Guiding an analogue radio station into a user-centric digital transformation

  • Client
  • Radio 538, Hilversum
  • Project
  • The Beat of the Moment
  • Filed under
  • Branding, Campaigning, Digital Transformation

Radio 538 is one of the largest radio stations in The Netherlands. With upcoming competitors like Spotify, Soundcloud and iTunes their primary challenge was to secure listeners and gain their own foothold in the digital era, without having to trade analogue dollars for digital pennies and without compromising on the heart of the brand: the daily radio shows.

SUE guided Radio 538 into their digital transformation taking users as a starting point. We did so by transforming Radio 538 from an analogue radio station with passive listeners to an interactive radio station with active members. The result being that Radio 538 secured its number position in terms of market share, and at the same time reviving their brand with a user-centric brand positioning.

Our contributions


  • Consumer research
  • Consumer interviews


  • Concept development
  • Design & copywriting
  • Analytics
  • Persuasion design


  • Conversion strategy
  • Reporting
  • Team coaching
  • Campaign production

The Beat of the Moment

Would it be possible to upgrade the new brand positioning “The Beat of the Moment” (TBOTM) to become the backbone of a revived Radio 538 brand that opened up to users? We believed it could be: by bringing TBOTM to life together with listeners, and by building a sustainable contact strategy that enabled interaction with them. We transformed the radio station into a partner in crime who helped you live in The Beat of the Moment. Giving the target group new reasons to listen to Radio 538 and nudging them to other Radio 538 platforms and events.

It was all about nudging people's behaviour. Not dictating it. And the power of it: nudges can be tested.

Igniting user behaviour

As behavioural designers, we started by defining the choice architecture that would ignite active target group behaviour. We did so by turning TBOTM into a movement instead of a campaign. With this TBOTM became something listeners could join, could help co-create and where they could meet on their smartphone, events, online and radio. The choice architecture nudged people from online to radio, from radio to social, from social to events, from events to advertising. Radio still being the backbone, but now interconnected with users.

Success factors

The digital transformation of Radio 538 was valued at its right merits; in order to make it a success, we all acknowledged we had to approach it more as a change management situation than as a regular campaign process. Therefore, in the ideation phase the Radio538 team joined the SUE team and in the implementation phase SUE consultants joined the Radio 538 team. Ensuring we could prototype, implement and learn together and strategy was actually put into practise. We involved the DJ’s, editorial staff, project managers, everyone. So, the new brand positioning became theirs not ours.

First Radio 538 joined the SUE team in ideation and then SUE joined the Radio 538 team in implementation.


After the summer campaign 49% of the target group described Radio 538 as interactive

Market position


Listening time

x 2

Positive brand assets

+ 15%

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other work


  • 's-Gravenhekje 1a
  • 1011TG Amsterdam
  • The Netherlands


  • (+31) 20 223 46 26

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