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  • Writer's pictureChris Faw

4 Things Every Media Leader Should be Pondering

In today's rapidly evolving media landscape, leaders find themselves navigating a sea of turbulence. Leaders are pondering their present landscape, and what the next year or two may bring in the way of new tech, shifting consumer preferences, and relentless competition coming from predictable and unpredictable places.  Combine media’s upended traditional business models, the uncertainty of an election year, and an economy filled with conflicting indicators, you wind up with an extremely difficult ability to predict just 12 to 18 months into the future.


Chris Faw, Partner, Next Media Partners


Amidst this chaos, leaders must rethink their strategies and reshape their approaches to not only survive but thrive in this new reality. Certainly, agile thinking, innovative solutions, and a willingness to embrace change will be useful. However, it's easy to fall into the trap of chasing competitors or overextending into unfamiliar territory. This is why it's crucial to revisit your core strengths, foster creativity with that core, and surround yourself with diverse perspectives. Here are four key principles every media leader should consider while charting a course through this challenging yet still opportunity-filled landscape.


1.       It doesn’t matter what you are not doing

As Media organizations we sometimes suffer from a case of FOMO. We often spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing our competition and their product sets, leading to a knee-jerk reaction to jump into their business rather than focusing on enhancing our existing offerings.  From there we develop a huge case of FOMO.  That naturally leads us to try and get into “their business” rather than concentrating on enhancing our existing offerings.  But, there’s a reason that Starbucks does not sell hot dogs and hamburgers: successful businesses know their strengths and mine gold from their own gold mine.  It’s better to dominate your existing product categories than to waste resources trying to become an “also-ran” in a segment already mastered by others.  


2.       Double down on your current products and imagine them in new ways

By concentrating on your core competencies, you stand a better chance of creating an unduplicated, unique service that others can never match.   If you can’t come up with new packaging, pricing, uses and measurements for your current media products, it could signal a lack of creativity within the team.  Look at what Arm and Hammer did with baking soda: it's no longer just a baking ingredient; it’s a multi-purpose product that can freshen garbage disposals, alleviate itchy feet, and even brush teeth. Think creatively about how to repurpose your offerings.

 

3.       If it’s not broke…break it!

We have all heard that saying… but the reality is that the media landscape is already broken – and constantly breaking more.  Failure to recognize the rapidly changing nature of the Media space means you will be equipped for a world that no longer exists – and ill-equipped for the new reality.  Our job as leaders is to look beyond the monthly budget cycle and stop worrying about obsessing over quarterly revenue.  The changes needed to create sustainability, longevity and continuity often require months to plan and years to implement and perfect.  This means most of us are overdue for a new prescription from our doctor.  If you have not started adapting for this change, you are already behind the curve. 


4.       Surround yourself with creative, fearless, diverse storytellers

Let’s face it, most of us like to hire people similar to ourselves.  However, when you have 5 or 6 leaders in constant, violent agreement, then 4 or 5 of you are not needed.  You owe it to your organization to create a 360 view of the opportunities as well as the threats.  Exhaust every chance to squeeze every bit of value and extend the media product life cycle.  This requires thought leadership and a willingness to entertain contrary points of view.   Our mission is not to protect the status quo but to propel the business forward in a changing marketplace.   By the way, don’t be afraid to augment your team with outside opinions from consultative help and get a fresh perspective on things.   Their experience with other organizations can provide valuable insights and help put you on a faster track to continued success. 


In summary, media leaders should focus on their strengths, innovate within their core competencies, adapt to changing landscapes, and build diverse teams to navigate the complex media world effectively. Propelling the business forward requires a bold vision, creative thinking, and the willingness to break what's already broken.

 

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