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  • feedwordpress 22:54:05 on 2020/06/03 Permalink  

    My New Normal 


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    Long-winding-road

    Friday will be my last day at the labor of love of a company where I spent nearly eleven years working with some of the brightest minds, world-class clients, and companies this planet has to offer. Like many others, COVID-19 and the economic fallout it causes has come knocking directly on my door, co-mingled with a backdrop of social unrest and palpable frustration that so many of us are feeling. It's the most intense of times.

    Amidst this sudden and difficult news—something caught me off guard, and as I write this I am still grappling with my emotions. I've been bombarded by an outpouring of love, support, help, and genuine well-wishes that is making me feel like I don't deserve it. My inner voice keeps saying:

    "Who is this wonderful person these people are talking about?"

    And so I find myself humbled and conflicted—working to believe I am the man these colleagues and friends of mine are saying I am. I will choose to believe them and silence the inner critic as I process the emotions of a sudden job loss at the worst time. I know I am not alone and I'm thinking of those affected in every shape way and form. I look to the news, and it gives me perspective.

    Yet still. I find myself looking at the open and winding road of this so-called new normal that we all keep hearing so much about. This is an entirely new terrain to me—I've never taken a break between jobs as I have navigated my career. I have been fortunate this way. I love to work hard—with amazing, passionate people and I MAKE things despite being a senior leader who manages too. If it doesn't have output, I don't do it. I suppose my roots as a designer are still present in my methods as a seasoned professional.

    I am hitting pause briefly, but now that I don't have the pressures of a demanding full-time job with deadlines to meet, teams to motivate, clients to solve problems for and complexity to be simplified—I will have time to talk, riff, plan, and dream of how I could put a small dent into this world with willing partners before I depart it.

    My new normal is a stretch of road to be driven and I will be looking for others to share the ride.

    Find me if you want to talk. In a little while :-)

    -David

     
  • feedwordpress 15:32:15 on 2020/04/06 Permalink
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    An Open Letter To American Corporations: It’s Good Business (and Smart Marketing) To Support Quality Journalism 


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    Brands and journalism need each other.

    “Outbreaks have sparked riots and propelled public-health innovations, prefigured revolutions and redrawn maps.” The New Yorker, April 2020

    “Nothing will be the same.” 

    That’s the overwhelming takeaway I’ve heard from dozens of conversations I’ve had with C-suite leaders, physicians, policy experts and media professionals these past few weeks. 

    When it comes to the business practices of large corporations, there’s no time to debate whether or when things might return to normal. If corporations truly stand for something – and nearly all of them claim to nowadays –  the time to prove it is right now, as the crisis deepens and consumers look to corporations to step up and lead. Companies that wait this crisis out will learn – quickly – that once loyal customers will readily turn to competitors who made it a priority to be in service during this extraordinary moment.

    Communicating that message of service means marketing. With that in mind, here’s a list of fundamental truths given today’s media landscape:

    • Context matters more than ever. Every customer is consumed with understanding the threat and implications of the pandemic. High quality, trusted information is critical.
    • Given this new context, marketing messaging can and must shift toward communicating how a company is adding value to society and its customers. Companies must recognize the severity of our times – brand messaging becomes serious and information dense. 
    • The majority of global marketers have frozen or cancelled their marketing plans, and all are struggling to identify and roll out relevant new messaging.  
    • When those messages are ready, marketers will find that traditional vehicles for messaging have shrunk or disappeared, or seem frivolous and out of context. No NBA or MLB, no Olympics, no live entertainment, and most advertising-driven television production has been suspended. 
    • Stuck inside and online, consumers are glued to news outlets, and have retreated to streaming video for escape – and the lion’s share of those services are ad free. Those with advertising models (Pluto, Roku, etc) have previously been viewed as nascent and unproven. This will change, but at present the connected TV sector lacks the inventory to satisfy the marketing needs of the world’s biggest brands.
    • Pushing context-driven marketing messaging on audience-driven services like Instagram or Facebook Newsfeed will come across as tone deaf. Again, context is now king. Where can serious, service-driven marketing messaging find the right context?   

    Turns out, there is a massive media channel that lives in a serious and information-dense context every minute of every day. This channel has nearly unlimited inventory, deep and consistent consumer engagement, and is eager for partnership with brand marketers.

    This channel is called news. And if marketers are smart, they’ll realize that running their messaging in high quality news channels isn’t just good business, it’s good for society as well.

