Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin’

Oprah, Rush and Howard Stern Have This. Do You?

I watched a TED Video this week on the origins of pleasure.  Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that our beliefs about the history of an object changes how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is. Which explains, in part, why some “heritage” radio stations and hosts across the country continue to get great ratings, despite the poor programming. People love (take great pleasure in) the idea of listening to the station that their Mom or Dad or grandparents  listened to. It’s a connection to a simpler time, your childhood, and a shared experience with your parents/grandparents.

It also makes me believe that it’s important that each personality and radio station needs to have a story. Seth Godin coincidentally touched on this same idea this week with his blog post “Just a myth.” Godin concludes his blog by encouraging brands (which could be a personality, a show or a station) to create their own mythology (or story.)


So, if I were trying to invent a mythic brand, I’d want to be sure that there was a story, not just a product or a pile of facts. That story would promise (and deliver) an heroic outcome. And there needs to be growth and mystery as well, so the user can fill in her own blanks. Endorsement by a respected ruler or priest helps as well.

The key word, I think, is spiritual. Mythological brands make a spiritual connection with the user, delivering something that we can’t find on our own… or, at the very least, giving us a slate we can use to write our own spirituality on.

People use a Dell. They are an Apple.

The most successful in broadcasting have these mythologies or stories that help define their brand; Oprah, Rush, and Howard Stern all have overcome great adversity to find success (triumph over tragedy.)

So, it begs the question. What’s your story? Start at the beginning and remember how your personality, show or station went from being a germ of idea to transforming into what it is today. What did you overcome? How are you spiritually serving your fans? If you’re a super hero – what’s are your special powers?

Taking the time to write your story / myth is an investment into being a something people listen to and being something people live for, experience and claim as their own.



Godin Sticks a Fork in Radio, Gifford Chews On It

I’m a big fan of author Seth Godin. I read his books, follow his blog, and when I saw he was coming to Seattle for a half-day session I jumped at the opportunity. I think Seth is a big thinker and while he’s marketing-minded he has wide-ranging opinions on wide-ranging topics. At our session he jumped from chastising those in attendance for daring to “waste the revolution,” permission marketing, the difference between artists and workers, the important role of parents in education, and the death of radio, among many others.

In regards to radio, Seth was answering a question I asked, “What’s the future of radio?”

Seth responded, “Terrestrial radio is d-e-a-d. Dead.” He went on to explain that radio was built on the model of scarcity. If you owned a radio station you were one of say 14 radio stations in the city. The number of commercials were finite as were the number of places you could place commercials. In three years, when wi-fi is readily available in everyone’s car, those 14 stations become 14,000,000 stations, including channels you can program yourself, and thus scarcity is gone forever.  Your options are infinite.

While not a revelation, hearing it out loud in a room full of people is stinging. I’m sure I was a little red-faced, as my stomach dropped and I considered for a half-second that I should quit this crazy business. I recovered. So now what? Do we all just close up shop and call it a career? Nope.

The key is for “radio people” is to stop being defined by the delivery system. We are artists who create and sell content. That won’t change. How we create it, how we distribute it, and how we sell it will change. Welcome to the radio revolution. In order to save “radio people” from singing the same, sad, bitter tune that the record and publishing industries are right now, we need to think about how we do what we do differently.

Consumers want what they want, when they want it on the device of their choosing. It’s no longer mass media; it’s personal. That’s actually good news, because now we can focus on improving the quality of our content. You see, in order to have “mass consumption” of a product it (radio, a widget, or otherwise) has to appeal to a mass of people, which means it’s likely average. Godin described this as a race to the bottom — the cheapest, the most efficient, the “good enough.” Good enough radio content has succeeded for years and years. Now the game is changing and the most successful of us are racing to the top, which means your audio content needs to stand out from the crowd — be remarkable. It has to be so great that if you were to go away tomorrow, you’d be missed. If not, you’re just a cog in the radio/audio wheel. And cogs are interchangeable.  

So, yes, radio as we know it will come to an end. That puts the responsibility on all of us to help determine how it evolves. In order to do that we can’t wait around be told what to do. We all have a tendency to show up and do “our job.” In order to influence the future, we need to think of ourselves as artists who do work. Godin encourages us to stop waiting for the map to appear and instead create it ourselves. “True art,” Godin says, “is when someone solves a problem for the first time in a creative way.” This means no longer using the excuses we’ve used so well for so long; my boss won’t let me, it’s not my job, and I don’t have the authority to make change. Be a leader. Help solve problems. Get involved. Make the impossible, possible. It’s time for us all to push forward, try things, fail, learn, try again.

Let’s get to work.

Seth Godin is Poking You. Now Do Something.

Book Review: Seth Godin “Poke The Box”  – it’s $7.88 at Amazon at the time of this post.

I’m an unabashed fan of Seth Godin’s books. Some have been very formative in how I go about my life and business and some just made me tilt my head a little as the light flickered on in my head with a new awareness and understanding. His latest book, “Poke the Box,” is an example of how great things come in small packages. It’s a quick read with no chapters per se, just example after example of why you should stop making excuses, whining, contemplating failure and just start doing. He makes a strong case that businesses should have a person dedicated to “starting things” and reward those who fail. The theory is if you’re failing, you’re doing something.

In one example, Godin points at Starbucks. It started at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle as a coffee bean and tea leaf shop. You couldn’t buy a cup of coffee. That wasn’t in the business plan. When Howard Schultz took a trip to Italy and watched the barista make his espresso like an artist on a stage, he knew he was on to something. He brought the idea of baristas and cappuccino to Starbuck’s and they weren’t interested. Schultz’ idea ultimately prevailed, but without starting something and “failing” (selling beans and leafs), Starbucks may have never had happened.

Fail. The more you fail the closer you are to succeeding. Try something. Ship it to market. Get feedback. Tweak it or trash it, make something new and ship again. Repeat. And this is even more important for companies and individuals who have already found some success.

Poke the box. See what works.  Be an instigator. Be unconventional. Challenge the status quo. Stir the pot. Stop collecting good ideas and start implementing them.

Things I’ve Heard Recently That I’m Still Thinking About…

“Give people permission to fail.” – Seth Godin. If people fear failure they won’t take risks, try anything new, and they won’t raise their hand and volunteer, because there is no upside. As a manager, encourage creativity, challenge conventional wisdom and celebrate failures as part of the process of trying.

Mass media feeds social media. And social media feeds mass media. It’s a continuous loop. – TED conference

Don’t ignore your twitter followers and facebook friends. A reply from a radio show or host may make their day. – Nate Riggs

Over 60% of men 25-54 never flip from the FM to AM dial in a given ratings period. – Arbitron