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RAB Webinar: Radio’s Power Of Connection Looms Large, But Messaging Remains Crucial.

Radio’s ability to connect with listeners remains the medium’s chief calling card as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, according to the results of a survey of Radio Advertising Bureau members presented during a webinar on Wednesday.

The survey presented the following question to 259 RAB members: “In your opinion, what are radio’s greatest strengths as a place to advertise?”

“Connection with listeners” was named by 63% of respondents, followed by “targeting people while driving” (58%), “reach” (54%), “targeting people at work” (50%) and “reputation in the local market” (also 50%).

“The top 5 are all about personal touch,” noted Carolyn Gilbert, President and CEO of Cincinnati-based research firm NuVoodoo. “It’s one to one. Your programmers will tell you that that’s how personalities should be communicating, and we should make sure that all messaging does the same. It’s about them, it’s about connection, and it’s about targeting people where they are.”

Gilbert was a panelist for Marketing in the New Abnormal, a free webinar focused on radio management and sales strategies headed into a most uncertain fall season. The event, part of the RAB’s Business Unusual program’s Open for Business live video series, also included Gilbert’s NuVoodoo colleague Leigh Jacobs, the firm’s Executive VP of Research Insights. Annette Malave, the RAB’s Senior VP of Insights, moderated the discussion.

The NuVoodoo panelists also presented findings from RAB members of “fertile” advertising categories. Among them: attorneys, auto glass repair, cleaning services, electrician, handyman services, home improvement, HVAC/plumbing, insurance, junk pickup/cleanout, lawn/garden, medical, recruitment, takeout restaurants and roofing.

Gilbert and Jacobs also presented the latest findings from NuVoodoo’s ongoing coronavirus tracking data, which encompasses about 2,000 daily responses from P15-54s. Among their findings: Concerns over COVID-19 eased in June, but only slightly, with heightened levels of concern in the South; and most Americans are still working from home.

But in a finding with positive implications for radio, 29% say they’re now going to work outside their homes, up from April (18%), May (20%), June (24%) and July (27%).

One of the most intriguing findings is particularly germane to copywriters everywhere: Americans are tired of commercials that insist that “we’re all in this together.”

“There’s a great YouTube video tracking the many versions of ‘we’re all in this together,’” Jacobs said. “There was a whole spate of ads like that back in late March and early April. That type of ad has grown considerable fatigue… More folks appreciate discounts they can take advantage of during what are lean times for a lot of folks. Others appreciate businesses acknowledging frontline workers and highlighting the policies that they’re adopting to make shopping and consumption safer and more convenient.”

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