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What’s Your Sign?


Before 1960, the drive-in was king. It was ground-zero for a demographic segment Hollywood had forgotten in its obsession to meet head on the challenge that was television, and that demo was teenagers.

So a generation of films and filmmakers arose with that segment squarely in their sights. And chief among them was a director and producer who is still working today: The legendary Roger Corman.

Even if you don’t know Corman you know the names of the A-listers whose careers Corman made possible. And you probably know some of the films, many of which are showcased in a lavish and cool new book, Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman: King of the B Movie, by Chris Nashawaty.

Roger’s brother Gene had an interesting observation on the times, one that resonates for your media company today:

The drive-in was everything. And to play a drive-in, you had to have something they could exploit. We couldn’t get actors of substance, and you had to have something to hang your hat on, so we felt exploitation and horror was what the marketplace wanted. You could make them cheaply, and you didn’t need a big name – you just had to have a great poster. That’s how you sold everything!

You had to have a great poster, a great sign. A great introduction to the brand, whatever it was.

So what’s your sign?

What’s your poster equivalent? What’s the palpable, unavoidable, irresistible, visual representation of your brand that helps to bring in consumers like bees to honey?

What is your logo like? Does it look like it could have been on the side of a Pepsodent tube in 1955?

What about the look and feel of your website? In our zeal to shoehorn our platforms into templates we have too many sites that are cookie-cutter clones, and not enough that look and feel contemporary.

If your billboards were a movie poster, would the audience rush to see your movie?

When your station is live around town, does your promotions staff look like they’d rather be flipping burgers?

The reason why all this stuff matters is because it’s all part of the larger brand that you’re creating and it all adds to the magnetic allure – the “want to hear” – that introduces new listeners and reels back in the wayward ones. And in an era when distractions are as close as the nearest mobile app, your “sign” is more important than ever.

Boring brands with boring signs don’t attract enthusiastic, loyal audiences.

Signs that promise something fresh, exciting, enticing, compelling, interesting, entertaining…those are what you need more of.

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