I admire Mark Ramsey’s blog (for one thing, he’s prolific, where I’m not!), and I agree with his insights more often than not.

So let me “second” one point in his recent post — Don’t Put Research Ahead of Good Sense — and respectfully disagree with another…

First, the agreement. Asking listeners whether they want more, shorter spot breaks or fewer, longer spot breaks (as Edison and Arbitron recently did) is a misuse of research. Check out my May 6th post —Don’t Ask ‘Em What They Don’t Know! — for additional reasons why asking this kind of question is a mistake.

I disagree with the conclusion of Mark’s part two. I think you can and should test station slogans…

He’s right that it’s not a popularity contest. And that’s where testing slogans or any advertising can go terribly wrong (and usually does). Which slogans listeners like best is not important, because, after all, they’re not advertising experts. They tend to approve what’s most comfortable and familiar to them.

That’s why I don’t ask listeners which slogan or ad they “like best.” But listeners can provide very helpful and essential information for determining which slogan or ad really is best. Here’s what we look for when testing a slogan…

IS IT MEMORABLE? Is it interesting? Does it grab your target listeners’ attention? And most importantly, will viewers remember your station’s name and dial position (at minimum) after the spot is over?

DOES IT COMMUNICATE WHAT YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE? Does it reinforce your station’s positioning objectives? Is the message on target and part of your strategic plan? If not, pass.

IS IT BELIEVABLE? A commercial that conflicts with listeners’ strongly-held beliefs will simply be discounted and ignored. For example, if they perceive your station to play lots of commercials but little music, a simple claim of “More Music” will not change their minds!

DOES IT FIT YOUR STATION? In terms of its style and feel, do listeners find it appropriate for your station? If a TV spot does not fit your station, it faces listener rejection and you should reject it.

I’m amazed at how much time and money goes into delivering a slogan or ad merely because someone thought was clever or cute. Research can answer these crucial questions to help you invest in an effective slogan or ad and avoid wasting time and money on a “loser.”