Monthly Archives: June 2016

An Hour More And Less

More and less? A typo right off the bat? Nope, not a chance. That’s a statement about time, which as I think we all know is a zero-sum game. Even if you don’t sleep there are still only 24 hours in a day. Why this is of note today is a report from the Nielsen folks and the implications the findings hold for you.

The results come from Nielsen’s Q1 2016 Total Audience Report, which you can read here. There is also an excellent summary on Adweek’s site. As the latter states: 

The total media consumption across all devices and platforms jumped one hour from the first quarter of 2015, to 10 hours, 39 minutes. (A year earlier, there had only been a seven-minute year-over-year jump in daily media consumption.) That’s mostly due to smartphone use, which has soared 37 minutes, and tablet use, which has increased 12 minutes. Internet on PC jumped 10 minutes, while multimedia devices, including Apple TV and Roku, were up four minutes. Video game consoles and DVR use was flat, while DVD use dipped one minute and live TV dropped three minutes year over year. Nielsen’s data indicates that consumers aren’t pulling away from linear TV, but instead are making additional time for these new devices.

An hour more each day with media sounds wonderful if you’re in the media business. The real question this raises with me is from where are consumers getting that extra hour? Do you think they’re sleeping less? Leaving work early? Maybe they’re watching on the job (so much for productivity). No, I suspect they’re just not doing something else. Shopping, dining out as much, going to other recreational activities. All this means is that as selective as consumers were in allocating their time to your non-media business they’re going to be even more so. That reinforces the need for all of us to provide value every time we have a consumer interaction or we won’t be having as many down the road.

As an aside, I’ll remind us that most of us, even if we make package goods, are now in the media business. Social sites, home base (your website!), and content we provide to others are all media, so it’s not a lost cause. Obviously, it’s fiercely competitive out there, and the hour more each day that consumers are spending in the space doesn’t mean they’re any less frugal with the time they spend. The job for each of us is to make up for the hour less they’re outside of media where we live and capture their attention within the extra hour they’re spending inside. We can do that through great content, content which is focused on providing value and solving their problems.  Make sense?

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Filed under digital media

Take Me Away

It’s Foodie Friday and I have a little blast from the past today.  I’m a fan of the animated movie Ratatouille, the story of a rat who loves to cook.  If you’ve never seen it, take a few minutes this weekend and do so (as of this writing I see it’s available for streaming rental). The whole thing is pretty wonderful but there is one scene in particular which speaks loudly to me and I think has some business inspiration for us all. 


I’m going to risk spoiling the movie here but I need to explain the scene of which I’m thinking. It’s when France’s top restaurant critic Anton Ego, whose previous review cost the restaurant in which Remy, the rat, cooks one of its stars. Without spoiling it too much, Remy and the chefs cook Ego a dish of ratatouille which brings back an astonished Ego memories of his mother’s cooking. The graphic you see on the right is the moment when Ego takes a bite and that’s our business inspiration.

Every time a customer partakes of our product or service, we have the opportunity to make a positive emotional connection. I’m sure you’ve had the sensation of recalling a memory when you experience a particular smell or taste something. We see this all the time with, for example, scented candles. There is a difference between recognizing the smell of a pine tree and experiencing the feeling of being out in a snowy woods standing among them.  We’re trying for the latter because that emotional connection binds the consumer and the product. Actors use this all the time via affective memory or sense memory.

As with many things we discuss here on the screed, it’s not an easy task. The benefits are worth the effort, though. You can see it even in something as simple as the “Calgon, Take Me Away” campaign. Maybe we’re all in the transportation business?

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Filed under food, Thinking Aloud

Out Of Your Head

I’ve come to the conclusion that many, if not most, of our ills both in business and society are caused by not listening. It’s not that we’re deaf nor that we’re often failing to pay attention. The issue is that as we “listen” we’re focusing on our own thoughts and how we’re going to respond or react rather than on what it is the speaker is saying. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, to give fair consideration to the other speaker’s concerns.

This isn’t a brand new thought, I know. Maybe you’ve heard the term “emphatic listening.” Maybe you’ve heard it labeled “empathetic listening.” This is how Stephen Covey defined it:

When I say empathic listening, I mean listening with intent to understand. I mean seeking first to understand, to really understand. It’s an entirely different paradigm. Empathic (from empathy) listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their paradigm, you understand how they feel.

In other words, you need to get out of your head and into theirs.  You need to be quiet and listen.  REALLY listen. Don’t fidget with your phone nor check your computer screen. Give them your undivided attention and don’t judge as they are speaking. It’s also something that is way better if you’re face to face with them so you can read their body language. You ought not to respond immediately to whatever they’re saying as you THEN form your thoughts.  When you do, it’s often helpful to confirm that you’ve really heard them by playing back what they’ve said.

I can tell you from having tried to do this that many people are often quite rattled by it.  Most of us aren’t used to having someone get out of their own heads and listen. I think you’ll be surprised how the nature of conversations change as they become true dialogs.  Let me know, won’t you? I’m listening.

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks, Thinking Aloud