Good Brand Identity
Something has always bugged me about Radio Imaging. We always work on making something sound ‘cool.’ But I feel like sometimes we forget about the bigger picture – the entire brand of the station. I know I’m guilty of this in a massive way, so this is my cathartic post to wave goodbye to those bad habits and start thinking more seriously about brand identity.
The definition of Brand Identity according to the Business Dictionary is:
The visible elements of a brand (such as colors, design, logotype, name, symbol) that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers’ mind.
Obviously a bit more about the visual brand image, than the audio brand image – but the principles are still true if we tweak it slightly:
The audible elements of a brand (such as music, sound design, presenters, name, strap-line) that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers’ mind.
(Aside: Of course the visual elements are now more important than ever in the multi-media outputs of most radio stations.)
How many of us can truly say that when we’re creating a piece of imaging, that we’re keeping all of that in mind. I do sometimes, but not often enough. If I’m working on a new station launch, or a new package for a station it’s top of my mind. But once the package is up and running I start to forget and just make stuff I think is ‘cool’ – and on looking back I can see that I’ve undone all the hard work I initially set up with the original package!
It doesn’t matter how cool that Sweeper is, how amazing that Power Intro sounds – if it doesn’t have the consistent message/brand involved in it then you’re spoiling the very thing you’re trying to resonate with in your audience’s mind.
What Can We Do?
It’s important to set up some ‘brand rules’ across your station and then work to those with every piece you’re creating. Have a meeting with your PD/PC/Boss man and figure out exactly who you’re aiming for, what you’re trying to tell them and how you want them to feel. Then go away and think about how you translate those aim’s into an audio sense for your Radio Imaging. Then, once you’ve figured that out – revisit your aim’s on a monthly basis and check you’re always on point.
These aim’s might look like:
- Always using the artist to promote their song when it’s new to help with any unfamiliarity.
- Clear, consistent tone of voice in all production that reflects how the listener speaks.
- Production built with rhythm and flow of the station’s playlist in mind.
- Music selection for promos, top of hours (etc) to be slightly hotter than the playlist to help lift the excitement.
I’m sure there are many more you can think of. But by drawing these as lines in the sand you can have a great way to sense check what you’re creating on a monthly basis to ensure you’re still working within the constraints of the brand, and helping to promote it in a clear and consistent way.
In writing this, I’ve reminded myself of how to really do this job successfully. So goodbye ‘just-making-cool-stuff’ and welcome back ‘clear-and-consistent-vision.’ I’m ready to get back to crafting a Good Brand Identity.