Tag Archives: Simon Sinek

The End of Mass Media

84Jack Nicholson famously said in the movie A Few Good Men “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

I think he was right.

We can’t.

We say we can. We want to believe we can. But the reality is the truth is scary.

The Future of Mass Media

The reality is the future of our business – mass media – is that it won’t be all that “mass” anymore.

The future will be a media that is built around relevance and quality of message, not volume.

And that’s scary.

Not to just us broadcasters but to the ratings service known as Nielsen. We aren’t going to need to know the volume (aka cume) or AQH (average quarter hour) numbers in the future. The real value that we will deliver will be based on how relevant we are to our listeners and what value we deliver.

The King is Dead

Remember when the catch phrase of the day was “Content is King”?  Bill Gates famously said that.

There were others that felt that distribution was king.

Turns out the “king” is dead for both of these theories and the new king is relationships. And relationships are based on mutual interests and relevancy.

Facebook

What’s the power of Facebook?  Relationships.

Oh sure it uses complex algorithms to manage our relationships, but we are not smitten with algorithms we are drawn to relationships and we friend or unfriend based on the relevance of those relationships too.

Google gets it too.

Each of us is an individual and these social media companies go to great lengths to treat us in just that way.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Commercial radio broadcasting still strives to deliver the “one size fits all” solution. Those days are over.

Radio needs to build, as Seth Godin might say, tribes. People who believe what we believe.

Simon Sinek says that people aren’t attracted to what you do but why you do it.

What’s your WHY?

If there are enough people in your coverage area that will make you a meaningful size tribe of listeners, then do it. If not, find something else that is meaningful.

But trying to be all things to all people – the concept of “mass media” – those days are over.

Advertising

The 800 pound elephant in the room is how to pay for it. Ad supported media is being challenged by the internet in ways that Netflix, Amazon, Google and others that grew up on a different metric are not.

Today supply far outweighs demand in the advertising world.

Even those special live television events that were growing in audience every year are now seeing they’ve peaked. Nothing goes up forever.

The future is creating something relevant to the people you develop a relationship with. The value will be in how strong those relationships are not necessarily how big, in terms of numbers of people, they are.

The future for all media I suspect will start to look more like that of public radio or Christian radio. Each of these mediums has established strong relationships with their listener. They also don’t abuse those relationships with underwriting announcements that either doesn’t fit their audience or by unbalancing the content to underwriting ratio.

Commercial broadcasters seem to take the view that adding one more spot to the hour; the cluster etc won’t affect their audience. They would be wrong. It does.

Keeping things in balance and running seamlessly will be critical to broadcasters whether they’re being consumed over-the-air on AM or FM, or over the internet.

Sales people in this new world will be business evangelists that seek out business owners with innovative ideas and solutions to their problems. Businesses owners who benefit from these relationships with media sales folks will in turn reward the media enterprise with their support.

What’s your WHY?

But it all starts by first defining, as Simon Sinek says, your WHY.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy WHY you do it.”

Answer that question, and you will have taken the first step.

 

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Relevancy – Part Two

83Last week I wrote about “relevancy.”

For any business, but especially the radio industry, making sure every element that goes on-the-air is relevant for the listener your station targets is critical.

Unfortunately, the way things get on the air these days makes it nearly impossible for any program director overseeing multiple properties at the same time to be so diligent. Worse, the commercials often come to each hour from a variety of sources (network, syndication, barter, distressed insertion, ca$h, etc). Sometimes different entities sell the same customer and the very same ad might air more than once in a single break.

TV also has this problem, and as Bernie Sanders might say, it’s YUGE!

Make it about the listener

Simon Sinek tells the story of a homeless lady.

Like many homeless people she sits on a street corner looking for money and holds a sign.

Simon says that most signs all say basically the same things:

  • I’m homeless
  • I’m hungry
  • I’m a veteran
  • I’m a God-fearing person

What does each of these types of signs have in common?

They are all saying versions of me, me, me, me.

It’s not about you

Using the approach above in signage a homeless person might expect to earn up to $30 a day.

Could they do better than that with a different sign?

A marketing person wanted to test this theory and asked a homeless person if they could change the words on their sign. The person agreed to give it a go.

A day’s pay in just two hours

Using the new sign, the homeless person made $40 in just two hours.

In the same 8-hour day that brought in $30 total – if they were lucky – using this new sign they were on pace to earn $160 in that same 8-hours.

The words you use make all the difference

So by now I’m sure you’re dying to know what the new sign said that produced such amazing results.

It said this: “If you only give once a month, please think of me next time.”

Why was this sign so effective in increasing donations?

The change was in making the donation not about the receiver but about the giver.

Leaders Eat Last

In his book, “Leaders Eat Last” Simon Sinek explains why leaders make it all about their people and not about them.

Successful radio stations do the same thing.

If you are constantly telling people why your station is so wonderful, you’re like the homeless person I started off talking about. You’re talking about you.

But when you make your listeners feel wonderful, when you make it about them, it’s you that will reap the rewards.

Is this relevant to you?

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Are We Killing the Golden Goose?

25Do you remember Aesop’s fable of the goose that laid the gold eggs? Let me refresh your memory of this tale. It’s about a farmer that was poor. One day he makes a startling discovery when he finds a golden egg in the nest of his pet goose. Skeptical at first, he has the egg tested and finds that it is indeed made of pure gold. Even more amazing, each day this farmer awakes to find that his goose has laid another golden egg. In very short order, this poor farmer becomes fabulously wealthy. But then his wealth brings greed and impatience. No longer satisfied with just one golden egg per day, the farmer cuts open his goose to harvest all of its golden eggs at once only to find the goose is empty inside. With a now dead goose, there will be no more golden eggs laid.

