The Most Powerful Word in Marketing

The Most Powerful Word in Marketing

by Tracy Johnson

Want to increase response for promotions and contests? That can be done through language. Use the right words and response rates can soar. But there’s one word that delivers more response. It’s almost like a magic word in that it drives reaction like no other word. In fact, it’s the most powerful word in marketing.

That word is new.

“New” communicates excitement. It creates expectation. New means change and optimism. It inspires the public to look ahead. with hope that something has come along that will improve their life in some way.

Brands launch new products, or new improvements for an existing product and spend a fortune marketing the word new.

Auto manufacturers update their previous model just to have a “new” product to entice you. Television networks promote their shows as the “new season of…”

Capitalize On The Most Powerful Word In Marketing

Morning shows and radio station brands can capitalize with “new”. To stay vital, interesting, and talk-worthy, we need a regular infusion of new:  New characters, new ways to connect with the audience, new ideas, new approaches, new production elements. New interest.

But as powerful as “new” is as a hook, there’s a great danger. As much as listeners crave the next big thing, they also react negatively to change.

Change frightens many of us. We get comfortable with what we do, and how we do it. “Same” is easier. We are confident with same. We know how to do same. But same is boring. Same becomes stale. Stale becomes predictable. And predictable is deadly.

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Too much new is scary. That’s why music stations that constantly try to break new music usually fail. The public wants to be up to date, new and fresh, but in familiar surroundings.

So how can radio brands be fresh and new, yet comfortable? It’s a matter of balance. To capitalize on the most powerful word in marketing, innovation has to come within a comfortable package. New should be an evolution, not a revolution.

When working with clients, I often conduct a show review as part of an Ultimate Personality Makeover. Like pruning roses, the process is designed to get rid of elements that don’t bring about growth and replace worn out content with fresh, new ideas. By keeping a familiar structure, we can regularly introduce new ideas that are promotable and exciting to the audience.

This is how Disney stays fresh, yet familiar. The park is always evolving with new attractions, yet consistently delivers expectations.

Creative Uses of New

As media consumption continue to change, and listeners are inundated with endless entertainment options, we must constantly work to stay fresh and updated.

That means adding value and creating new reasons to discover features of the core brand. That could come through all new ideas or it may be as simple as a new way of packaging and promoting something that already exists. Television networks have great success promoting the “new season” of an existing program. And it’s how movie companies promote a new episode in a franchise series like Star Wars or Harry Potter. It’s new, wrapped up in familiar. And that’s powerful.

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Radio stations often tend to set it and forget it. We rely on familiarity and consistency. And we’re missing the opportunity to present something as exciting and fresh.

Come up with as many ways to repackage your brand as possible, even if it’s small small things. For example, couldn’t you:

  • Launch “teachers month” to celebrate back to school by honoring teachers in your Hometown Heroes feature.
  • Create a special edition of an ongoing contest or promotion by theming it.
  • Instead of just playing the 90s at Noon each day, start a bracket-style tournament to crown the Ultimate 90s Artist.
  • Package “Oh Wow” songs as specialty weekends.

Innovative ideas that communicate a new idea are easy to find, and they’re fun.


What is the “new sound” of your station or radio show? What can be created that is promotable, noteworthy and memorable?

New is exciting, as long as it’s wrapped in familiarity. Challenge your programming team to find ways to constantly offer something fresh and new within the context of existing brand values.

Author: Tracy Johnson

Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.

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