Evolution marketing is the communication of product modifications or improvements.
Below are examples of a company or product updating their perceptual imagery. In other words, they are attacking themselves, before a competitor does. As with the commercials in other categories, I provide an explanation of market conditions in situations in which I was involved.
WBEB FM – Philadelphia
These commercials were used by one of, if not the most respected radio stations in the country, WBEB-FM (B101) in Philadelphia.
With a distinguished history of playing “Philadelphia’s Soft Rock” they realized that they might be vulnerable to a new competitor repositioning them in much the same way WWFS-FM repositioned WLTW in New York.
The forward-thinking team at WBEB decided to contemporize their music images by conducting an elaborate campaign to ‘freshen’ listener perceptions.
The “music test” consisted of WBEB playing short snippets of individual songs during their most listened to time period. By logging onto to the station’s website listeners could vote on each song as it was played on-the-air.
The first commercial was used to announce to the entire market that the test was complete and that the station was now playing a ‘fresh’ music mix.
The second spot was used to enforce the station’s new perceptual territory for contemporary music without destroying the heritage it enjoyed.
WBEB is still Philadelphia’s market-leading radio station and has since taken the next step and rebranded themselves as More FM.
WWMX FM – Baltimore
The station’s slogan when I became its second program director in 1990 was “The best mix of the ’60s ’70s & ’80s.
If the station was to continue to be Baltimore’s perennial leader among adult female listeners, it needed to drop ’60s from its slogan and incorporate the ’90s.
To expedite a perceptual shift among listeners of the music payed on Mix 106.5, the station used this commercial and the related contest.
This can also be considered tactical marketing. However, it’s a great example of how to evolve a product’s perceptions. This spot was used by the nation’s first mix station. Incidentally, the phrase “Mix” was coined for radio by Jon Coleman, CEO of Coleman Insights and then President of Capitol Broadcasting (the company that owned WWMX).
Produced by Rosler Creative.