10 Things to Consider if you have Bad Ratings

By Buzz Knight / BuzzKnightMedia.com

1) Start with the Brand Strategy

Everything starts here. Your station can’t survive if the brand strategy is not honed, crafted and perfectly executed.

To simplify this:

  • Understand who you are in the competitive landscape based on research on your defined core available audience and on analytics available from ratings.
  • Start with a deep dive analysis on the current brand strategy and get to the core of what people think, feel and say about your product.
  • Communicate your brand message consistently and effectively.
  • Position your brand.

Ask yourself “what business am I in and what audience am I trying to serve?” and make sure you are clearly and definitively answering that question.

2) Specifically evaluate your brand messaging.

  • Audit the messaging to be certain you are consistently on point.
  • When PPM became currency, programmers incorrectly thought the measurement technology meant brand messaging was less important.
  • Branding is still critical and the messaging that comes out of the speakers needs to consistently be on point with flawless execution.

I promise you there is ratings upside when you evaluate brand messaging for your stations.

3) Run a specific, detailed analysis of your latest research from top to bottom.

  • If you are a spoken word station, analyze in detail whether topic choice matches the brand promise.
  • If you are a music station, analyze in detail the music architecture along with the most recent music test.
  • Analyze whether the best tested music is being played the most and whether airplay analysis shows that poorly tested music has crept in.
  • Scan the bottom of the airplay analysis as the one and two play songs are usually an example of what I call “feature creep” getting in the way of best song execution.

4) Audit whether you are playing the ratings game and the stopset game perfectly.

  • This is obviously even more critical in PPM instances, as a poorly executed station can lose 15 to 20 % of its audience if it isn’t executing stopset placement correctly.

Another big ratings upside area, I promise.

5) Evaluate the most recent marketing plan to determine its effectiveness and specifically whether its on point with the brand strategy.

  • Determine whether there is a ratings cause and effect with the executed plan.

6) Do a complete audit of non-music content in the form of promos and production elements and attempt to “mow the lawn” and cut some things back,

Seek ways to trim inventory(especially barter or remnant type)so the listening experience is cleaner and more economical.

Put yourself in the position of the listener when you consume content.

7) If it is a PPM market, be certain the encoding process is working effectively and analyze impact on individual song by song basis with the help of tools like TVC-15.

  • If poorly encoded material exists, it should be eliminated if possible or enhanced via production capabilities.

8) Evaluate whether the station has clearly defined a leadership position in the eyes of the listener.

  • People like being associated with leading brands and we have to remind the audience about our leadership position.

9) Evaluate ways to create a clearer point of differentiation in the eyes of the listeners.

  • The lines are often blurred in the competitive marketplace and this is crucial to standing apart.

10) Determine if you have the right people on your bus.

  • If the wrong people are on the bus, promptly let them off at the next stop.

Appeared first in Radio Ink

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