    For decades, marketers have been eschewing journalism as a serious marketing channel, claiming that brands can’t be built adjacent to coverage of plane crashes, natural disasters, politics, or other staples of the news business. This misguided philosophy has led marketing agencies to create massive blacklists of terms like “Trump,” “guns,” and now, “COVID.” These lists direct tens of billions in programmatic advertising away from local and national news outlets, and toward “safer” channels like live sports on television and Facebook or YouTube online.  

    But it’s time for that to change. Perhaps the most important element of society’s response to the global pandemic lies in the curation and communication of high quality information, and calling that truth to those in power. Who but journalists will hold the governor of Georgia to account for mistruths, or the President of the United States? This has always been the role of journalism – and despite decades of declining revenues, most news outlets are rising to the challenge. Traffic and engagement to news channels has skyrocketed since the COVID outbreak – at The Recount*, we’ve seen spikes of up to 10-20 times our normal viewership. 

    It’s time for brands to rethink news as a marketing channel. This doesn’t mean brands should abandon their metrics of success – but forward thinking leaders in the industry have already proven that news channels can offer more engaged and receptive audiences. A friend and industry leading marketer (who prefers to not be named) has led the way in this regard, investing at least one in three of his media dollars in news channels last year. He tells me that not only are news audiences influential and affluent, they are five times more likely to recall advertising than general audiences, and six times more likely to engage with ads when they recall them.

    Right now, we need more leaders like him to step up and support the news business. And it’s not just good business: journalists are keeping people informed at one of the most important and perilous times of our history. As our finest corporations bend to the work of finding ways to be in service to their customers, they can and should partner with the one media channel that has been committed to serve the public since its inception: Journalism. 

    ###

    *Yes, this post can be seen as self serving, and I’m fine with that. I’m convinced that the thesis is sound regardless of my position at Recount Media.

     

     

     
  • feedwordpress 14:49:03 on 2020/03/13 Permalink
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    This Too Shall Pass 


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    In my younger years, I found myself working at a digital agency during the height of the dotcom bubble burst. This was the early 2000s.

    We closed offices, let people go and grappled with the fact that the economy we helped build in code seemed to crumble before our very eyes. It was humbling, to say the least. During these same years, we also endured 9/11 and on a personal front, we had just brought two new lives into this world—a world in transition and turmoil. The uncertainty was palpable.

    I can remember thinking to myself that I might have to move back home with my parents if things got really bad and if I lost my ability to provide. We were a single income family facing uncertain times in an even more uncertain world.

    Today, things are feeling uncertain once again. Markets are in flux, oil prices are plummeting, and of course, a virus triggering fear and impacting economies...

    But wait. We’ve been here before.

    Maybe not exactly. Every time it’s a little different. But this isn’t the first time. We’ve been through much together. And we’re more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.

    This too shall pass...

     
  • feedwordpress 16:30:03 on 2020/03/09 Permalink
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    Investing In The Future Is Investing In Yourself 


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    White_and_black_heart_shaped_light-scopio-3ccd1307-dd09-4af7-9ccf-6334e744514a

    Recently, I spent an hour with a colleague who is just starting out in his career and wanted to learn more about what I do, how I do it and how he can apply that knowledge to his exploration of a career path.

    If you have the opportunity to have conversations like these—you should take them. First, because if your professional life has been good to you (and mine has) you have an obligation to pay it forward, especially to those who will build the future.

    Secondly, it's not just an investment in someone else's future but it's also an investment in yourself. When you are faced with the energy, passion, and curiosity of someone just starting out, it's a great inspiration and a reminder of why you do what you do.

    In a world where win-wins are becoming less frequent, this is one. So make time for that person just starting out and don't be surprised if you both leave the meeting better than when you started it.

    The investment is mutual.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:11:12 on 2020/03/06 Permalink  

    The Gift of Saying No 


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    Beads

    If I’m really being honest with myself, one of my greatest opportunities for career development is that I say yes too much.

    It is, in fact, possible to say yes too much.

    I’ve gotten much better at selectively saying no over the years, but I still have to work at it. There are many good reasons why we say yes too much:

    -We want to be helpful
    -We want to be both valued and valuable
    -We want to come through for someone who’s asking for assistance

    All good reasons.

    But there are good reasons to say no too. They can be things like:

    -Keeping the quality of your work high
    -Maintaining a healthy work/life balance
    -Not spreading yourself too thin

    Saying no to the right thing at the right time can be a gift to yourself and others as well because you’ll be ensuring that what you’re really great at stays that way.

    Because that’s why you’re being asked in the first place.

     
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