Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

Since the most effective radio commercials are stories about your intended audience, the more you know about that audience’s lifestyle, the more convincing your story will be. Unfortunately, most of the commercials they hear sound…like commercials. So if you can create a story so that the listener says to themselves, “Yeah, that’s what it’s like,” or “Hey, that’s me!” you will have established some immediate rapport with them. That’s the first step. Your story can be humorous, informative, or emotional, but it has to be relevant to them.

We’ve all heard “slice of life” commercials and wondered, “Hmmm, whose life is this a slice of?” Your audience isn’t there to listen to the commercials. They’re listening to the radio to be entertained, informed, tickled in some way. Do this and you’ve overcome a major hurdle on your way to forming a brief pact with your audience. If a story is well told and is relevant to their lifestyle, then you have formed a co-creative partnership with them. Your story will be triggering memories and touching that audience in some way. If they feel that you know them and care about them, and you’re not just trying to sell them, then they’ll be a lot more responsive to your suggestions about your product or service.

Too many commercials ignore what’s going on in your audience’s psyche and try to sell them without first establishing rapport. If you know your audience is frustrated by a problem that your product or service can solve, then address that problem, dramatize it, make it come to life. If you know what their preconceptions are, let them know that you know.

One of the most powerful ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors is simply to let the audience know that you understand their problems, their desires, their wishes and their frustrations. Time spent in your commercial building that rapport could often be more productive than listing items or prices or even benefits. Of the more than 3,000 advertising messages a day people are exposed to, the ones that provide a sense of understanding are the ones most likely to be listened to.

Any way you slice it, relevance to your audience’s lifestyle is a powerful tool.

© 2002 Hedquist Productions, Inc.


  • The R.A.P. Cassette - November 1998

    Production demo from interview subject, Bumper Morgan @ Bumper Productions, Nashville, TN; plus more imaging, promos and commercial work from Randy Cox,...