In remembering this fable, it sounded so familiar to the world of radio broadcasting. A radio station was like a wonderful “goose” that laid daily “golden eggs” for many an owner. It was an industry joke that having an FCC broadcast license was like having a license to print money. It was “golden.”

But broadcasters not wishing to wait for each day’s golden egg, cut open their goose with the Telcom Act of 1996. Twenty years ago, this act deregulated radio and now owners, like the farmer cutting open his goose to get all the eggs at once, now could own as many radio stations as they basically wished.

And how did that work out? Not much better than what the farmer discovered.

The moral of Aesop’s fable is if you focus only on the golden eggs and neglect the goose that lays them, you will soon be without the very asset that produces the golden eggs.

The radio industry’s quest for short-term returns, or results, took their free FCC licenses and ruined them by not maintaining the balance between the production of desired results and the production capacity of the asset.

Aesop’s fable is the very principle of effectiveness. It’s a natural law. Like gravity, you don’t have to believe in it or understand its principles, but you can never escape its effects.

Radio broadcasters probably saw the moral of the fable being the more geese you own, the more spots you add to the hour, the more effective your R.O.I. (Return On Investment) will be. But ironically, it was the principle of “Less Is More” that in the end rules the day.

To be truly effective, you need to maintain the balance of what is produced (golden eggs/revenue) and the producing asset (your goose/radio station).

Stephen Covey wrote extensively about all of this in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

When people fail to respect the P/PC Balance in their use of physical assets in organizations, they decrease organizational effectiveness and often leave others with dying geese.”

-Stephen Covey

One could certainly make that case for two of America’s largest radio broadcasters today. They are reaping the results of those who’ve gone before them who’ve in essence liquidated the asset, before they took over and now the accounting system appears to show that they are not performing at the level of their predecessors. But is that really the case? Did they in reality inherit a very sick goose when they took over? The debt problem say many who are more schooled in this area of high finance than I, will probably be addressed with a re-set. And once that happens, it will come back to the people of radio.

Covey says to “always treat your employees exactly the way you want them to treat your best customers.” Herb Kelleher at Southwest Airlines built his company on this very Covey principle.

Covey puts it this way: “You can buy a person’s hand, but you can’t buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm, his loyalty is. You can buy his back, but you can buy his brain. That’s where his creativity is, his ingenuity, his resourcefulness.”

The bottom line is the future of radio will be determined by the vision of the people leading the radio industry. It will also be determined by the hiring decisions they make going forward.

“If you hire people just because they can do a job,

they’ll work for your money.

But if you hire people who believe what you believe,

they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

-Simon Sinek

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Building Trust

trust-building-big-sizeA couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “Why I Fired My Top Salesperson.” And it all came down to a single reason, trust. I can’t think of one thing a successful leader needs to do more in a business than establish a culture of trust.

 

Leaders influence people. Trust is the foundation upon which the ability to influence others is built.

 

Simon Sinek puts it this way: “Being a good leader is like being a good parent. You catch glimmers of hope when you catch them doing something right, but you really don’t know if you’ve done a good job for like 30-years.”

 

Trust is comprised of two basic components: character and competence. Character means you make decisions that go beyond your own self-interests. Certainly, in firing my top salesperson, that wasn’t going to help my month or quarter. It wasn’t in my own self-interests for the present moment. But knowing that the long-term good of my radio stations was the value I was protecting, and maintaining the trust of the people who I worked with every day, made doing the right thing clear albeit difficult. Competence doesn’t mean having all the answers. Competence means having the experience and knowledge to make decisions that positively impact the performance of the enterprise and the courage to ask for help when you need it. (I always tell people I have an awesome contact file full of brilliant people to call when I need help.)

 

When your people trust your character and believe in your competence, they will follow you wherever you lead them.

 

Being a trusted leader is done with love.

 

I attended Weight Watcher meetings for the first time in my life this year. Like everyone else on the planet I wanted to drop a few pounds, but I also wanted to see if I could pick up any new information about nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. What I learned was that change occurs by what you consistently do every day. That message was shared by others in the room that had lost lots of weight, all taking the same journey and it was shared with love. Simon Sinek also says when we are surrounded by people who believe what we believe and we feel loved, trust develops.

 

10,000 Hours

 

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book “The Tipping Point” that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to get really good at something. You can’t rush trust building anymore than you can rush how long it takes to make a baby. Babies are born when they are good and ready. And you can’t build trust via email, Facebook, Twitter or any other form of modern day communication. You build trust when people come together through human contact. It’s why webinars lose one of the main benefits of seminars, that being people coming together and meeting one another. (Besides, I don’t know about you, but I’m always doing at least two other things when I’m on a webinar.)

 

Again, when we’re surrounded by people who believe what we believe trust develops.

 

Be Like Ed Koch

 

Ed Koch was a three-time mayor of New York City. Mayor Koch was famous for asking people everywhere he went “How Am I Doing?” He got in their faces and asked. Over and over and over; Mayor Koch asked “How Am I Doing?”

 

You build trust by being consistent.

 

The best teachers teach by sharing their mistakes and what they learned. People don’t connect with perfection. People connect with people who’ve been there, screwed it up, learned from it and shared the experience. Real courage is being able to share your mistakes with others and like who you are in the process of doing that.

 

When you reveal yourself in this way, you demonstrate what you believe and value.

 

In other words, you build trust.

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