To Be Truly Unique, You Need A Truly Differentiated Human Touch
January 27, 2015
Change is the one thing we can count on in our lives, personally and professionally. And even though we all know that (or should), it doesn't help in the moment we experience it.
Last week, Jimmy Ray and Jen, the longtime morning show at WGH (The Eagle)/Virginia Beach, parted ways with the company. As you might expect, the station received plenty of calls, emails, Facebook comments, and tweets about the "break-up."
Oftentimes, when fans reach out to any media outlet over the departure of a talent, the company releases an official statement as a blanket response to everyone. Or worse, the questions go completely unanswered. But Max Media Operations Manager John Shomby wanted to do something different.
Shomby understood the audience needed one thing from the station right away - access. They wanted the ability to speak directly to the boss and feel heard. Shomby has always been this type of leader. When he ran KZPS/Dallas, he used to do a segment called, "Talk to the Boss."
So, he turned to Max Media Digital Director, Erin Galant, to help him decide which platform would provide fans the most access in one setting. Galant recommended Google Hangouts. And soon thereafter, the audience was having one of those unexpected, cool moments - a digital face-to-face with management.
And Shomby didn't back down -- he answered some pretty tough questions:
Shomby's openess helped a larger part of the audience understand -- whether we like it or not -- change is inevitable. It was moving to watch fans find Shomby on Facebook and express how they felt after his chat:
We're operating in a time where the audience is more connected than ever. Consumers are reading reviews and trusting friends and family advice more than any elevator pitch we can give for our own product.
Transparency is critical.
It may not be pretty or feel comfortable taking on and talking to angry fans, but if you value the audience, there are upsides to putting yourself in the hot seat and do what you can to share what you can.
Once we have explained (the best we can) about these changes, we have done our jobs. It's not our responsibility to chase after the vocal minority determined to argue with us. But the approach is everything. And the digital and social tools are right there at our disposal to help us do just that.
I have assisted many Jacobs Media clients through these types of changes and I can tell you one thing: tone and timing are everything.
When you perfect them and use the new platforms to communicate, you'll help limit the anger that can flood your emails and social assets.
Steve Jobs once said, "Things don't have to change the world to be important."
It's true. A simple change in our approach to the audience can be something so small, but perhaps more important that you'll ever know.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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