Nobody can speak more passionately about a business than the owner of the company. Think about Victor Kiam of Remington Razors who proclaimed in radio and TV commercials, “I liked the shave so much, I bought the company.” Or Lee Iacocca of Chrysler who told Americans, “If you can find a better car, then buy it.” And, of course, George Zimmer of Men’s Warehouse, “You’re going to like the way you look; I guarantee it.” Add to the list, Claudia Risbara of Risbara’s Greenhouse in Portland, Maine who voices her company’s radio commercials. According to Claudia, “When people hear my name and voice, it seems to stop them from what they are doing and listen to what I have to say.”
Each year, Americans spend just over $27 billion at nursery and garden stores. It may sound ironic, but this is not a growing business especially for local, independent operators like Risbara’s. According to industry reports, “continuing competition from low-cost home improvement retailers will stifle growth.” So in her self-voiced radio commercials, Claudia stresses that when customers come to her store versus a box-store, “they are dealing with the people who actually grew the plants. We know them…we grow them.” Here is a sample of a Risbara’s Greenhouse commercial:
Risbara’s radio commercials are broadcast on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. According to Claudia, “I know on Saturday people will say, I just heard your voice on the radio and it reminded me to come down here. I hear that a lot!” To quantify the success of her radio campaign, Claudia posts a whiteboard at the cash register asking customers to indicate what motivated them to shop at her store. “I give them, probably, 10 different choices. [Radio station] WGAN always has all these little hash marks, [more] compared to anything else.”
Claudia suggests that all small businesses voice their own radio commercials. She admits when she hears advertisements with anonymous announcers, “I don’t pay as much attention to those commercials as I do to the people who [voice] their own commercials.” Claudia goes on to say, “I can think off-hand of two names immediately who do their own radio commercials whereas with other commercials I really have to stop and think what they are advertising.”
Watch our completed interview with Claudia Risbara:
Risbara’s radio commercials are all 60-seconds long. But as Claudia said in her interview, she writes scripts that are 43 seconds. That’s because her voice is nestled in her company’s musical signature or, as it is more commonly called, a jingle. One of the first signs of spring in southern Maine is the appearance of the jingles infectious hook, “Risbara’s Greenhouse, a gardener’s paradise”
We talk about the value of using musical signatures in our article, “Attack Of The Killer Worms: Why Radio Advertising Jingles Work” and in “The Small Business Guide To Effective Radio Advertising.” It turns out that there is a scientific reason why jingles such as Risbara’s are effective forms of advertising.
Scientists refer to the tunes stuck in our heads as “Earworms” or Involuntary Music Imagery (INMI). And it’s why jingles work. According to neurologist Oliver Sacks (Robin Williams played him in the movie Awakenings), earworms are the evidence of “the overwhelming, and at times, helpless sensitivity of our brains to music”. Researchers at Dartmouth and The University of Cincinnati have discovered that earworms thrive in our “phonological loop”, a short-term memory system located in the brain’s audio cortex.
According to the Quad, Boston University’s online magazine, the auditory cortex is located in the temporal lobe, an area of the brain affiliated with short-term memory, specifically verbal short-term memory. The phonological loop is best described as a “short loop of recording tape that continuously stores a small amount of auditory information,” such as the chorus of a song. While most information is processed and then forgotten or stored as long term memory, songs appear to remain in the short-term memory for a longer period of time. Dr. James Kellaris of the University of Cincinnati believes a cause for the earworms’ endurance may be that “certain pieces of music [jingles] may have properties that excite an abnormal reaction in the brain.” These extraordinary qualities compel the attention of the brain, forcing it to repeat the song in the phonological loop. Similarly, Kellaris has found that the repetition does not remove the song [jingle] from the phonological loop, but increases the length of its presence, thus creating the cognitive itch.
Not only are jingles effective, they are relatively inexpensive to produce. Depending on the complexity of the production a professional jingle can cost between $3,500 and $10,000. A good jingle can last a lifetime and can be used across a company’s entire branding platform including radio and TV advertising, online advertising, and telephone on-hold messages.
Learn how other small businesses in the Portland, Maine area have used radio effectively to achieve their marketing objectives.
- Radio Helps Maine Landscaping Company Grow 45% in One Year
- Business Owner: “When I’m Not On The Radio, My Phones Don’t Ring”
- Local Real Estate Agent Doubles Sales Using Radio Advertising