How People Sense Media
Erwin Ephron is a partner of Ephron, Papazian & Ephron, a leading, international consultancy to advertisers and the media industry. In his most recent essay Erwin discusses media exposure as defined by consumers' senses. Extracts pertinent to the Radio industry can be read below. To read the article in full, please visit Erwin's website 'Ephron on Media' by clicking here
The Media Senses
Media exposure is defined by our senses, not by research. The key media senses are seeing (TV, Print, Internet, Out-of-home) and hearing (Radio, TV, Internet).
Seeing is a voluntary or conscious sense. We point the head to see things (some frogs don’t have to). And we close our eyes not to see things and to sleep (some fish can’t do either).
Hearing is involuntary in that we may not listen, but we cannot shut our ears.
Radio's Value is Hearing
When sound is present, we may not focus on it, but we are aware of it. If asked, “Do you hear something?” we will answer yes. My noisy neighbor is annoying because I cannot close my ears.
That is the key sensory difference between TV and Radio. Even when listeners are not consciously listening they still hear radio. But when viewers do not see television, they do not see television.
The Basement of the Brain
Brand awareness is the hard currency of advertising, but a second kind of awareness has bubbled up from the basement of the brain.
Neuroscience shows the brain processes experience consciously and unconsciously. Many researchers see value in unconscious, or “low involvement” processing. They find it helps consumers remember brands and it can influence their brand decisions.
Hearing, as distinct from listening, is a good example of low involvement processing.
The Surround of Sound
What does this mean to radio advertisers? In addition to conscious awareness (listening), radio is the poster child for low involvement awareness (hearing). This combination gives Radio the most complete attentiveness package of any medium.
Listeners when not consciously listening still hear radio. But when viewers don’t see television, they don’t see television.
Is that why we call both audience?