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Brand Busting

By Ian Nance - posted Tuesday, 5 March 2013


A number of companies, mostly major, but also smaller, fulfil their need to shape a public profile by adopting a slogan or some form of mission statement which can be a very strong part of, if not the entire, overall brand.

If it’s strong, relevant, and pertinent to their operations it often works; the degree to which it succeeds depends on the credibility of that group’s image perceived by the market.

But this is helpful only when that message is true, and the brand is strong. When such a truth is stretched, or undermined just a little, then the entire credibility of that organisation becomes suspect to a discerning person. The branding is blown.

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Serious and large on-air dismantling of the brand is what I suggest is happening at present to one radio station in Sydney.

The group, which serves this spot on the FM dial, also runs a similar outlet in Melbourne. So far, I have not listened to it, but suspect that their image would be the same as that of Sydney.

The format niche in the radio audiences occupied by this station, that of a simple, focused music concept that would appeal to the 35-54 audience would appear to be valid, with research showing that broadcasters in similar global markets where thiskind of format exists, Magic in London, Coast FM in Auckland, and Lite FM in New York, are number one or two in their respective markets.

The company’s policy is to present relaxed, smooth listening with the claim of “more music, less talk”, and the slogan “your easy place to relax”.

They underscore their strategy reasonably clearly with their media statement: “When you live in world class cities like Sydney and Melbourne, life can be pretty hectic. With a playlist including the greatest hits and contemporary easy listening music, the station will be a place for listeners to tune in, and forget the hassles of the day, a great place to relax and unwind.”

That claim seems to be executed well in a presentation style where the on-air personalities have a manner, which flows gently to suit the nature of the music played, music which avoids extremes at either end of the excitement spectrum.

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I believe that music, as an entertainment and an art form, is accepted readily because, among other things, it triggers various feelings, memories, and emotional responses; it can evoke a wide range of moods ranging through stirring, dramatic, scenic, comedy, sorrow, love, intensity or lightness.

The music played on this station certainly is what is claimed to be – a soft, adult contemporary style, although perhaps bordering on the saccharine at times. I choose to listen to it rather than programme my own player, because its breadth of variety is wide and the repertoire less predictable, although the playlist could be a bit less repetitious.

For these reasons I find the site suited ideally as a background for when I am relaxing and walking, or else working. Depending on my mood at the time, it can stimulate close attention, or else be simply musical wallpaper, but it’s always calming. Most of the time.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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