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Greenberg: Forging Local Connections With Radio Can Give Brands a Boost.

The concept of thinking globally and acting locally is hardly new, but it remains an idea that’s relevant — and a tailor-made option for radio and marketers everywhere seeking to drive brand growth in local markets.

That’s according to Tammy Greenberg, Senior VP of Business Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau, writing a post on the Association of National Advertisers website. “Regardless of the size and scope of a brand,” Greenberg writes, “the ultimate point of purchase and consumption is often within a local community.”

She cites a recent CMO Council report based on a survey of B2C and B2B brands, which revealed that a third of respondents say local business partners account for 40% or more of their company’s revenue. But the same report also notes that less than 30% of small businesses have completely recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a dynamic that highlights the need for national brands to help local partners. And that’s an opportunity for radio.

“Supporting local economies and resonating with people in local communities (i.e., keeping them informed, entertained, and connected) is a fitting definition for radio,” Greenberg writes. “As CMOs face pressure to reach profitable goals and are often expected to do more with less, radio can help brands drive local demand and sustainable growth in neighborhoods coast to coast.”

While surveys have documented the enduring power of the medium’s local feel and content, as well as its ability to reflect local culture, there’s even more at stake for marketers. A recent Katz Radio Group survey cited by Greenberg found that localizing radio messaging means more listener attention and impact. Testing generic and localized versions of audio ads — for a retailer, insurance brand and healthcare provider in different geographical areas — Katz found that the incorporation of local elements meant an average 24% lift in effectiveness. The same is true for contextual messaging, Greenberg notes.

“Community engagement and experiential marketing can build strong connections and foster a positive brand image,” Greenberg writes. “Arguably, radio pioneered experiential marketing to mass audiences through live, in-market events that provide entertainment and information to local communities. And now that live, in-person events are back following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, brands can leverage the immersive experience of radio-hosted events such as music festivals, fundraisers, and block parties to build relationships, boost demand for local products and services, and, ultimately, drive growth for their local business partners.”

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