Radio Reach and Frequency + Consistency: The 3 Elements of a Great Branding Campaign

posted by Bob Leighton

Overwhelmingly, there are several considerations when it comes to building your brand on the radio. Lucky for you, we narrowed it down to three primary concepts that are fundamental to a great branding campaign. In planning to deliver your marketing message to potential customers, it’s essential to understand whom you are targeting (reach), how often you will share your message (advertising frequency), and why consistency is crucial. 

Radio Frequency: What is the Magic Number? 

Radio Frequency is the number of times your ad is heard by the average listener in a given week.

Frequency is the number of times your ad is heard by the average person over the course of a week. How often are you sharing your message with the target audience? Be selective in targeting because you don’t have to reach everyone. Everyone isn’t your potential customer. Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to build frequency. Think of it as talking to people a lot.


Read the nine best local advertising strategies in this ebook.

Based on the way consumers use radio, there are three key strategies that can be optimized for building frequency: advertise in short bursts; concentrate advertising into narrow times of day; dominate a day, saturate a minimum number of radio stations. 

When it comes to frequency, there is a scientific algorithm to determine what is best. It’s about 3.4 impressions per person per week. We round that down to three. This is best achieved using a 21/52 schedule, 21 ads a week, 52 weeks per year. The exact number of ads per week will vary depending on the station(s) you’re buying. A reputable radio-branding expert has the tools to ensure frequency is included in your branding strategy

Radio Reach: Finding Your People 

Radio reach is the number of different people who hear a radio commercial.

If frequency is talking to people a lot, reach is talking to a lot of people. Reach is the number of different people who hear a radio commercial. If your objective is promotion, meaning you want the target audience to take a specific action, reach is required. There are a few different concepts that can be employed to talk to a lot of people about your brand, like advertising over a longer period of time, advertising during multiple times of day, using a few different stations, and taking advantage of short-duration commercials. A High Impact Plan (HIP) using six-second ads at the beginning of every commercial break all day long. Or you could opt for :15 second ads with a short and sweet message.

The stations you choose all have coverage areas, or where the stations reach geographically-speaking. Regardless of format and size of broadcast, every radio station thrives on one thing: listeners. Each area has specific data on demographics, and according to recent Nielsen research, radio actually has the most reach among American media consumers. 93% of adults listen to the radio each week, compared to 87% who watch TV. The wide variety of radio formats is a dream for advertisers because radio is so targetable. 

Finding that perfect Balance between Radio Reach and Frequency 

Frequency is best acheived using a 21/52 schdule: 21 ads per week for 52 weeks.Reach and frequency on the radio are competing numbers. Unless you have an enormous ad budget, a higher reach means lower frequency and more frequency mean lower reach. This is where a radio expert comes into play. This is also why a 21/52 schedule is the best way to have a balance between reach and frequency. 

Your radio rep is trained to balance these two numbers based on your advertising goals and target audience. 

Consistency: The Final Element

Your brand is a consistent entity, so the accompanying messaging must also be consistent. You’ll utilize reach and frequency by way of consistent messaging that supports your brand statement or promotion. That doesn’t mean you have to have a single, tired ad that gets played over and over. Instead, each ad can be a single thought (the brick), while tag, voice, and music stay consistent (the mortar) to build your brand.

Creating brand consistency creates brand loyalty; branding is just about as equally important as the product iteslf.Creating brand consistency creates brand loyalty. Creating a recognizable representation of your brand helps illustrate to the public your product or niche, and highlights what sets you apart from your competitors. Branding is just about as equally important as the product itself. It attaches a personality and attitude to the product and ultimately the company that produces it. People then relate to this personality and establish a relationship, encouraging brand loyalty.

Final notions on frequency, reach, and consistency

When looking at radio advertising, these three elements are what will skyrocket your great branding campaign. Check out our What You Need to Know About Buying Radio eBook to get your campaign started on the right track. If you have a few ideas you’re kicking around, or you’re just not sure of your next steps, come see us. We would be honored to work with you on your brand!

Get the 1st Chapter of Brandsformation Download Now for Free