The Consumer Is At the Center of It All

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

At Nielsen’s recent Consumer 360, the theme was Confronting What’s Next.  There were discussions and presentations on reaching multicultural audiences, using data, artificial intelligence, building brands and more.

There was a lot to be learned from each of the panelists and brand presentations.  But, keeping true to the core of the event, it all boiled down to understanding and reaching the consumer.  More importantly, it was clear that this is the age of the consumer.  The consumer is in control, and wants and expects to be heard.  The consumer is at the center of it all.

This is not a concept that is new to radio.  Throughout its long history, the radio listener (a.k.a. the consumer) has always been heard.

Peter McGuiness, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer at Chobani, spoke of the brand’s consumers.  They consider their loyal consumers to be those that like what the brand stands for and not necessarily by the consumption.

Jonathan Mildenhall, Co-Founder and CEO of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, spoke of the power of purpose and about purpose-driven companies.  Specifically, he spoke of three “superbrands” – Coke, Nike and Apple iPod.  These three brands had a formula and a universal ideology that transcended business – they each have an instantly recognizable value proposition.

Deanie Elsner, President, U.S. Snacks with Kellogg, presented how three brands — Rice Crispy Treats, Cheez-It and Pringles – each grew their business by understanding and tapping into the behaviors of the product’s fans.

So what does this have to do with radio?  Radio has always understood and worked under the premise of putting the consumer at the forefront.

Radio understands loyalty.  Radio station listeners are loyal fans – they follow and chat with the personalities on radio stations.  These personalities understand the role they play in their listeners’ lives and within the community – as a trusted friend and a resource for information.

Radio stations know their purpose.  People tune in for companionship, to lift their mood and to make them laugh.  Radio is there in times of need.  When disaster strikes, a community is hit by a devastating event or an animal shelter is in need, radio is there.  The people in the community know this and that’s why during these times, listeners rally together to donate, support and give whatever they can – whether it is to donate water or supplies after an emergency, call in to express and share their thoughts or raise funds to save an animal shelter.

Radio understands its listeners.  Thanks to technology and social media, listeners can have a two-way dialogue with their favorite radio station.  They can follow and like.  They can have a live dialogue via call-ins to express their opinions on topics from automotive to religion to politics and more.  They can seek out advice from radio personalities and ask questions about health, food, current events – anything they want.  And radio delivers the programming that listeners want and consume – regardless of device or platform – available live, on-demand and on-the go.

Since radio’s early years, radio listeners were in control of local radio stations.  On music format stations, listeners would call in and request or dedicate songs.  Today, radio listeners create their own playlists powered by radio station apps.  Radio knows and has always known what brands are now discovering.  With radio’s 247.8 million people tuned-in weekly – that’s proof that the consumer is at the center of it all.

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