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RAB: Radio Using Innovation, Technology To Benefit Clients.

Radio has constantly evolved over the past 100 years as the medium has expanded from AM to FM, to streaming and on-demand. That innovation spurs growth and according to Kantar BrandZ, companies and brands that innovate during difficult times grow seven times faster than their competitors, who rest on their past laurels.

Radio groups that capitalize on the latest technology and innovations, such as in-dash displays and smart speakers, also provide a benefit for marketers and advertisers whom they partner with.

“Reliance on audio alone without a visual is one of the most prevalent reasons that brands have not leveraged the power of radio,” RAB Senior VP/Business Development Tammy Greenberg writes in a blog post. “With the rise of digital audio, technology that lets brands include a visual component with their audio is growing in popularity.”

Greenberg highlights Quu, whose patented web-based software enables radio stations to publish “Visual Quus,” synced messages on vehicle dashboards.

Beasley Media Group, which is an investor in the technology, used Quu for visually supplemented audio campaigns for several brands, including Black Entertainment Television (BET), Kentucky-based car wash company Thoroughbred Express Auto Wash, and a Michigan-based law firm.

Synced messages that accompanied audio ads played by Beasley stations included tune-in reminders (BET), keywords to receive a free car wash (Thoroughbred Express Auto Wash), and the law firm’s vanity phone number. Beasley says each campaign contributed to an uptick in engagement or conversions.

Ad tech companies Instreamatic and Say It Now each developed software to enable conversational and actionable audio advertising through smart speakers. Say It Now used its technology to develop a campaign for Pizza Hut in the U.K. Actionable radio ads were created that encouraged listeners to interact with a smart speaker. CEO Charlie Cadbury says 46% of listeners who heard the ad, engaged in a dialogue with their smart speaker to receive a discount code, which was sent to their phone.

“Actionable audio ads allow marketers the opportunity to get close to their consumer base, collect invaluable data, and personalize the experience for the listener,” Greenberg explains.

iHeartMedia has partnered with clients to meet listeners where they are… even if they are not physically there. iHeartLand on the Roblox platform is a metaverse destination where fans and artists can interact while learning how to build their own music empire. State Farm partnered with iHeartMedia for naming rights of the stadium and neighborhood within the imagined gaming world.

Alyson Griffin, VP of Marketing at State Farm said the insurance company “jumped in really fast because we can replicate what we do naturally in the real world.” She continued, “We show up with stadium sponsorships, for example, naming rights and gaming. We’ve been in gaming for over a decade and we are a big sponsor of audio, with iHeartMedia as an example. It felt like the right next steps… showing up where our potential and future customers will be in interesting new ways – but that are authentic to how they think about us in the real world.”

“As consumer behavior evolves and brands strive to remain relevant and drive growth, the medium they choose will be as important an ingredient to their success as the message,” Greenberg writes. “The radio industry’s focus on innovation to serve listeners is a recipe for growth — for both the medium and the brands that use it.”

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