Converting Obstacles to Opportunities: Why NPR Listeners Take Action Without “Calls To Action”

By Carol Lawrence, Michigan Radio Account Executive

Why do NPR station listeners take action after hearing a message about a company that does not state a specific call to action such as:  “Call now”, “Visit us at…”,  or “Stop by”?  Let’s start with what NPR is, and why NPR airs corporate messages of support to begin with.

NPR, or National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of approximately 900 public radio stations.  NPR produces and distributes news and cultural programming that is produced by NPR itself and other content providers such as American Public Media, Public Radio International, and Public Radio Exchange.   NPR is known to present fact-based, independent journalism that examines and airs diverse perspectives.  NPR journalists strive to tell stories in ways that transport the audience to the places where news is happening, and introducing the people affected. These are just two of the reasons that NPR is a unique service that is extremely valued by its members, listeners, and sponsors alike.

As non-profit organizations, National Public Radio stations rely on the financial support of listeners and corporate sponsors who, through their contributions, help make possible the service that NPR provides.  When a company makes a contribution to a public radio station, the station in return airs “thank you” messages, which always begin with…”Support for this station comes from…….”.  The essence of the message IS the very fact that the company is providing financial support for the NPR service in that community.  This alone ingratiates the company into the favor of the NPR listener. The secondary information in the message informs the listener about the funder in a “value-neutral, non-promotional” manner to further endear that company into the heart and mind of the listener.  The message can include things such as how many years the company has been in business, the services the company provides, and how to find out more about the company. 

It is understood that whenever a company shares information about their goods and services, in any form, they are doing so with the hope that you and I will take action and use their goods/services.   In other words, we already know that a company wants “action”, with or without an emphatic “call to action”.  And the good news is that if we do decide to take action we now more than ever have all of the tools necessary to find out anything further we would like to know after being introduced to a company of interest.  Even my 88 year old Mother knows how to use “the Google”!

The next time you hear or see an advertisement that begs:  “Come on by!”…or “Call us now!”…or “Don’t Delay!”…. please take a moment and evaluate for yourself.  Isn’t it already implied that the company wants you to do those things?  Why else would they have told you about their offerings?  Are you more compelled to take action because the company told you to do so?  Or like the NPR listener, are you just as, or even more,  compelled to become a patron of a company who spends all of their treasured time with you speaking factually, one-to-one,  to educate you about who they are and what they have to offer,  leaving you to decide for yourself whether or not to “call now”.

National Public Radio stations and their thousands of new and legacy sponsors are proof that when a sponsor message, sans a call to action, is heard on NPR, the listener responds.  NPR listeners know that, like themselves, the sponsor supports the NPR service that the listener values and trusts.  Secondly, the listener knows that the sponsor wants that listener to use their services. The bottom line is this: NPR and its listeners have trusted, proven, intimate relationships, which deliver time and again for the sponsors.   In such a close relationship, a call to action, truly and simply, goes without saying.

Branding with Michigan Radio: Perception = Reality

We defined branding in part one of the ‘Branding with Michigan Radio’ series. You can read that here.

In this second post, we’ll discuss the best way to get started with your branding plan.

The first thing to consider when building your brand is PERCEPTION.  What many businesses don’t consider is this very critical fact:  Perception = Reality.

How your customer (or potential customer) sees you is FACT for them, whether or not you would agree with it.

Let’s take an example here:  Bill hears from his friend that the manager of your retail location is knowledgeable about the product you sell.  Bill now PERCEIVES that if he needs to learn something about that product, your store would be a great place to do it.

So how do you manage that perception? How can you make sure that your customer base thinks “knowledge” when they see your logo?

The most obvious answer is that you tell them, with your marketing efforts, that you are knowledgeable about your product.  But you must consider that your customers may not trust every word that you tell them.  So you need to look for subtle ways to convince them.

One way is by showing them – make yourself a presence in social media or with a blog and offer FREE KNOWLEDGE about your product.  This will help you prove your point long before your customer makes it to your door.

Another way to manage those perceptions is who you market with.  Choosing a high-quality, intelligent media outlet results in the perception of your brand as also being high-quality and intelligent.

Michigan Radio listeners find our sponsors more credible than their competition, providing a powerful branding vehicle in just 15 seconds.

Your brand is elevated simply by being associated with Michigan Radio. The company you keep matters.

