Steve McGoldrick

Reasons to sound positive this Blue Monday

Originally published in Mediashotz.

Blue Monday has arrived – that infamous date when the grizzly combination of cold weather, Christmas debt and sub-zero motivation levels plunges us all to our darkest depths.

But before you pull the duvet over your head, Steve McGoldrick, Head of Marketing at Radiocentre, tells us why, for radio listeners and advertisers, there’s plenty to be cheerful about…

Though the idea that a single day is more depressing than any other may be more of a PR stunt than anything resembling a scientific calculation, Blue Monday reminds us in media and advertising to check in on the impact we’re having on the audiences we serve.

Happy Mediums

Media has vital functions to play in educating the nation, representing us in all our diversity, setting cultural values and galvanising social change.

Even just this past month we’ve seen how the ITV dramatisation of the Post Office scandal has driven action in a way that the lawyers and campaigners calling for justice over so many years have struggled to manage by themselves.

But media also has the equally important role of lifting people’s spirits, which is so important in trying times.

After all, many depend on their favourite entertainment show, football tournament or presenter to pick them up and offer distraction from the daily grind.

Radio in particular is being turned to by record numbers precisely because of its ability to uplift.

Research from Radiocentre’s Generation Audio report which identifies the need-states being met by radio shows that a whopping 35% of listening is done to “lift my mood”, while 26% helps “keep me company” and 10% “helps me escape.” Lift my mood in fact comes out top of all seven need-states identified by the study.

The growth of many of the stations which have helped commercial radio to gain a greater share of listening from the BBC over recent years can perhaps be best explained by their winning formula of feel-good tunes, big personalities, and audience interaction.

It’s a mix that can’t be replicated by AI or by playlists alone, which audiences well know.

Optimise for optimism

Advertisers have cause to be cheerful too, as research shows that because of these uplifting qualities, radio offers the opportunity to reach consumers when they are in a positive frame of mind and therefore more receptive to advertising messages.

Our study Media and the mood of the nation found that the mood-boosting effect of radio editorial extends into the ad break, generating 30% higher levels of positive engagement with radio advertising.

The groundbreaking research Radiocentre launched with System1 towards the end of last year also highlights how powerful positive emotions can be in determining advertising effectiveness.

We found that audio ads that created more positive emotion caused significantly more consumer action, including brand purchase and use.

Interestingly, radio ads were found to be as likely to cause long-lasting effects through an emotional response as TV advertising, even without the visual element.

With growing audiences and an enduring power to uplift, it’s clear that radio can help millions of us sound a bit more positive this Blue Monday, while also helping brands boost their bottom line.

Steve McGoldrick is Head of Marketing at Radiocentre.