Proof Branding Works - "4 songs in a row with no talk"

By Tom Talbert

Here is how I came to realize that branding works. It was in the late 1980s working as an on-air personality in Charlotte, NC radio. A large part of competitive radio is THE SELLING OF THE BRAND which is reinforcing the competitive point of difference between radio stations with similar programming.

At WBCY 107.9 FM, announcers were tasked with opening their mouths at least 4 times an hour with the brand phrase, "107.9 WBCY, where you always hear 4 songs in a row with no talk." There was a lesson there that still holds true today, 30 years later. Can you guess it?

The station was reinforcing their brand phrase by telling listeners, "Who they are and what is in it for them." This branding effort was such a huge part of their mission that program directors would literally race to have their brand phrases registered.

What's the big deal? The goal was to increase listenership by even a fraction of a rating point to be able to deliver advertisers(customers) Proof of Branding, which translated into more value to those customers.

In those days I was still living in our hometown of 2500 people, Great Falls, SC and commuting the 60 miles to the radio station. I got my conviction of the proof of branding from a cashier at the local grocery store and I'll always remember it. She said, "Hey Tom, I really like that radio station you work for." "Thanks," I said. "What do you like about it?" Out it came, "Because you always play 4 songs in a row with no talk."

I can imagine you saying, "That's great but we're an independent community pharmacy, we don't play ANY songs."  I understand, but you do something for patients(customers). What you must decide is, what makes you different and how to let people in your service area know about it.

In broadcasting, it isn't just about being clever with a catchy brand phrase, it is about surviving and winning in the marketplace. 

Joe Bonura, former president of the National Speakers Association and an owner of several advertising agencies in Kentucky, often used the acronym IKTHA - "I know that already."  (Pause and reflect - and here is the key) "Yes, but are you doing it?"


  1. Get with your partner and/or your trusted advisor(s) and examine your brand phrases. Invite a revisiting of your brand and determine what thing or things make up your CPD:Competitive Points Of Differentiation.

  2. If what you are doing is what is true to your brand, keep doing it. If it isn't, seek to change it. Distill it into its simplest form in terms of what your patients(customers) can expect from you - "We always play 4-songs in a row with no talk!"

Customers of RX Message On Hold benefit from our continuous promotion of their brand phrases. To learn more about how to achieve top-of-mind and first-choice status in the minds of patients, get in touch with Rx Message On Hold via contact information below. Mention FREE ARTICLE on Proof of Branding by Tom Talbert.