Nicola Murphy, head of brand development, IRS+ looks at what the future might look like for local radio once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Life in lockdown brings about changes in behaviour as both brands and consumer scramble to catch up to an ever changing ‘normal’. For us to predict what’s in store for local radio after lockdown we need to look at potential changes to both consumer and brand behaviour.
As optimism sneaks away into the night following each passing day with news of more lives taken, growing pockets of community spirit rally together to grab hold and bring back a bit of hope. The intrinsic need to connect with our wider community is met through very creative solutions. From local neighbourhood bingo to karaoke sing-a-longs, a community spirit not seen since my childhood in the 80’s, is back – albeit socially distant. These days local is VERY loud.
Consumers have had an opportunity to reassess their priorities while spending more time at home with loved ones. Home working, online fitness, self-care (vitamins and meditation), virtual meet ups, distance learning, DIY, baking and home schooling are just some of the growing trends as people adapt to isolation.
Only time will tell if consumer habits during this unprecedented time have become so ingrained that they will eventually change the fabric of Irish business.
Simon Moore, CEO of Innovation Bubble has said: “We’re not open to new things—we go from a gain mentality to a maintain mentality, which is important for a lot of the brands to realize,”
As businesses adjust to virtual meetings consumers are also adjusting to bringing their behaviour online. New demographics, like older consumers, have been forced by this virus into the world of online shopping for essential items and as a result may continue this trend as they grow in confidence. This creates huge opportunities for brands with ecommerce solutions. As consumers remain cautious while restrictions are lifted, an online solution will speed up the process of recovering sales.
The potential growth of e-commerce could mean good news for local radio. Through our own research we have shown how ecommerce and radio advertising work in harmony to increase sales and revenue.
“Spotlight”, one of the new products in our IGNITE range of off-the-shelf, ready to go products has proved especially popular. Why? Probably because it goes far beyond a so-called standard radio campaign blending radio with social media to inform, educate and serve the needs of listeners and followers, giving brands exactly what they need to remain relevant in the minds of consumers throughout this pandemic.
Spotlight gives brands an authentic, trusted platform to add value, context and depth to their messaging. It operates most effectively across for key platforms: Education, Community, CSR & Expertise. These platforms make spotlight highly relevant in today’s environment for brands and public bodies.
Increasing Footfall & Online Sales
Recent research from an independent agency, commissioned by us clearly demonstrates the impact of local radio advertising on:
- Increasing footfall into stores
- Increasing online sales
These are metrics that are revenue impacting and can be unquestionably attributed to local radio advertising. This research was undertaken pre Covid19 crisis, but we believe that these results would be even better if the research was conducted now. With many brands cutting their spend, it has given those continuing to advertise a more captive audience.
In response to shifting flexible working arrangements, local radio will become the soundtrack of the “working from home” consumer. When and how we consume audio will also change with radio becoming more prevalent during the day for those working at home and not just at commuting times, forcing producers to reassess how they evaluate location listening. Success in radio is rooted in habitual listening and with consumers spending more time at home now and in the future, the future looks promising for local radio.