For Fort Myers-Naples area small business owners, marketing and advertising are crucial to surviving any crisis, including Coronavirus. The business literature has an abundance of case studies from depressions, recessions, natural disasters, and, yes, pandemics that affirm this existential conclusion.
Advertising, however, may seem extravagant right now to Southwest Florida businesses that are struggling to make rent, purchase inventory, and meet payroll. Henry Ford, though, is often quoted as saying, "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping a clock to save time."
Therefore, as business owners from Marco Island to Port Charlotte (and every point in between) are cinching their belts tighter-than-ever to stay alive, the dollars invested in advertising must be spent in the most effective manner possible.
During periods of uncertainty, advertising works the hardest when placed in within media that consumers trust. During the time of COVID-19, advertising on Fort Myers radio has earned that trust among local consumers.
The authors of a recent study published in the Journal of Advertising Research say that, "Marketers should consider the media context in which their ads appear when seeking to get their messages remembered, drive brand recognition and recall, and launch new products."
“Advertisers accordingly should rely not only on information such as ratings, reach, or readership but also on specific media-context factors that exert positive, negative, or neutral influence on memory for the placed advertisements,” they wrote.
Dr. Horst Stipp, EVP, research and innovation: global and ad effectiveness at The Advertising Research Foundation concurs with the findings of this study.
"Context is likely to affect ad processing, recall, sales response, and brand perceptions, both positively and negatively," says Dr. Horst.
"Positive effects have been shown when ads are placed in a context that consumers are involved in, pay attention to and value, as well as when there is an alignment between the context and the ad message. You may pay more attention to ads in your favorite, highly trusted magazine."
"High correlations between attention to content and advertisement recall have been shown in many studies - but attention is only the first step," continues Dr. Stipp. "If the consumer pays attention to an ad, the context can have additional impact. Emotions aroused by the content preceding an ad can rub off or transfer to the ad."
Dr. Stripp is quick to point out, though, that trust should not be the only consideration. "While context can be important, reach, targeting, and especially creative quality usually are more important than context. The very best ads probably work in any context. But they are likely to work even better in an optimal context."
Advertising on local radio delivers both the trust and the reach Dr. Stipp describes as being crucial to advertising success.
Every week, more consumers are reached by Fort Myers radio than all other media. More than local TV. More than social media. More than Pandora and Spotify. According to research from Nielsen, radio's reach has remained little changed during the current crisis.
In addition to its sheer reach advantage, local radio also has immense trust among its listeners.
A study by Jacobs media conducted during the crisis asked radio listeners who they trust completely "to provide answers and solutions to the Coronavirus outbreak". Forty-eight percent of consumers indicated uncompromising trust in their "home" station. The only entities that enjoyed a greater concentration of trust was the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) at 54%.
A Nielsen study conducted in March also found that consumers place a profound amount of trust in the information local radio station have been sharing during the pandemic. According to the study, among listeners:
- 60% trust radio to give them timely information
- 59% indicate that radio is a good source of information
- 56% trust radio to give them accurate information
- 53% trust the information they get from their favorite radio host
- 44% are still finding ways to listen to radio, even though they are not commuting or working outside the home
- 42% agree that having access to radio (on air or online) has helped them deal with the virus outbreak
The study also suggests that radio's trustworthiness is fueled, in large part, by the relationship on-air personalities foster among their listeners. Here's how the audience responds to their local radio hosts:
- 53%, makes me feel more informed about things I need to know
- 46%, helps me know about what stores are open and where I can shop
- 44%, makes me feel more connected to my community
- 40%, makes me feel less stressed
- 37%, makes me feel less concerned/panicked
When choosing how to spend limited advertising dollars during the current crisis, SWFL small business owners need to consider the context in which their messages appear.
"The facts are irrefutable. Trust in content and trust in ads go hand in hand. And this drives purchase intent," says Peter Miller, CEO, NewsMediaWorks. "Brands are indeed judged by the company they keep, and we are seeing a flight to quality."
Based on this research, when a business owner advertises on Fort Myers radio, their message appears in a context that consumers trust.
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