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Don’t Let the Competition Brand You

February 23, 2021

Many consider our new Democratic President to be a moderate. Even his decades on Capitol Hill reflected a moderate position. For this reason, I was surprised when his Republican rival labeled him a socialist who wanted to defund the police. Yes, this was a portion of the Democratic Party, but not the person they selected as their candidate.

While Biden won the popular vote and the Electoral College, many states were much closer than a lot of us expected. All of a sudden, some people who voted for Trump described Biden as a socialist who wanted to defund the police.

Simply put, for a portion of the population, the Republican’s branding of its competitor worked.

So what can we learn about this moment in history that can help us in the radio business?

It’s imperative that you don’t allow your competition to brand you. Whether it is our industry or your individual station, don’t be passive as others make claims about you. You need to be aware and be prepared to combat such claims.

One current example is that of the pure plays claiming they are bigger than the entire radio industry. Left in a vacuum, their claim will resonate with advertisers, who may then divert our well-deserved advertising dollars. Radio sales reps should be ready and armed with facts to counter this claim.

Local stations need to be cognizant of what their radio competitors are saying about them, whether it’s regarding their audience profile or how they conduct business. Never let a single inaccurate claim continue uncontested, no matter how outrageous. Without an adequate response, the claim will become your brand.

It’s difficult but best to address these claims before they ever gain traction. If you have spent the time to establish your brand, which we have written about numerous times in this forum, it is more difficult for others to knock it down.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “A lie travels around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes.” That quote is from the 19th century. It is still true today. The 21st century provides us with tools to spread misinformation quickly. That fact makes it even more important to quickly address mischaracterizations. Your brand and reputation depend on it.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner