Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"The aim of every authentic artist is not to conform to the history of art but to release himself from it in order to replace it with his own history." Harold Rosenberg

"In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future; while the learned usually find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." Eric Hoffer

"Have the courage to act instead of react." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Today's image: Evil by EvilxElf. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

"It's morning again in America" the 1984 Reagan presidential campaign slogan written by the brilliant Hal Riney.

We have lost Hal Riney one of the greatest copywriters in the history of American advertising. He passed Monday due to cancer. Once a creative wizard at Ogilvy & Mather, he started that agency's west coast office in San Francisco, bought it in 1985 (renaming it Hal Riney & Partners) and sold his very successful shop to Publicis in 1998.

It was another legendary ad man Bill Bernbach who taught "You can say the right thing about a product, and nobody will listen. You've got to say it in such a way that people feel it in their gut. Because if they don't feel it, nothing will happen." Riney wrote copy that made people feel something, his writing was uniquely visceral in a way that revealed his penetrating intellect. Beyond his considerable gifts as a writer, director, producer and creative genius, Riney was also a voice actor without equal. His remarkable and memorable reads caught the ear, engaged the mind and lingered. His style was in fact so different that shops, producers and clients alike sought out announcers who could pull off that warm, arresting "Riney-esque" delivery. His was the voice of that famous Reagan campaign, the introduction campaign for Saturn (a revolutionary intro he also masterminded) and many others.

He hired on a young songwriter to compose original music for his California client Crocker National Bank. Paul Williams wrote "We've Only Just Begun" for Hal, the tune later becoming the hit record by the Carpenters. Hal may hold the record for writing successful ads. For one client alone (Bartles & Jaymes) he wrote 153 ads. He was also responsible for "naming" that brand. As the story goes he picked the Bartles and Jaymes names out of a phone book. Hal continues to be an inspiration to me and generations of others in advertising and marketing. His "soft-sell" approach was truly contrarian, Riney was a thinking person's creative force in an ad game too often gimmick heavy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children.

Read more about the great Hal Riney here. Times obit here.

Bloomberg reports: "The ad market has been stuck in the mud for ten months" More here.

Word to the wise: Jack Myers knocks the cover completely off the ball to wit:

"Among the leading online and digital media companies, the dearth of sales executives experienced in the traditional media marketplace will be an albatross, slowing their progress and acceptance. Filling executive roles with skilled network sales executives, who also have proven online sales credentials, will be a priority."

Bravos, Jack! Read his entire writing here.

Got your radical innovation, right here: I am often asked to suggest practical paths broadcast firms can use to spark, encourage real innovation, especially in broadcast sales. My response has remained the same for some years now. HRD. Develop the people who develop your profits.

HRD (human resources development) is a powerful, game-changing and sustainable strategy. The question typically leads to my first question - "What, exactly, are you doing now to develop your people?"

Holding sales managers (and other team leaders) accountable for training and development is an appropriate first step. The mistake most often made is expecting department managers to serve as effective trainers, coaches or developers without the benefit of formal training. Being a successful trainer, a good coach or an effective developer requires skill sets unique to each task. While your sales manager might be a great department head (one skill set) s/he may not have the aptitude, interest, ability or bandwidth to become a skilled trainer, coach or developer.

Let me put this into proper perspective - adult learning (i.e., adult education) is actually a serious business involving tradecraft, it's a disciplined art. What it is not is something one can simply pick-up overnight. To get good at it you'll need to be willing to devote your entire career to it in your spare time. The wonderful news in this regard is there are a great many resources available to help you learn how to be an effective trainer, a successful coach, or a productive developer.

On the day job one of the things we do is help organizations bring out the best in their people. Part of this process involves trade secrets well known to professional trainers and teachers. Please allow me to share one of those secrets here today.

Learn one, do one, teach one.

"Learn one, do one, teach one" is an important principle used in medical training, it's one of the valuable secrets that helps trainers, coaches and developers crack the code in creating successful HRD initiatives. It all begins with learning. It begins with being hungry. It's all about transfer of training to practical application in the field, in the workplace, on the street where it counts.

I want my RAB

If you work in radio let me suggest and highly recommend the RAB. Putting RAB training resources to work will make a significant difference at your station and that difference will begin to happen almost immediately. If you're a radio programming, creative services, production or marketing/promotion exec I encourage you to get access to the RAB materials - ask your sales manager. Everybody at your station is in sales (or in the least sales support) and if not odds are better than even that you're wasting valuable time working for the wrong company. Closed circuit to radio CEOs: The RAB can tell you exactly how your team is (or is not) making use of RAB online resources. Put a call to the RAB on today's to-do list and begin your own radical innovation. You'll be glad you did.

Caught both parts of Bush's War, the Frontline series on PBS last night. Very well done. Highly recommended. Watch it online here. Online chat with producer Michael Kirk, today at 11 am eastern here.