Kiss came to us with a simple question: How can we provide our listeners with an engaging, meaningful online experience?
The existing Kiss site had become dated and overly complex and, as a result, it was not supporting either the business or its customers. So we sat down with Kiss and worked through how they wanted to interact with their audience online. Some of the key objectives that came out were:
- to create bespoke channels to engage with listeners from different shows;
- to produce a platform from which to launch innovative functionality targeted at a youthful, tech-savvy audience;
- to be flexible and scalable so that the content could be managed by multiple users as well as being able to host temporary properties such as music festivals and other seasonal activity;
- to increase traffic in order to be a more attractive proposition to advertisers.
The need for a strong yet flexible strategy to pull all of the pieces of the project together was obvious. We had to deliver a well-planned, innovative website with a robust yet simple-to-use back-end system. Cost was also a major issue.
We identified a number of key areas we would need to address to get the results we were aiming for:
A low-cost, flexible CMS
We proposed using an open source CMS technology, WordPress, challenging conventional wisdom that a bespoke CMS was required to run such a large series of properties.
Using WordPress gave us the flexibility to constantly shape and define the Kiss offering. It’s templating system allowed us to exploit the latest technologies for the user interface and allowed us to rapidly prototype and deploy different channels. It supported our goal of creating a singular user experience no matter what Kiss property a user might be on.
Listening to the listeners
Launching unique channels allowed us to get feedback from the users as we went. We were then able to apply these learnings in future iterations of the next channels. By breaking out properties into different channels we were able to build the audience gradually, niche by niche.
Design & Usability
The navigation was based around what makes Kiss great – the music and the DJ’s that play it and we ditched the dated day-glo design and introduced a cool, relaxed colour palette. Key design elements were also identified and carried through to each property.
Intelligent use of social media
Kiss’ target audience are prime users of social media so we made sure that the whole Kiss online experience was infused with social media goodness. For the request show, Kisstory, rather than create a micro-site we worked with Kiss to create a Facebook page where listeners can post their requests as comments on the wall. This page alone has 28,000 likes.
Once the audience numbers started to build we worked with Kiss to create engaging promotion mechanics that tied in with the aims of their advertising partners. In particular we used Facebook connect to pull in users’ profile pictures into a campaign we produced for Blackberry.
Easy to manage advertising
All properties were designed with advertising and sponsorship in mind. We made it simple for the Kiss team to create entire homepage takeovers (including updating of all page colours) of the main site with minimal fuss.
Fine tuning the media player
We redeveloped the Kiss media player (previously it was being shared by all Bauer radio stations with no clear branding and only allowed live streaming, with no listen again facility). In doing so we developed another first – the Kiss Kube. Developing the Kube not only allowed Kiss to brand the player with it’s own identity, but has also provided a further revenue stream for the station in advertising and partnerships.
Kiss on the move
At the end of 2009 we launched the Kiss Kube iPhone app which delivered all the functionality of the Kiss Kube to the iPhone. Within weeks it became the no.1 downloaded app in the iTunes music chart and recently reached no.30 (out of 900,000) in the overall downloads chart.
The results – so far!
We have helped Kiss to create a vibrant online audience that is fully engaged with the Kiss brand. Due to this Kiss now has more page views, dwell time and visits than their competitors which has enabled them to increase revenues across their properties.
The Kiss Kube iphone app was no. 1 in the music category when launched and continues to rate highly.
Kiss also currently has over 420,000 Facebook fans – that’s the highest of any commercial UK radio station.
In 2010 Kiss won the Sony Radio Academy Award for Station of the year with the following citation: “High interactivity through totalkiss.com and the innovative KissKube radio player points to a station that is making digital happen now.”