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Chasing the Unicorn

The easiest way to sell yourself short is to compare your work to the competition. To say that you are 5% cheaper or have one or two features that stand out–this is a formula for slightly better mediocrity. The goal ought to be to compare yourself not to the best your peers or the competition has managed to get through a committee or down on paper, but to an unattainable, magical unicorn. Compared to that, how are you doing?

The problem with many radio broadcasters is that we tend to innovate – if we do so at all – by looking over our shoulder at the other guy (usually the other broadcaster, and usually a guy).

That’s too bad, because looking over your shoulder at people who are looking back at you over their shoulder leads to lots of sideways glances and a tendency to settle for what’s already being done rather than aspire to create new value for your consumers and advertisers.

I know when I do a research project for a broadcaster my interest is always creating something new – some new advantage, some new feature, some new way to say “we’re better today than we were yesterday,” new creations in tune with the wishes and dreams of the audience.

But research is an investment, so many stations do without.  Looking over our shoulders is easier, and always less surprising and inspiring – to us and our audiences alike.

Too many broadcasters can’t even imagine the Unicorn, let alone see fit to chase it.

Here’s to those who can and do.

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