To­day FM lis­tens to lis­ten­ers as re­brand weath­ers per­fect storm

Irish Independent - Business Week - - COMMERCIAL PROPERTY -

TO­DAY FM CEO Keith McCor­mack told a Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tute break­fast about the “per­fect storm” fac­ing the Com­mu­ni­corp sta­tion as it re­branded. In a pre­sen­ta­tion en­ti­tled ‘Oh, It’s On Brand’, McCor­mack said the Ir­ish ra­dio mar­ket had be­come crowded, dig­i­tal au­dio was “the new deal” and the way 25- to 44-year-olds en­gaged with ra­dio had changed ut­terly.

Some soul-search­ing was needed to rein­vent To­day FM. Who are we? What do we stand for? Why do we ex­ist? How do we re­main rel­e­vant? When the sta­tion started 20 years ago, it was seen as orig­i­nal, even mav­er­ick. But con­sumer feed­back showed the sta­tion had be­come stale, marked by com­ments like “old”, “bor­ing”, “staid” and “not what it was”.

McCor­mack and his team dug deeper and asked if To­day FM had lost its edge. Re­search showed they had formed a cul­tural con­nec­tion with lis­ten­ers who felt they owned “a lo­cal, na­tional sta­tion”. Craic, live events and en­ter­tain­ment served with a dol­lop of ir­rev­er­ence be­came the new con­tent pil­lars around which they would build. A multi-plat­form strat­egy was fine-tuned in tar­get­ing ‘the re­luc­tant adult’. New stream­ing ser­vices were rolled out, with mu­sic from the 80s, 90s and al­ter­na­tive. The changes saw To­day FM achieve a daily reach of 412,000 lis­ten­ers and 884,000 ev­ery week. Brand­ing agency Dy­namo was hired to cre­ate a new look and Publi­cis de­vised the ‘Oh, It’s On’ ads. The idea of drop­ping the sta­tion’s trade­mark yel­low was short-lived.

Com­mu­ni­corp re­cently rolled out Au­dioXi, which is dig­i­tal au­dio con­tent streamed through a con­nected de­vice. The mar­ket is set to grow to €6m by 2021. Headed up by Rob Ti­mony, Au­dioXi launched with 20 mil­lion monthly im­pres­sions, from more than 20 in­de­pen­dent pod­cast ag­gre­ga­tors to mu­sic and ra­dio streams. Brand own­ers ac­cess au­di­ences di­rectly or pro­gram­mat­i­cally. Ads are re­layed through cho­sen pod­casts, live streams or mu­sic playlists. Part­ner­ing with Ad­sWizz, Au­dioXi pro­vides tar­geted au­di­ences by lo­ca­tion, age, gen­der or con­tex­tual and be­havioural seg­men­ta­tion. Aer Lin­gus signed up as Au­dioXi’s launch part­ner. Carat bro­kered the deal, work­ing with the air­line’s head of mar­ket­ing Derek Liddy.

⬤ On the ad­land pitch front, three agen­cies are com­pet­ing for AA Ire­land’s me­dia-buy­ing: Javelin, GroupM’s Wave­maker and the in­cum­bent, Core’s Zenith. Javelin cre­ated the se­ries of AA ads with the two yappy dogs, Mul­li­gan and Butch, look­ing af­ter their re­spec­tive fam­i­lies’ in­sur­ance cover. AA’s head of mar­ket­ing Laura Con­lon-McKenna said the ads earned strong traction.

Mean­while, a Dublin agency is set to land the Aer Lin­gus cre­ative ac­count, with Publi­cis and Ac­cen­ture In­ter­ac­tive’s Rothco bat­tling it out. Kes­sel­sKramer

han­dled the air­line in re­cent years.

⬤ On job moves, Nick Cur­tis-Davis has joined Bord Bia as head of brand de­vel­op­ment. He was with Di­a­geo for seven years, where he was Euro­pean in­no­va­tion man­ager. Elaine McDe­vitt has stepped down as MD of the In­sti­tute of Cre­ative Ad­ver­tis­ing & De­sign (ICAD). PR con­sul­tant and au­thor of ‘Candy-Coated Mar­ket­ing’ Sheena Hor­gan has re­placed Ni­amh Gal­lagher as CEO of Drinkaware, whose vi­sion is “an Ire­land without al­co­hol mis­use”. Drinkaware is funded by drinks com­pa­nies and gro­cery re­tail­ers.

⬤ Next up at the Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tute break­fast se­ries, part­nered by Kay Mc­Carthy’s MCCP, is a pre­sen­ta­tion by Visit Cork’s des­ti­na­tion man­ager Ur­sula Mor­rish in Fire Restau­rant on Oc­to­ber 17. In a talk en­ti­tled Pure Cork!, Mor­rish will speak about de­vel­op­ing a new brand for the city and county, sup­ported by new vis­ual iden­tity to pro­mote the re­gion to home and overseas vis­i­tors. Fi­acre O’Don­nell of branded glass con­tainer maker En­circ will speak on ‘Break­ing the Mould’ in Novem­ber.

⬤ And fi­nally... As MC for IAPI’s Adfx awards in the RDS, stand-up Deirdre O’Kane couldn’t re­sist in­dulging in some gen­tle put­downs as the win­ners made for the stage. O’Kane said it’s time Boys + Girls were called Girls + Boys. Even the grand prix win­ner didn’t es­cape O’Kane’s jibes. “In the Com­pany of Huskies was named af­ter the Neil Jor­dan film (Com­pany of Wolves), but they just couldn’t re­mem­ber the name,” she re­marked sheep­ishly.

Talk­ing point:To­day FM, with its flag­shipIan Dempsey break­fast show, has re­branded

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