Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

Authority: Associating your advertiser, his product or service with someone the audience knows, respects, aspires to be like, or trusts can get attention, add cache, and possibly help him sell more.

Using a famous celebrity can be a tricky path. A certain segment of your audience will respond positively to the endorsement. Another segment will distrust the brand, perceiving the endorsement as paid-for hype. With celebrities, the public’s opinion of their personal lives can change rapidly, dashing a successful endorsement on the rocks of exposure. Certain sports figures come to mind.

It comes down to trust. Your clients may not have access to international celebrities. But there are other associations that might help build trust with your audience.

Local celebrities: well-known people in your community who use your client’s product or service. You may or may not be able to get the mayor, city council members, police or fire chiefs, hospital administrators, but there are other possible personalities who may work as well:

Not necessarily well-known, but knowledgeable people, experts in niche areas – musicians, athletes, authors, business people, crafts people, artists, philanthropists, volunteers, hobbyists, writers, pilots, bartenders, farmers and others who would be appropriate for your client.

The stories can be told from their point of view using their voices or about them using another voice.

Air personalities. Every station has its own policies on this, but these individuals have listener cred. Regular customers who tell their stories about benefits from the advertiser can be effective, however…

Please don’t script these commercials. Let each “authority” tell their story extemporaneously. The stories needn’t be perfect all-positive endorsements. Let them be real. Let them be believable.

Association: Who has the owner of the business trained with? A famous chef, interior designer, skydiver, or flaming chainsaw juggler? Tell the story. Build up the credibility of the mentor, detail the rigorous training, talk about the on-going advice and consulting your client still gets from the expert.

Who has the owner trained? Talk about the successes of her students, which helps position her as the expert. What restaurant critic loves the food at your client’s restaurant? What well-known bargain hunter, fashion plate or picky customer shops at the advertiser’s store?

Record the sound of a trainer working with a local athlete or team and record bits of their conversation. Apply this technique to other kinds of advertisers.

Who does the client hang out with? Who is part of his circle of friends or businesses associates? Depending on the business, building cache can be more powerful than an outright pitch.

These approaches can be as subtle or as direct as you want to make them.

Local heroes can help make your client a local hero, and people want to do business with heroes.

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