98FM is going back to its roots (SBP – 6th June 2010)

The ‘FM’ in 98FM’s branding has returned after a two-year absence be cause it ‘‘just works’’, according to chief executive Chris Doyle.

The Dublin station last week unveiled a brand refresh, which returned the traditional radio acronym to its name, having dropped it in 2008 to become Dublin’s 98.

Doyle said that market research showed strong brand awareness behind the 98FM name, with most people still using it to refer to the station anyway. He also said that the motivation for losing the letters in 2008 was no longer as strong.

‘‘There was a lot of talk about DAB [digital audio broadcasting] around that time, and the thinking was to move away from FM, but DAB’s really stalled in the last while,” he said. ‘‘We’ve spoken to a lot of people and it just felt right to bring it back.”

However, while reclaiming its FM roots, the station is still spreading to other platforms.

Its existing iPhone app, which streams the station live, is being updated soon, with an app for other phone types arriving shortly afterwards.

Twitter and Facebook will also be used more, with the station’s presence on these networks being promoted on air and online.

The new look, which was designed with ad agency Rothco, is a shift from the polished purple imagery used for the past two years. The station now sports red as its main colour, with the logo having a more hand-written look.

‘‘That’s something we deliberately went for, to give it that bit of fluidity, perhaps make it feel a little bit less corporate,” said Doyle. ‘‘We also felt there was a requirement to be that bit more positive and that’s where our ‘now is good’ slogan comes in.”

To support the rebrand, the station will be rolling out a ‘‘relatively significant’’ marketing investment in television, print and outdoor ads in the weeks ahead.

There will also be a new fleet of branded vehicles on the capital’s streets, with Fiat 500s replacing the station’s existing SUVs.

Doyle said the ad push was important, not just to promote 98FM, but also to inspire confidence in companies that might be looking to advertise on the station.

‘‘I think it would be cheeky of me to ask people to advertise on 98FM if the radio station didn’t support or market itself,” he said.

This article originally appeared in The Sunday Business Post on 6th June 2010.

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