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The Midweek Motivator – Is Your Position Contestable?

When doing competitive for our clients (and their opponents) we pay close attention to this question: “Is this position truly contestable?” 

A focused point of differentiation beats the heck out of the old pitfall of, “difference for difference sake.” Let’s say you’re betting the franchise on hammering the issue of “music repetition” as a competitive advantage, but without having a clue whether any of your opponents are in fact being discounted for repeating too many titles. 

It’s a grand slam IF that perception actually exists, but a futile paper-sword exercise unless you have solid evidence of listeners’ dissatisfaction with repetition…if that’s NOT that case, your position is an exercise in frustration yielding zero strategic gain for your side. 

One of the prime tests of a strong position lies in this question: “but is it contestable?” In short, would an opponent take the opposite position? So think about it: no one would be foolish enough to take the position, “We’re the repetition station” so applying the aforementioned test of contestability,  not only is the “repetition” positioning is not contestable, it’s also pointless. 

In radio-days past, West Coasters may recall what KCBS did as their last Hail-Mary as an “Oldies” brand. Their strategy was to reposition K-EARTH as the station playing “The Same One Hundred Songs Over and Over.” They hammered it! 

It never moved the meter with K-EARTH’s P-1 fans; all the time, money and effort counted for nothing. 

The question becomes “what do we know about our brand strength?” Is it understood, misunderstood, or worse, virtually unnoticed? In recent times some radio leaders have avoided the opportunity to commission Perceptual Research. Is it expensive? Of course…but when you commission a study using one of the select industry research leaders, you’ll end the day with far fewer vagaries: those haunting questions like, “Are we winning the top-of-mind battle?” Ultimately your results can be priceless! 

Marketers recall the early 80’s when McDonalds turned Chicken. They wanted line-extension so they rolled out McChicken, then came Chicken Mc Nuggets. A cardinal rule of marketing tells us when we spread our imaging we may be vulnerable within our bulls-eye core. McDonalds might even have underestimated Kentucky Fried Chicken. Regardless, they fell into the “contestability trap” but only briefly before revamping their strategy. 

The most crucial rule of Radio “Flanker Warfare” demands whatever you decide, your position must move to the largest uncontested area with this caution: that area has to be worth fighting for! 

More on Radio “positioning for contestability” in next week’s Motivator.