Steve Reynolds, when talking with talent will often use the metaphor that morning shows are like porno: “Stop the talking and get to the (F Word).”
Obviously, as a Mennonite Youth Pastor, I’m deeply offended.
I look at Promotions as Romance. There’s subtle flirtation as you do the dance and connect.
A tease is a good example of that. Great, amazing promotions have teases. We’re so desperate to be liked that we tell people everything up front. With weekend contests I’d usually start with little bits of info starting on Wednesday, ie: “All this weekend, KSFM is turning green.”
What the Hell does that mean? Well…you’ll have to listen to find out. Most weekend contests are muggings: we ambush them with EVERYTHING at 5 pm on Friday and by the time they’re all aboard, it’s Sunday afternoon and the weekend is almost over.
“Romance” applies to events too.
I’ve blogged a couple of times about festivals and fairs and the importance of “making the first move.”
Standing at your canopy and waiting for the masses flowing passed to stop, is doomed to failure.
Unless you’re Brad Pitt, sitting on a stool at the bar and waiting for Shania Twain to come over is not going to work out too well for you.
(This is Isabel Boschi, Paige Nienaber’s Digital Director and I want to apologize for the above metaphor. He got the 90’s music package on Penga and has been insufferable ever since. If he ends an email ONE MORE TIME with “Whoot, there it is!”, I’ll quit.)
When doing Street School at the stations I always teach the promo team to stand in front of the set-up and work the crowd as they stroll past. Focus on kids, pets and offering them a reason just to pause for a moment.
So, I found myself on a Friday night in a corner of the South that I had not traveled to before. It was another night on the road and dinner for one in a hotel restaurant, this time, a Sheraton.
As the property is emerging from COVID their classic steak house which opens into the lobby, has a smaller menu as they get everything back up to full speed.
And at 7:15 on a HOT July night it was empty except for a bartender named Lauren and a server named Howard. She joked that I could pretty much sit anywhere but, “If that table ends up being reserved, I’ll have to ask you to move.”
Book in hand, beer on the table and with my order placed, I watched something amazing unfold.
People had begun to come into the lobby and were checking in. I think this is one of those markets that people drive to on a Friday after work with their family.
And as they then crossed to the elevator, Howard would stride out of the restaurant and greet them with a peppy “Hey, hey hey! How are you today? Hot day for a drive.” Which they would smile and concur. “I wanted to let you know that the restaurant IS open and we have nice cold beverages or, a great selection of wine if that is more your taste.”
Okay, if I’ve just driven 150 miles in 95 degree heat, this would be like throwing hand warmers to Eskimos.
“If you’re hungry we also have a dinner menu,” he added, handing them a small paper flier to take with them. “And we can also bring it to your room.”
He’d made the first move. If they were hungry, thirsty or a combination of the two, boom, the restaurant was now Top of Mind.
If I’d just straggled in, any thoughts of going out and getting back IN my car and driving to find a place to eat would have been banished.
He knew the audience and he knew what they wanted.
Sitting there, dining on a truly outstanding dinner, I watched as….people began to come down for dinner after getting changed out of their driving clothes.
Howard gets it.
Red Bull and other big brands call their promo teams “brand ambassadors” and when you see them at festivals, where are they? Out front, making the first move. Radio can learn a lot from Howard and these other examples of in-person marketing.