LONDON: Advertisers have traditionally seen radio as an activation medium but its flexibility – enhanced by its current multi-platform status – means it can play a broader and more ambitious role for brands, an industry figure has argued.

In a best practice paper for Warc – How to use radio in the media mix – Mark Barber, planning director at Radiocentre, explains that radio also meets the requirements for long-term, brand-building campaigns.

These, according to the IPA, need to do three things: reach a wide audience; make an emotional connection; and create brand fame.

Around 90% of UK adults listen to radio every week for an average of three hours each day, and over two-thirds tune into commercial stations making it the second most consumed medium after TV. And this pattern is reflected in other markets around the world, Barber notes.

Warc Media Awards

Warc's Media Awards recognise comms planning which has made a positive impact on business results. Find out more and enter.

Radio is also good at generating an emotional response, whether through music or discussions about topical issues, and this tends to make listeners more receptive to advertising.

And as radio accounts for around 20% of all time spent with media it is effective at driving high share of voice/share of mind for a brand on budgets that would have limited impact within other media.

While radio can work as a lead medium, Barber outlines the advantages of using radio in partnership with other media, such as online.

"With low levels of ad avoidance, radio excels at reaching out and spreading awareness of brands amongst all consumers regardless of their existing level of interest in a brand, and the internet is highly effective in allowing consumers to pursue their interest in a product or service, up to and including the point of purchase."

He also observes that "reallocating a proportion of a TV or press budget into radio increases overall ad awareness for no extra cost."

But to achieve these results, brands need to identify a clear role for radio within the media mix and to develop consistent brand audio assets to drive recognition.

Data sourced from Warc