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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

Presenting global brands locally

Global brands have countless virtues. But they come with their challenges.

I have a savings account with Old Mutual so oldmutual.com seemed a reasonable URL to log in from. Not so… that takes you to South Africa’s Old Mutual not the UK one which has an altogether more forgettable address.

Similarly Virgin. A megabrand in crimson with services across much of the developed world and a consistent position as a challenger, an innovator and still a bit rock n roll, just like its founder.

But in a connected world how do you know which Virgin is which?

There are now more than twenty stations called Virgin Radio and if you run one of them you’ll want your audience to find it.

So, Virgin ensures each one is labelled carefully to distinguish it from the next and the company operates a sophisticated licensing operation, led by Ian Grace, to co-ordinate and control the way its brand is surfaced.

When a search for Virgin Radio London is likely to return the service from London, Canada ahead of any UK offering you can see why that’s necessary.

Now, Wireless Group launches two new Virgin services in the UK which similarly require clear labelling. Virgin Radio Chilled and Virgin Radio Anthems are the on-air names but their social media handles include “UK” in such abbreviations as VirginRadChldUK and VirginRadAnthUK.

Radanthuk may be no name for a child but you can see why it’s considered a necessary confection in this restricted context.

By contrast, on your DAB radio the stations show as the more human Virgin Chilled and Virgin Anthems since there’s little chance you will pick-up a foreign equivalent on that platform and you know it’s the radio already.

For voice-controlled devices like smart speakers station names can trip up even established brands as James Cridland discovered with “four triple zed” in Brisbane, Australia.

As audiences becomes more globally connected and our services appear on more platforms via more third party interfaces strict consistency in branding and naming is no longer a certain route to findability.

This is an area increasingly affected by finer judgements.

Good luck to Francis Currie and the team on the launch of the new services.

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