Commentary

Tough Week? Tough Year? Just Remember 3 Words

Reminders are good, right? Like when your mobile device reminds you about your next meeting, or your mom texts about a family birthday next week. Reminders are helpful; we appreciate them. So here's one we can all use, especially during uncertain times: Whatever the challenge, perseverance, courage and collaboration will see us through and create the results we seek.

I work in the advertising and branded content business, and it's been difficult to stay positive this year. Business models are changing with breathtaking speed. Top consumer brands have slashed their marketing budgets, and the bad economic news has been unavoidable.

We all know "the only constant is change," but the last year has been a bit ridiculous. For marketers, the ground has been shifting beneath our feet on an almost daily basis. If you don't know everything there is to know about Twitter, watch out: a 22-year-old might steal your job. Newspapers are folding by the dozen, and even The New York Times is in financial distress.

2009 will go down in history as a perfect storm of change -- in media consumption, in the economy, in corporate America.

My industry is witnessing the unraveling of cozy, decades-old business relationships between major corporations and so-called "old media," specifically network television. These advertising relationships are as codependent as they are dusty; they've been in place, essentially unchanged, since the early 1960s.

As a result, there's a lot of fear in the air.

I regret to report that some of my partners at traditional advertising agencies subscribe to this fear. Theoretically they may want to embrace new ideas, and new ways of reaching consumers with brand messages, but these folks are part of enterprises that were built around the 30-second TV spot. Their instinct is to protect territory, and for some, new has become synonymous with dangerous.

That's unfortunate, because new thinking is exactly what major brands want. People with the products to sell are simply seeking the most effective and efficient way to inform customers about their offerings.

As marketers, we can and will provide consumer brands with those services. We have to. Simply put, it's the future of our business.

So, I'm here to tell you that there is a way out of this cave, and three simple words will light the path for all of us: Perseverance. Courage. Collaboration. P.C.C.

Perseverance, because if you believe in what you are doing and have the proper tools and skills to keep pushing that rock up the hill, eventually you will get to the top.

Courage to do what is right for your business, even in the face of crippling politics, bureaucracy and micro-management. Have sufficient confidence in your vision to challenge the tried-and-true models.

Collaboration means building the best team for the job, even if it means recruiting from outside your current talent pool. Open mind and open-door mentalities will usher in the thinking of tomorrow.

P.C.C. Those initials could also stand for People Can Change. I'm going to make this an official movement and make up some T-shirts. If you'd like your own PCC T-shirt, email: Claudia@messagebecomesmedium.com

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