LONDON: Radio has a number of inherent strengths that make it both resilient and adaptable and worthy of inclusion on a media plan, a leading planner has said.

In a Warc Best Practice paper – How to plan an effective radio campaign – Tony Regan, founder of strategic planning consultancy Brand Performance, argues that radio is good at reaching the right people, at the right times, in the right way.

"Reach and frequency are the nuts and bolts of radio campaign planning," he says, but the medium also offers targeting possibilities, brand affinity, topicality, creative flexibility and low costs.

Further, it is frequently a secondary medium for listeners who are doing something else at the same time, and a complementary one for advertisers using it as part of a multimedia campaign.

The medium's shift into digital has also extended reach potentially to the whole world, while enabling content sharing via social media and the rise of new formats such as podcasting.

Advertisers can buy into the presenter-driven relationships that listeners cherish, Regan advises, with a "native" approach that can be especially useful for categories such as financial services which are constrained by regulations that require terms and conditions to be voiced-over in "audio small-print".

"Sponsorships and promotions provide a way for presenters to engage listeners by talking engagingly about softer aspects of brands in an intrusive burst of saliency and call-to-action that delivers hard on brand metrics," he adds.

Regan acknowledges the problems an audio medium faces in a visual world, one of which is that consideration of the creative is often left until late in the day. Not only that but it may also be allocated insufficient budget to be effective.

"Strategic planners need to know the building blocks of minimum viable campaigns," he states, "and [to] be mindful of the problems of approving campaigns too late, when airtime scarcity leads to patchy activity and inconsistency (reach, frequency, impacts) across stations or geographies."

Another is the slow reporting of audience data compared to TV and online although Regan points out that audience quantification is not insight and adds that broadcast radio continues to have a unique place in people's listening repertoire, offering both advertisers and listeners benefits that can't be found in other forms of audio.

Data sourced from Warc