, there’s no hard and fast “rule of average returns” in any kind of advertising – leave alone radio! The reason: an ad’s response rate, returns and overall success depends of multiple factors, all of which are not controllable majority of the time – esp. in case of mass offline media. Having said that, one can design a small-target focussed campaign using various response-based ad formats, where some minimum amount of responses are considered as “decent” or “threshold”; e.g in Direct Mailer advertising, Online advertising, Direct Response Coupon Based Ad, etc.

Concluding, therefore, a fixed ROI is not available for radio advertising – even though there are plenty of ways to have a meaningful return from Radio as well as other media.

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How important is humour in brand-positioning?

  • In most parts of the world, luxury or premium goods stay away from embracing humour into the communication mix. Does incorporating humour give the firm an impression of being flippant and ‘not serious enough’ to be premium? LinkedIn question by: Sameer Vyas

Humour used in the context of explaining the differentiating benefits of the product or service definitely contributes to sales and long term brand recall. However humour should not be used as a part of the positioning for the brand – it should rather be used as a means to achieve / contribute to that positioning. e.g. if a brand’s benefit positioning is “Brand X makes me enjoy my home life in a lively manner” – Then humour could be used to drive suggestions towards “lively manner’, and could be retained for a long time as a differentiator among competitors’ benefits .

In case of luxury or premium goods, humour has not been used frequently, perhaps because the form of humour fitting these categories is not very easy to make a direct association to the benefits / positioning of the brand among premium customers. Long ago, a small premium Ericsson phone ad showed a sophisticated lady in a premium restaurant talking to her fiance on the phone, while fixing her gaze at a person sitting on a different table. However the phone was too small; hence this person thought she was proposing a dinner with him – till the moment she finished the call, and said: “One black coffee please”. The ad (see below) had excellent recall and contributed to the premium positioning of the product.

(The ad went on to win the Lion at Cannes Advertising Festival. Read about this ad. Also see Heinz example)

Therefore, it’s all a matter of finding how the benefits of a premium product could be associated to the sophisticated humour levels enjoyed by the prospective customers of the product, and translating this association into communication – thru ad or otherwise. Humour is a means to an end – not an end by itself, while positioning a brand.

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Which recruitment agency to use?

  • What do you as a technical hiring manager look for when choosing a recruitment agency to work with? What factors do you consider? LinkedIn Question by: Benedict McGuffie

I suppose for this kind of situations, which could be true even in case of hiring for an ad agency, the answer lie within the following universal check-lists / principles:

  1. Does the agency have at least 2 detailed preliminary meetings with you to discuss your requirements? (this will show that they have patience and interest in giving you the best service)
  2. Once done, do they come up with their view of your requirements, not fearing to give you some market insights which you didn’t know, or you’ve never accepted yourself? (this will show that they just don’t want to get business)
  3. Once insights are shared, do they come up with a plan of action to source out the best available in the market? (this will show that they are not just internet searchers, and really do give you value for the money they charge)
  4. Once approach has been agreed upon, do they screen candidates before sending them to you? Do they share the screening questionnaire and method of screening to you? (this will again show that they value your involvement in the process)
  5. When the candidates are sent, they usually give details which are NOT included in the CV – usually based on their screening interviews. They also provide info. and recommendations about min and max salary this candidate is worth.
  6. Finally, they also give you commitment that the candidate would not leave within the probation period; and the same is expected out of you too!

Many would point out that the above is too idealistic way of looking at a recruitment service provider agency. However, once you’re in the industry, you’d definitely utilize your network to gain information about any recruitment agency you call-in to brief. The above points can be probed into EVEN BEFORE you call for briefing – from the people you get references about the agency (LinkedIn could be one source)

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How to build trust when competitors created skepticism?

