Sponsored by the Chicago Headline Club, the Gridiron Show skewered local politics and media from 1987 to 1997. A labor of love by a kooky bunch of journalists, pr peeps and politicians, it was also a benefit for student scholarships. This bit between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert is laughing out loud funny. Writing is attributed to Adam Ritt, with tweaks by the critics themselves. The video is out of synch but listen to the audience response.
Here’s a rare story about gay marriage and how Barack Obama’s views have changed since he has become President.
In 2004, Michael Burke and Robert Charles wrote a letter to then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama and enclosed a modest check of support for his campaign for the U.S. Senate.
In the letter they told State Senator Obama that they “enthusiastically” supported his candidacy for U.S. Senate, but were disappointed to learn “that while you support civil unions you do not support gay marriage. While we understand the political calculation of such a strategy … we are disturbed by the moral dissonance that such a stance tolerates.”
They mailed the letter off to Obama’s Hyde Park address, hoping to sidestep the hoops of his campaign office. Imagine their surprise when they received two to three weeks later what appeared to be a personalized reply from State Senator Obama explaining in detail the political history and strategy informing his stance.
Edward L. Bernays is said to be “The Father of Spin,” the creator of modern public relations. For his contributions, Bernays is both vilified and honored. He was a masterful manipulator of public image and wrote extensively about his ideas. During his long career, [Bernays lived to be 103] he profoundly affected the minutia of our spending habits in our daily lives while establishing standard practices for the public relations industry.
[Prior to World War 1] The pattern had been for firms to alter their product line or pitch to fit changing consumer tastes; Bernays believed that, approached the right way, consumers themselves could be made to do the adjusting. — Larry Tye in The Father of Spin.
This philosophy — consumers themselves could be made to do the adjusting— is shifting fast for businesses large and small. Customer review tools of the social Web are changing the equation of who is influencing whom. Now, because of services like Yelp, an unhappy knitting circle can gang up on your cafe. One poor hairdresser can cause an exodus from your salon. Or an increase in prices can shutter your dry cleaner. But just as your customers can walk with their feet and talk with their smart phones, you have equally amazing tools to continue the conversation with them after the cash drawer has closed and they have walked out the door.
You have Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other tools to attract potential customers, engage with the happy ones and hear the grumblers in the background and adjust if needed.
As a small business, you have the entire toolbox of social media at your command. And powering those tools is your unique brand, your reputation that you are painstakingly building over time. Branding is not a logo or an image imposed from above. Branding is your promise to deliver what is unique in your offering, whether product or service. Your brand emerges from the inside out.
Be clear on that and you can’t go wrong.
For a great read on navigating this power shift between customers and business, pick up The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.
By Sally Duros
If you are a local business and you want to advertise, where do you advertise these days?
It’s a great question. And one that many people are rushing to answer, because your advertising dollars – dear readers who are local businesses — represent billions of dollars in revenue for advertising agencies or media companies.
But for the small or medium sized business owner, this question is daunting. While you’re minding your business and budget, your advertising options are rapidly changing.
Your mission is to find out where your customers are hanging out these days and why.
Nearly every day of the week, you can see the knowledge — and confusion— advancing in this sphere.
This week, much-read newspaper world observer Newsosaur, issued a warning to local media companies that digital giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft will be making a fierce push into their territories. Meanwhile, just today The Pew Internet and the American Life Project released its complete report on “Where people go to learn about restaurants and other local business”. I reported on an earlier phase of this research in October.
Among Pew’s findings:
People looking for information about local restaurants and other businesses say they rely on the Internet, especially search engines, ahead of any other source. [51% of the 55% of adults surveyed who say they seek this info.]
Newspapers, both printed copies and the websites of newspaper companies, run second behind the Internet as the source that people rely on for news and information about local businesses, including restaurants and bars. [31%]
And word of mouth, particularly among non-internet users, is also an important source of information about local businesses. [23%]
Let’s not forget the ·8% who rely on local TV, either broadcasts or websites. The study also found that a rather upscale 60% of adults say they get news and information about local businesses other than restaurants and bars. Of these, 47% say they rely most on the internet, ·30% turn to newspapers, 22% rely on word of mouth from family and friends, 8% rely on local TV and 5% listen to the local radio.
So this data shows that folks are looking for local businesses first on the Internet and then with traditional media, i.e. newspapers. [And hey! Google could be taking fun-seekers to a news site or listing] But that doesn’t mean that the big digital players are necessarily the winners in the advertising game, says Gordon Borrell, head of Borrell Associates, whose expertise is local advertising.
“There’s never been a case where an out of town media company – somebody without a physical presence in a local market – has been able to get and sustain a significant share of advertising dollars, “Borrell says.
“They can make the predictions all they want about Yahoo and Google coming in and stealing market share,” Borrell says. “ But in the end it will churn out. “
The big digitals are the bogeymen, and they won’t win the game,” says Borrell, who admits with pride that his firm “is pretty steeped in following the money.”
One winning trump card is physical presence in the local market vs. telemarketing.
Did you get a call from Facebook last week? I did. They are willing to stand at my side, virtually, and hold my hand for a full month so I can better learn to build my business on Facebook. All I have to contribute is – cough! – $2000.
And those telemarketing calls will be their downfall. Borrell says that local advertising tends to be sold, not bought. Big digital’s ideas of self serve and telemarketing just won’t pan out.
He attributes that to local businesses and their bad case of the John Wanamaker syndrome: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Local businesses don’t know what kind of advertising is going to work. They’re too busy flipping pizzas, selling haircuts and facials and in general paying the bills.
So they might try the next new thing — buying keywords etc — for a while, but Borrell says his experience tells him these forays generally don’t work.
That makes sense to me. I’d rather toss my dime to the ad rep who reads poetry on his Friday night at my local café than to the ad rep calling from Mountain View, Calif. It’s always been the case that local connections are more persuasive. We like our neighbors to have food on the table .
Borrell cites two other reasons Big D will fail:
1) Self-serve ads don’t work.
2) The big digitals would need a massive workforce.
Of the 91,000 local ad sales reps in the country, about 27,000 work for newspapers, Borrell says. Pure play Internet follows with 15,000, Radio follows with 17,000 and behind radio are directories like the Yellow pages with 14,000 sales reps. Reps for Cable, TV and misc. sources make up the 18,000 difference. [Figures revised 12/15/2011]
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2011 © 2011 Borrell Associates Inc.
These 27,000 sales reps walk the walk and talk the talk of local, because they are local. As such they are trusted and highly influential. Over time, despite their ups and downs, local media brands are still the most trusted. And they are rapidly adapting to the Internet.
“I was talking with Warren Webster , the CEO of Patch, when he was on a panel I had set up,” Borrell said. Borrell asked Webster what local media companies have that he wishes Patch had.
“Webster said: ‘I wish I had their brand,’ ” Borrell says. Despite Patch’s physical presence, none of its sites are profitable, he added.
Borrell believes that in the digital sphere, events will roll out as they did with cable, with TV and with radio. In the end, local media/newspaper companies are adapting to the digital world and will win because of the strength of their brands.
“History is repeating itself,’ he says.
That’s one opinion, at least. More to come.
Originally published for Tribune Media 435Digital.
A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.