Interviews

Clare Baker

Marketing Director at Absolute Radio

Ben Somerset-How

Client Director

Share


 

Tom Holmes talks to Clare Baker, Marketing Director at Absolute Radio @clareb2.

As Marketing Director at national station Absolute Radio, Clare is responsible for the marketing success of one of the nation’s most exciting entertainment brands. Producing several award nominated campaigns and media firsts including the UK's first Radio promoted Twitter campaign, iAd campaign with Apple and more recently the UK's first Radio brand to have live outdoor advertising.  
 
Prior to Absolute Radio she was Head of Marketing at Virgin Radio, and before that New Business Development and Brand Manager at Virgin Holidays.

Clare is a member of the Marketing Society.

 

Creativebrief: Clare, as Marketing Director at Absolute Radio, what is your primary focus?

Clare Baker: Ensuring the Absolute Radio brand is the front of mind for our target audience. This includes using a combination of consumer and trade marketing, insight and a compelling event schedule.

Creativebrief: Why did you join Absolute Radio and what do you most enjoy about your job?

Clare Baker: I joined the Radio station 9 years ago, with a passion for music and radio. It is an extremely fast-moving business and I love that I can have an idea one morning and it is live and on air by the afternoon. We recently announced record listening figures of 3.8million listeners per week, a very proud moment. My role includes leading the events strategy which enables me to work with incredible artists, the highlight for me each year being the Isle of Wight festival. 

 

Creativebrief: Which marketing campaigns are you particularly proud of and why?

Clare Baker: Faces for Radio, a predominantly outdoor campaign featuring our comedy talent: Frank Skinner, Christian O’ Connell & Geoff Lloyd and Euro 2012 featuring our Rock ‘N’ Roll football host Ian Wright. 

We find Out of Home to be one of the most effective forms of advertising, offering brands instant ‘stand out’ to a captured audience. And with the advent of digital formats, it allows brands to be more strategic and tactical than ever before. Absolute Radio was nominated for 2 Creative Out Of Home Awards in 2012.

Making the most of digital formats for our Euro 2012 campaign, the creative showed Ian Wright crowd surfing across England-clad football fans and promoted every England fixture which we broadcast live on 105.8FM in London. The ads changed to a strong ‘Listen Live Now’ call to action when the match went live. 

We were also armed and ready with a contingency plan when England got knocked out. As soon as the team were out, so were all England references – instead, the image showed Ian in regular clothes, being held up by regular-clothed football supporters alongside a generic live commentary message.

The Faces for Radio campaign made history with a media first, demonstrating a dynamic ‘Now Playing’ live feed on digital outdoor sites. This feature used a live RSS feed to indicate what was currently playing on Absolute Radio giving both drivers and pedestrians an immediate and interactive taste of the Absolute Radio playlist as well as an incentive to trial our station.

#Now Playing campaign: In conjunction with Twitter we had the UK’s first radio promoted trend.  Listeners were asked to tweet what was #nowplaying on@absoluteradio for a chance to win £250 every hour. It was an experiment that paid off as we broke virtually all of Twitter’s benchmarks for success. It also had an unexpected but powerful effect on Twitter’s organic trends.  We caused a myriad of bands that we were playing on air to trend in the UK, which helped fuel natural discovery and virility of our campaign and brand.

This work won a MiAward for ‘Best Social Media Campaign of the Year’ and a Highly Commended accolade in the Media & Entertainment category at the Campaign Media awards.

Creativebrief: What does Absolute Radio and its sister brands, uniquely offer consumers and advertisers?

Clare Baker: I look after 7 radio station brands, Absolute Radio, Absolute Radio Classic Rock, Absolute Radio 60’s, Absolute Radio 70’s, Absolute 80’s, Absolute Radio 90’s and Absolute Radio 00’s. They all offer real music from their decade & genre. The sister brands enable advertisers to target specific audiences and be creative according to their strengths. 

We also have live Premier League commentary, live NFL commentary, unique music documentaries and comedy content. All of which enable brands to be heavily involved in generating compelling Sponsorship and Promotional opportunities.

Creativebrief: What key attributes must a CMO have to build a successful radio brand in this day and age?

Clare Baker: Don’t stop asking questions. It is essential for a radio brand CMO to be up to date on digital & marketing developments. I am always on the look out for opportunities for Absolute Radio to have media firsts. For example, we were the first radio station in Europe to partner up with Apple on their iAd platform.

Adaptable marketing is an ever-changing role so it is important to embrace new challenges. I am involved in many aspects of the business and decision-making, ensuring that whatever the consumer sees or hears is a true reflection of the brand.

Creativebrief: Your career has spanned Absolute Radio, Virgin Radio and Virgin Holidays, what have been the high points?

Clare Baker: I have been extremely lucky in my career and worked with some exceptionally talented people. I travelled the world with Virgin Holidays and working in radio has given me the opportunity to create some truly unique events including Elbow at St. Paul’s Cathedral, closing Regent Street for Madness, a gig in a hot air balloon over the Swiss alps with Newton Faulkner, an epic 3 hour performance from Elton John at the Union Chapel and The Charlatans at a Fort in the middle of the Solent. 

Creativebrief: How do you see the media landscape unfolding in the next 5 years?

Clare Baker: Media consumption will be highly targeted; therefore all media brands should be looking at ways to gather data on their consumers. Insight is key to making informed marketing and content choices. Absolute Radio has been at the forefront of this, launching In Stream a targeted digital radio listening ad format.

Creativebrief: Would you ever consider awarding an agency business without a pitch? What would they have to do / demonstrate?

Clare Baker: They would have to come with a strong recommendation from a similar business and many examples of work. I would always insist in meeting the agency and want a live brief to be answered.