In my travels I’ve found almost all discussions about programming revolve around things close to us; the music and deejays, the promotions and contests, the clocks and service elements. While these elements are important to the station’s design, they are not transformative. Why? Because those things are all about us. And the closer things are to us the more important they seem. To us.

The great brands (and stations) go beyond the nuts and bolts of design and reach into their listeners’ lives.

We’ve all heard how Starbucks set out to became “the third place” in people’s lives, after home and work.

“We want to provide all the comforts of your home and office. You can sit in a nice chair, talk on your phone, look out the window, surf the web… oh, and drink coffee too,” said a Starbucks’ manager.

“Apple, Starbucks, Harley Davidson… all of these have done everything they can to understand the wants and needs of their customer, while delivering them at a human, interactive level.”

Matthew Dollinger, “Fast Company”

“You need to view your brand as a solution to a consumer problem, an answer to a consumer desire. Then you should ask yourself what other solutions and answers are you competing against for those problems and desires?

Meanwhile, you need to consider how you can extend your brand to provide more value to your existing consumers across more platforms – including the one called ‘the real world.'”

Mark Ramsey

If you’re willing to reach beyond what is close you may discover what is really important.

*Inspired by a recent discussion with Randy Fox of KSBJ