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The Midweek Motivator – The Rule of the Mind

Al Reiss and Jack Trout once proclaimed, “If marketing is a battle of perceptions—not product—then the mind take precedence over the marketplace.” For those of us in Media, consider this code for “The Nielsen battle is waged in the minds of your listeners, not in your programming slogans.”

Bluntly put, we need to focus as much on impacting the mind as we do on our product. Yet be assured that if your on-air product is disappointing resulting in a “promise-performance gap,” no amount of mind-shaping can offset a weak product. Yet in Diary markets Nielsen attribution is a singular solitary exercise connecting emotional attachment with memory! We’ve said it many times: If a perception doesn’t exist in a listener’s mind…it doesn’t exist. But when your brand makes emotional connections with your target P-1 listeners, you’ve scored!

It’s also important to accept the reality that there’s not enough time or money to change listeners’ entrenched habits. Stations (formats) that make head-on charges against an entrenched and dominant leader are case-studies in squandered time and resources. In fact the single most wasteful thing you can do in marketing is to try to change a mind. Just try to convince a Packers fan the Bears are a better team worth rooting for. Or, suggest to a Republican they should become a Democrat (and conversely).

There are two instruments that can alter a perception; “The Big Hammer” or the “Small Step.” As the title suggests The “Big Hammer” force-flows nuclear marketing; carpet bombs your message with both reach and frequency. Be aware in 2022, resources for this strategy aren’t easily accomplished. And, even if this tonnage spending is approved, the brand message will take time to stick.

But “The Small Step” approach allows you to adjust and modify your position over a defined span of time. As an example, if you’re a Gold-based AC desirous of becoming a Mainstream AC, instead of shocking your Cume by radically jerking your average song year and genre mix, it’s better to recalibrate your music-menu by degree; song-style coalition shifts and a point more tempo as examples. Looking at actual case histories, KKCW Portland and KOST Los Angeles did this brilliantly and today, continue to hold their positions many years later.

Assuming your music architecture is accurate, your future turns on consistency, message, and relentless Right and Left Brain branding.

Once more, the Golden Rule of positioning? If a perception doesn’t exist in the mind, it doesn’t exist.