Part 2: We’ll Be Right Back After These Messages

Radio Should Be Part of Crisis Communication Plans

By Vicki Wyatt, Vice President of Creative Services

In Part I of “We’ll Be Right Back After These Messages … Successful Business Marketing in Radio,” the benefits and strategy of using radio as a B2B branding and product/services messaging medium were discussed. In addition, radio can offer on-the-spot information for public awareness during times of urgency, such as severe weather, environmental impact and other issues. Foster Marketing experienced this first hand as we guided a client caught in the grip of a hurricane.

The Immediacy of the Message – Crisis Communications

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, one of the great conveyers of information for the public was radio. With that in mind, Foster Marketing acted quickly to assist a major New Orleans-based client. Fearful for thousands of their employees in the region, the client wanted to assure staff members that all employee services were still at their disposal – paychecks, HR contacts and, more importantly if they evacuated, were they safe? Did they have needs the company could provide?

We compiled scripts with a plea for them to contact the company through a main telephone number. The announcement ran for several days on a variety of radio stations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, La., and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The response was tremendous. Valuable information was exchanged for the well-being of the employee, and the company was able to assist many with emergency help. Battery-operated radios were the only means of reaching so many without electricity and the strong messages aired along the Gulf Coast were a lifeline for many of their employees. Helping them during the crisis aided in a smoother transition back to work when conditions improved and operations resumed.

The immediacy of radio broadcasting is a tool that should be a vital part of any crisis communication plan. Know your regional stations and contact persons. At Foster Marketing, we already had that information on hand, with the means to prepare a script and deploy the message.

Do’s and Don’ts

For any message — from branding to product showcasing, to public service — a well-written script and a practical plan are paramount for success. If you are a DIYM (do it yourself marketer), then you need to keep in mind some important steps in planning your campaign.

• Do not use telephone numbers in your script unless the number is easily remembered (1-800-Kars for Kids, K-A-R-S, cars for kids) or in a crisis situation as illustrated.. Listeners will not remember them and typically do not have pen and paper handy to write them down. Reference you website as most URLs include a company’s name and are easy to remember.

• Frequency is more than a number on a radio dial. If your message is aired while a prime target listener left his car to pump gas, then you missed your mark.The message must be repeated several times per day or over a number of days to ensure that your target audience has heard your message and processed its meaning and value.

• Frequency is more than a number on a radio dial. If your message is aired while a prime target listener left his car to pump gas, then you missed your mark.The message must be repeated several times per day or over a number of days to ensure that your target audience has heard your message and processed its meaning and value.

• Don’t let a station sales rep convince you that they are the only station you need. Ratings are fine, and the station your colleagues or mother-in-law listen to may be the popular area choice, but is that your specific target? Better to have fewer specifically targeted listeners hear your message and respond favorably than to have your message fall on deaf ears.

• Always present a positive image, even in crises. No one wants to call their car insurer (that usually means bad news) but remember – you are in “Good Hands with Allstate.”

• Your message can be professionally produced by a production company (this can be quite pricey and sometimes necessary) but most stations offer production of the commercial as part of the schedule cost. Ask for a generic voice, not a popular show host. Demand excellence and revised production if you are not satisfied. And when the perfect recording is made, ask for the electronic file to provide to other stations thus, the generic voice so it will not be easily recognized and more readily accepted at other stations.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, an Arbitron study shows that radio reaches 94 percent of everyone ages 12 and older. Ready to reach across the airwaves in a strategic and professional manner to grab those 94-percenters who are waiting to hear from you?  Foster Marketing can strategically plan and produce your radio campaign to help you reach a specific audience. Contact us to set up a meeting.

Did You Miss Part 1 of This Article?

Read “We’ll Be Right Back After These Messages: Successful Business Marketing in Radio.” Knowing where to place your message is critical. Foster Marketing explains why radio could be a valuable channel to reach your target audience and deliver your message.