Coleman Insights is entering its fourth decade as a worldwide leader in radio research. More than 300 stations--in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States--currently rely on us for insights that contribute to their long-term success. Among the North American stations who we work with on a regular basis are Hot 97/New York, KROQ/Los Angeles, WTOP/Washington, KSON/San Diego, K104/Dallas, Virgin Radio/Vancouver, Power 106/Los Angeles, KS95/Minneapolis, La Z/Mexico City, The Bear/Edmonton, Fresh 102.7/New York, KTAR/Phoenix, Jack FM/Los Angeles and KYGO/Denver.
All of the insights we provide to our radio clients are based on a concept we call the Image PyramidSM. At the core of the Image Pyramid concept is the idea that a station’s ratings performance is largely based on the relatively simple images that listeners possess of that station. It has been our experience that the most successful radio stations have images that exist in a very specific hierarchy, with their base music, news or talk position being far and away the most important.
That is why the base music, news or talk position takes up the bottom half of the Image Pyramid—its size indicates its importance in terms of where a station focuses its efforts, and its position at the bottom demonstrates how it supports all of the other product attributes. Quite simply, if a music station is not strongly imaged for the music it plays, efforts to build other product attributes are in vain.
Similarly, if a spoken word-formatted station does not have a strong base position—such as for being the News, Talk or Sports station—it should not be focusing on developing secondary attributes.
Many stations make the mistake of externally marketing their morning shows or contests or investing heavily in tactical marketing, such as direct mail and telemarketing, before their base positions are strong enough to support these additional images. Such practices prevent stations from maximizing their potential relative to their market’s appetite for the kind of programming they carry and often leave such stations vulnerable to direct competition.
Despite the emphasis we place on a station’s base position, we recognize that the most successful radio stations are perceived more "deeply" by listeners. Our experience points to personality as being the most important secondary product attribute a station can have, and thus personality takes its place as the second layer of the Image Pyramid. Of particular importance in this area are morning shows, which we find make up roughly 80 to 85% of most stations’ personality imagery.
Few stations enjoy the luxury of strong base music positions and big personality images. For those rare star performers, however, the Image Pyramid directs them to contesting, news and information and then community involvement as the next stages of product attribute development.
To help stations build and maintain the strongest Image Pyramids possible, Coleman Insights offers an array of services. The menu to the left offers more details about those services.