While radio companies are busily beefing up their digital assets, creating entirely new departments, hiring tech experts, and rushing to get their content onto new platforms, the industry may be missing an obvious revenue-generating opportunity:
Merchandizing and marketing radio’s best brands with logoware.
Regular readers of this blog have heard me make the same plea the last couple of autumns: It’s time to beef up your logoware and brand merchandizing for the holidays.
Well, another Hanukkah and Christmas have come and gone, and most stations – and more importantly, their parent companies – have missed the boat.
A recent article in USA Today tells the story of an embattled, budget-challenged industry that is finding a way to generate revenue from their brands with logoware and merchandizing:
High schools sport programs
As Judy Shoemaker, the National Federation of State High School Associations director of marketing, puts it, “The whole reason we created this program was to find a new revenue source for the schools. School budgets have been decimated.”
You could make that same case for most local radio stations. Budgets for marketing and promotion are sparse at best. And the ways in which radio brands are able to get their logos highly visible have dried up.
At the same time, a couple of decades ago, this was an area where radio excelled. Station T-shirts and sweatshirts were plentiful, whether distributed free at events or sold for profit. But as consolidators and corporate bean counters slashed marketing budgets throughout the last several years, most stations have lost their edge for logo visibility, not to mention a potential profit center.
If you think back to a time when most of us grew up, it was pretty common to attend a sporting event and not see many jerseys, shirts, and caps with the team logo. But pro and college teams got smart. And today, fans proudly identify themselves with their team colors and logos – in airports, in restaurants, and around towns.
While not every radio station is “logo worthy,” many still are. And these stations often boast email databases in the tens of thousands. Tell me that the majority of these listeners wouldn’t spread the essence of your brand by wearing your team’s colors.
A few years back, Jennifer Williams with Greater Media Detroit took a cool promotion and made it something special for WCSX. Working with a vehicle wrapping company, she enticed scores of station fans willing and able to use their cars and trucks to display WCSX artwork – station logos, album artwork, and band logos. “The WCSX Pace Cars” promotion worked wonders in a market where road rallies and “cruises” are part of the entertainment menu. And listeners volunteered their vehicles in exchange for gas cards and other small perks.
While we applaud companies that have taken steps to hire digital managers who can help lead them into the 21st century, why wouldn’t a corporate merchandizing manager be a success in the current environment?
Working with broadcasters’ best brands, the potential is there to raise millions of dollars, while also providing more exposure for stations that are in dire need of local market visibility. And as the dashboard becomes more cluttered with options, a visible brand has a decided edge.