Some Public Radio Stations – Including A Few VisABILITY Clients – Engage In Inappropriate Name-Calling

This post explains how you might inadvertently betray brand and weaken the impact of your pitches.

 PREMISE: Premiums are not gratuities! They are not gifts.

A wise broadcaster avoids those concepts… and the words that communicate them.

Think of it this way. Several times each day someone holds the door for us. Someone passes the salt. Someone says “Gesundheit” when we sneeze. In each case we automatically respond with a murmured “thank you.”  You and I automatically offer that response – the trivial, unconsidered reflex – after we receive a minor service or favor.  Without Thought! Without much meaning! Automatically!

The premium is not a “thank you” from the station. It’s not a “present.” It’s not a “giveaway.” It is not a “gift.” These common words and phrases open doors to places you do not want to go. Why work against your own self-interest by extolling the premium’s virtues and then – in the same solicitation pitch – devalue that premium by implying that it is a common, bare-minimum gesture of automatic acknowledgement, a mere reflex – a “thank-you?”

There are important financial and marketing reasons for to offer a premium to potential contributors – as long as you understand what you are doing and then do it effectively.

To market-savvy station executives the premium is an incentive to be carefully selected and thoughtfully presented. It serves iStock_000001179392XSmallthree functions:

  • The premium is a revenue-motivator. It is a tool to get renewals and upgrades, a tool to push their most committed listeners over the edge and into the membership roster and/or into a higher gift category or into the Sustainer Club.
  • The premium is also a branding item, an incredibly inexpensive way for station and program logos to be seen by thousands of community eyeballs, signalling that the station is a ubiquitous, valued and compelling public-service.
  • To station Members that premium is a badge of personal affinity – a form of self-branding that allows them to tastefully billboard their support of the mission and programming of their favorite station.

iStock_000016033728SmallBADGE OF AFFINITY! MOTIVATOR! INCENTIVE!  Your premium is absolutely not an after-the-fact thank-you. Nor a gift or air-kiss.

BOTTOM LINE: Understand and communicate your premium’s incentive-power. Avoid using dumb labels and terms that undermine its function. Make sure your audience thinks of it as a must-have prod to action. Make sure your colleagues reflect its role as a motivator – an inducement to contribute. Enhance your premium’s perceived value by emphasizing its relationship with your brand. 


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