Friday, July 24, 2009

The Punk Marketing Manifesto

Just discovered these punk marketing guys earlier in the week. Dove into Richard Laermer's substantial marketing/PR blog and poked around the website, where I came across their "Punk Marketing Manifesto" - Their subject is brands. As radio advertising sales professionals, we are brands to our clients. They, in turn, are brands to their customers. With this in mind, here are a few pearls from the Manifesto:

#1: "AVOID RISK AND DIE: In times of change the greatest risk is to take none at all." The greatest rewards go to the risk-takers who refuse to be intimidated by adversity and press on with their eyes on the objective. When confronted by enemy artillery firing at his advancing troops, Patton's typical response was not to retreat or take cover, but to advance rapidly toward the enemy. Experience had taught him that the enemy most often underestimated the distance to be closed, leading them to overshoot their mark. Patton's aggressiveness saved many American lives. He covered more ground, liberated more cities, killed or captured more of the enemy, and turned in fewer casualties than his peers. The greatest accomplishments in any field - including sales and business - usually involve calculated risk-taking.

Related to risk, #3: "TAKE A STRONG STAND: Trying to be all things to everyone...inevitably results in meaning little of interest to just about everybody." How often do advertisers ask us to throw everything but the kitchen sink into their advertising messages, diluting them to the point of ineffectiveness? "The commercial sounds great. But could you put my phone number in at the end? And my store hours? And that we have a combined 37 years of experience? And..." You have to say No. For the client's sake and that of the campaign. Remember Roy Williams' nine-word dictum: The Risk of Insult is the Price of Clarity.

Related to taking a stand, #7: "MAKE ENEMIES: All brands need to position themselves against an alternative." Roy's dictum again. Uncover and focus on your strengths; let the rest go. Your presentations and results will be the better for it.

I've ordered Laermer's books and am looking forward to delving into them. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Patient Radio: Actual Illness or Acute Hypochondria?

My old college friend Carl commented on this brief post I made on Facebook:

Just read: "To provide a significant boost to your happiness, force your face into a smile and hold the expression for 20 seconds." From "59 Seconds. Think a Little, Change a Lot."

The reference is to a book review I read in the London Telegraph's online edition. I tend to be wary of those who take "the power of positive thinking" to an extreme and read their advice with a healthy dose of skepticism. But what I read of the book in the reviewer's article seemed practical and sensible. For instance: can ward off potential liars by closing your eyes and asking them to put their comments in email.
Next time you attend an important meeting, obtain a quick and easy psychological advantage by sitting in the middle of the group.

Practical advice.

Then my friend Carl posted his succinct comment: Surprising how easily we can change some things if we choose. Two things we can control- our attitude and our actions.

My immediate application was personal. I reflected on how easily one can fall into the trap of fretting over things he can't control, while neglecting the things he can control.
We attempt to look at life through the wrong end of the telescope and it warps our perspective.

Attitude and action. We can't control them in others, we may not be able to control our circumstances, but we most certainly can choose to control what we think, say, and do.

The radio industry hasn't been exempted from the economic slowdown but generally speaking, the mom-and-pop broadcasters on Main Street are faring much better than their mega-chain counterparts who hitched their wagons to Wall Street. Despite all the challenges that confront us as we attempt to ascertain our role in the emerging new media landscape of social networks, smartphones, Ipods, and Internet radio, it's silly to think that somehow there will be no place left for local radio.

Balderdash. Horsepucky.

The shape and capabilities of the receiver may change, but the listener's desire, need, or capacity for the unique companionship and sense of place provided by the people on the other side of that receiver remains as strong as ever.

It's bad enough to have to deal with real ills. Why add the burden of imaginary ones?

Attitude and action. Two things we can control.

It's time to get a grip.

Go out and serve someone. Help a client. Fill a need. Make yourself useful.

And if you need to, take 20 seconds to hold a smile.

It doesn't hurt a bit.