See all the posts in the ‘Branding with Michigan Radio’ category here or go to the next post here.

Industry Spotlight: Higher Education

Michigan Radio believes in the power of education and so do our listeners.
Because our audience is unusually well educated, a Michigan Radio sponsorship will allow your school’s message to reach an audience that is interested in investing in their future of their children.

As a financially affluent group, our listeners are uniquely capable of empowering their children by providing them with a strong education.

Contact us to find out more about how a Michigan Radio Corporate Sponsorship can help you get the word out about what your college or university has to offer!

Timing IS Everything: The Best Time to Air Your Sponsorship Message

When juggling multiple platforms, markets, and budgets, it can be difficult to know exactly when is the best time to become visible, to commit to a campaign and get the word out about your organization.

Good news! When it comes to scheduling a campaign, we offer a ton of flexibility.  If you’re in the midst of planning, the sooner you contact your Michigan Radio account executive, the better! Let us help you plan your schedule in ways that will help you reach your goals!

But, really, when should you schedule with Michigan Radio?

There’s no easy answer to that question, but it’s a great place to start!

Do you have seasons when you’re busier than other times? It seems inevitable that during certain times of the year your phone will be ringing off the hook and your calendar jam-packed.

Focusing your marketing efforts during your busiest time would be a great for capitalizing on activity to help meet your annual goals!  This can be a great time around which to focus your marketing efforts – your message reaches the ears of additional customers when they may need your products and services the most!

The opposite is true too. Is your business or organization hectic enough during your busy time, that any additional marketing efforts would be unnecessary?  It’s also possible to use your slower season to plant the seed with our listeners so that they’ll be well aware of your organization when they need products and services that you offer.

Even better than selecting your busy or slower season is to air your message as much as possible, across all seasons.  This allows you to reach people at all points in their buying/decision making cycle.

You can’t go wrong with Michigan Radio!  Contact us to discuss your goals and let us help to set up a schedule timed for when YOUR organization needs it most!

Industry Spotlight: Elective Healthcare

According to the National Institute of Health, middle aged women are the most likely to take advantage of alternative and complementary medicine.

Because 45% of our listener base is made up of women with a median age of 49, your message will directly reach your target audience.

Also, with our audience being 156% more likely than the average American to have an individual income of over $100,000 and 199% more likely to have earned a Master’s Degree, you will also reach an educated, affluent community to promote your business!

Contact us to find out more about how a Michigan Radio Corporate Sponsorship can help you grow your health services business!

Branding with Michigan Radio: What IS Branding?

You’ve heard about branding and how important it is for the success of your business.  You have put time and energy toward making your logo recognizable and becoming a ‘household name’ in your industry.  You’ve had meetings, both internal and external, about the best way to differentiate your business from the steady stream of competitors out there.

Are you still feeling like you don’t really have your arms around this “whole branding thing”?  Great news!  Michigan Radio can help with that!

Most people think “name brands” when they think of branding: “Kleenex”, “Coca Cola”, “Microsoft”, “Ford”.

They are right.  Kind of.

So what is branding, precisely? Isn’t it the same thing as marketing?

Branding is strategically building your name, planning to make yourself recognizable and managing what your customer base thinks of when they see your logo or hear your business name.

Marketing is carrying out your branding plan: creating your logo, placing your ads, writing your copy.  Marketing is the tactical part of your branding plan.

Now that you know what branding is, learn more about managing what your customer base thinks of when they think of in the next post of the series.

See all the posts in the ‘Branding with Michigan Radio’ category here or go to the next post here.

Industry Spotlight: Natural & Organic

Michigan Radio’s audience is intelligent, affluent and engaged…and they are interested in what you have to offer!

By putting your message directly in front of your target audience, you will be able to showcase your product and build brand awareness with a broader scope of consumers.

 

Contact us to find out more about how a Michigan Radio Corporate Sponsorship can help you grow your natural or organic business!

Industry Spotlight: Coffee Roasters

Michigan Radio’s audience is intelligent, affluent and engaged…and they are interested in what you have to offer!
By putting your message directly in front of your target audience, you will be able to showcase your product and build brand awareness with a broader scope of consumers.

Contact us to find out more about how a Michigan Radio Corporate Sponsorship can help your coffee and tea business grow!