Listening around in the first couple of weeks of 2021 to see what has changed in branding,
I wanted to highlight BBC Radio 5 Live. This year some very subtle changes have been made that give the station a different edge without a major new look, it's clearly a considered change that makes a difference.
5 Live, LBC, TalkRadio and Times Radio - the choice of talk radio that wants to know 'what you think' is ever increasing and, with the consistent march of LBC, other players do well to take note of the market. This is a particular area of interest to me, having been involved with the major LBC relaunch back in the early 2000's when the brand was bought by Chrysalis. It feels like only under the ownership of Global Radio it has LBC really taken off. Difficult times over many decades had really turned the station into an also ran. Chrysalis spent millions on a relaunch and didn't really get it out the gate. This meant that for other talk stations it was really nothing to worry about and anyway, 5 Live is on medium wave - who cares?
Things really have moved, thanks to digital the playing field is almost level, Alexa, Google, PC, phone, now every station is in every kind of quality you could want and all around.
5 Live are now taking the position of 'The Voice of the UK' this is new and different, much more commercial and feels like a real push against relative new national newcomer LBC. The new Times Radio is also in the digital airwaves. Big presenters, sounding well resourced and competent. Clearly work to do, for a station aiming at picking up the younger end of BBC Radio 4 and a sprinkling from others such as LBC a noticeable difference, if you don't like to hear listeners telling you 'what they think'. Opinions yes, but callers - no way! not on the air.
5 Live have moved their imaging subtly, more use of the station logo in production, removal of the main linking male voice and relying heavily on the impressive talents of Janice Vee. There are male voices in the mix but only with regional accents and delivering the line 'The Voice of the UK'
This is a sound that feels more inclusive and has many places to go. It has softened down the male dominated old imaging - which is directly opposite to LBC and Times Radio. The sound is warmer and friendlier where the other players are still in the early 2000's with the big received pronunciation powerful men leading the way.
It is really refreshing to hear a subtle change delivered well. Remembering years ago the fashion was to change your jingles and voices every two years. This really doesn't work now when you need to build a brand but it is tricky to get it right. Well done 5 Live - The Voice of the UK !
Together with Chris Lowrie, Mark Hall oversaw the rebrand of LBC 97.3 and LBC News 1152 on several occasions from Chrysalis through to Global Radio.