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With Audio At The Forefront Of Media Planning, Radio Remains Its 'Dominant Force.'

With the word “audio” bandied about in the ad buying world as an umbrella term covering podcasts and other 'screen-free media' in addition to radio, RAB's latest contribution to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)’s Knowledge Center blog reminds marketers of radio's versatility and credibility when it comes to strengthening brands.

“The diversification of audio platforms and the attention audio commands among consumers has opened up tremendous opportunity for brands to expand their audio strategies and grow their audiences,” RAB Senior VP, Business Development Tammy Greenberg says. “Audio is where the consumer wants to be, and radio is fueling the entire audio ecosystem.” MediaVillage founder Jack Myers agrees that “[while] radio continues to be somewhat of a second-class citizen, all the statistics prove it is the dominant force in audio."

Advertisers and media planners speaking with RAB tout radio's various strengths in the wider audio universe. "Radio endorsers bring an added layer of credibility to advertising and have loyal fans who really trust their opinions," says Timea Ciliberti, CEO and founder of sleep aid Relaxium, which recently added radio to its media mix. Adds Marc Osgood, owner of direct response advertising and marketing firm Direct Response Professional, "Radio is at its best when your advertising speaks to the customer's inner voice that visuals could distract. When used properly, it can really be a powerful platform."

Speaking to the power of radio's role as storyteller, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Chief Programs and Marketing Officer Maureen Carlson says, “When radio station talent share a passionate story about how fundraising affects a local child in a local community at a local hospital, magic happens. These stories work better in radio than they do in any other media."

Then there's radio's reach. “It is a given that adding radio to a media mix is going to extend the reach and provide the opportunity to engage consumers differently," American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) President and CEO Marla Kaplowitz says. "To be successful, brands must be thoughtful about the right execution because audio is not stimulating the other senses in the same way as visual media can. Brands must focus on allowing the consumer to create their own visual sense connected to the audio advertising." Adds Kendra Clune, Associate Media Director for national grocery chain Kroger, whose media plan includes podcasts and streaming as well as, in various markets, radio 52 weeks a year, “If you are looking for efficient reach with local impact, radio is your answer."

For advertisers to succeed in the brave new audio world, says RAB's Greenberg, “they must develop an audio strategy that goes beyond ad buying and adopts a distinctive voice and sound for their brands. Marketers agree that audio, and more specifically radio, when distributed across multiple platforms, brings ample benefits to brands and organizations: efficient reach, storytelling in its purest form, social responsibility, and immersive experiences that drive results.”

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