Thursday, February 23, 2012

We Need New Lyrics & A New Melody For This “Same Old Song”

Today was the day to dissect the newly commissioned CRS Research Study and I have to say that I felt like I was hearing the same song I have heard over and over again.   So I got to thinking, how can we apply David Houle’s futurist mentality and attempt to write some new lyrics and a fresh melody?
According to Larry Rosin, Edison Media Research, the top three things listeners want and expect from their favorite radio station continue to be what they have always been:

*The Best Music for My Tastes
*Presented by people I know and trust
*Who Support and care about their local community

And by the way, Rosin pointed out that he does research in many countries and the findings are similar.

Knowing these to be facts, how to we use the forces of the “Shift Age” to create a more relevant, engaging product for the communities we serve.   First and foremost, you must focus on local with a global perspective.  Let’s treat the “Flow to a Global World” as an opportunity to create a community of local listeners who share their thoughts and opinions about how the changes in the world are affecting their lives.  You need your TRIBE (the right individuals bragging endlessly) to be interactive and vocal.  

Radio has a unique advantage to other products and services because we already have a built in community of fans who love what we do and are willing to tell their friends.   Recognize the power of the “Flow to the Individual” and the effect of the “Accelerated Connectedness of the World” and take advantage of the technology available to allow increased two way communication.  Listeners must be able to take ownership and believe they are running the radio station.   We cannot remain a passive, “one to many” medium.  You must be active on Facebook.  You need text messaging capability.  Your station content must be available on multiple platforms on the internet.  The new digital natives expect all of this and you will lose them if you do not deliver.    

And last but certainly NOT least, you must continue to support your local community.   Gen Y is quickly becoming the largest segment of our coveted 25-54 demo.  This generation is the first in decades to truly believe they can make a difference in the world.   They want life to be better for all.  They believe in giving back and they look for opportunities to help.  Enlist their services.  Join forces to do “good in your neighborhood” and allow them to be the ones to brag about it.  

Finding a new twist on an old theme is never easy.  Seeing the possible is a gift and I may not have even scratched the surface here, but my creative juices are starting to flow and I hope to find a way to write a brand new song for this industry I love.

Are You A Futurist

If you are a leader of a company or a brand manager with employees and you don’t know what a futurist is, you need to learn and become one quickly.   That was just one of many profound takeaways from futurist David Houle’s presentation at the Country Radio Seminar.  His favorite definition comes from a colleague who describes it as someone who has the ability to “sell something that doesn’t exist to people who can’t see it”.   Now more than ever, you need to see, embrace and sell change at an exponential rate.

Houle sees 2010 as the start of the transformation decade.  We are in a “Shift Age” with three forces upon us that will cause a change in nature, character and form.  This shift age will force us to change the way we do business and build relationships.  The companies and individuals who can see and understand these three forces will thrive in the transformation decade. 

The (1) Flow to Global, (2) Flow to the Individual and the (3) Accelerated Connectedness of the world are affecting everything we do in a very profound way.  Houle warns that conventional thinking and projecting the rate of change by the current pace will be the demise of many businesses.  He quoted 19th-century Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, “We should try to be the parents of our future rather than the offspring of our past.”

According to Houle, we now live in an age with no time, distance or place limitations on communication.  It is the age of “disintermediation”, the removal of the intermediary.  The individual holds all of the power.  There is no alienation because you can always find your “tribe” on the social network.

Houle elaborates on how the shift age will empower individuals and affect business.   The explosion of choice combined with the creation of two realities in every individual’s life is setting us on a course of change like we have never seen before.  You have to manage your “physical reality” and your “screen reality”.  Any information you need is at the touch of your fingertips.  Conventional ways of teaching and learning are outdated.  Intellectual property is the wealth of the shift age.  Creativity and inventiveness will be even more critical to success. 

When asked how radio can overcome being seen as a passive consumption medium, Houle encouraged us to “focus on the emotion” and “build on the unique relationship” we have with our community.  Focus on the five C’s; creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, content and context.  These are the keys to education and also to understanding where we need to be in the future.