  • A company wants to get in to market like air purifiers, detox products, or gas addittives. Its predecessors have created some skepticism with non-performing products, because they are a very ethical company and believe their product does just what it is supposed to do. How would you advise the newcomer to move ahead and buid trust with consumers? What must they do? What must they not do? LinkedIn Question by: Jeffri Epps

First and foremost, you need to do an in-depth research of customers, and specifically try to probe on the effects of competitor communication on them. It’s likely that one of the 3 results might emerge:

  • A – Consumers agree to competitors’ skepticism, and are content with that position, taking actions accordingly
  • B – Consumers are skeptical of competitors’ activities, but have decided to carry on with competition – because of herd mentality or due to no other alternatives available
  • C – Consumers neither agree or are skeptical about competitors’ position / messages – hence are not bothered who offers the products or services

In case of A, it might need further probe on additional factors they are looking for, which are currently not addressed by competitors. Depending on how strong and sustainable advantages these factors are, you may decide to take a course of action

In case of B, you might like to explore ways in which you’re able to present yourself (your product) as something that makes a difference in the attitudes towards the product.

In case of C, you might like to see in what ways the product could be seen – not necessarily in terms of benefits, but in terms of value. e.g. something like “well, you know, people say many things about this, but who cares!!”. But you’d have to really see how the values associate to the brand in the long term.

Long ago in India, domestic TV advertising started going the route of being “also ran” stereotyped communication. After all all TVs gave comparable picture an audio performances. At that time an imported TV was considered much superior, but was not available to 99% of the population! On researching, one brand discovered that actually, an imported TV immediately created an element of envy among the peer circle. this element was capitalized with huge success thru the “Neighbour’s envy; Owner’s Pride” campaign – even though “envy” was depicted with all its negative connotation.

I’m not sure what product category you’re in, but maybe by research, you’d get some insights that truly justify a “negative against the negative” approach, which ultimately could work positive for the brand.

(Please contact me should you need elaboration / clarification) Also Look for Other Answers.

What’s more important in an AD: words, graphic design, or both?

  • Essentially the question is – when you see an ad, or a TVC or a DM piece, what catches your eye more? Words? Design? Or are both equally important? LinkedIn Question by: Steve Olenski

Advertising, even in its most basic form, is expected to “influence” human behaviour in some way. To do this, advertising should first attempt to stimulate at least one of the 5 senses of the target – eg. see, hear, touch, smell and taste – in order for him/her to develop a perception about the ad. This stimulation will contribute to development of “A” or the “Awareness” stage of the simple AIDA (Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action) process / model.

In case of print advertising (eg. Press ad, DM) the first stimulant is the visual appeal whether by image / typography / graphic / color / layout, etc. that attracts human attention first. If this stimulant is powerful enough, the target goes on to the 2nd stage – i.e. taking Interest in the piece of communication (or simply, reading the headline and trying to relate Visuals with the headline to understand message).

In case of TV too the opening visual / scene draws attention first – but here, due to uniqueness of the medium, sound (eg. music, dialogue, or both) – or sometimes “silence” – also plays an important role, albeit marginally less than visual.

In case of Radio, the sound is the first stimulant. In experiential advertising / marketing, taste and smell could be the first stimulant too in some cases.

However, once the first stage is successfully addressed, the use of words / text (in case of Print) script / storyline / characters (TV and Radio), etc. become extremely important for sustaining Interest, generating desire and driving action among the target. For total advertising message delivery, other / additional elements complement / contribute to the importance of the ad.

Or in other words, for an advertising to be successful, visual, words, graphic design, message, context, etc. are all important – even though what catches eye / senses first could be visual (print)/ sound (radio) or both (TV).

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Do companies / brands fear to differentiate?

  • There is a lot of average and mediocre brands around today. As if brands lost their guts and courage to stand out and stand for something crisp. Is this caused by fear? What are its sources or drivers? LinkedIn Question by:  Lucia  Tarbajovska.

Well, I feel it’s not the fear… primarily it’s the failure and lethargy to identify a differentiator that:
– truly falls in line with the short term and long-term profit objectives of the company
– succeeds in convincing the decision makers that it’s an “opportunity” worth exploring
– gives them an understanding / courage that it has a sustainable competitive advantage

Additionally majority of the companies who are in a particular product / service category, have a tendency to have a “herd” mentality – “everyone is going that way… they could not be wrong!”. In short they tend to embrace mediocrity, if this gives them short term gains or saves them the hassles of taking risks.

In today’s ever-changing business / economic battleground, you’d rarely find a Bill Gates and Richard Branson who stick to their guns / dreams or who are not bothered about short term results as long as keeps their long-term goals intact.

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