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’ve discovered a simple way to
tell who’s serious about the digi-
tal opportunity and who’s not.
Just look for the sign.
Is it on the side of the building? On a
I’m not talking about the big sign with
the station’s call letters or newspaper’s
name. They say “we’re a TV station” or
“we’re a radio station” or “we’re a newspa-
per,” and we’re proud of it.
I’m talking about a sign that says, “We
get it. We’re on board. We’re transform-
I’m talking naming your baby and tell-
ing the world.
Let’s say you
them lunch, and
came up with a fancy
name. Where is it?
Inside, where the
staff can see it? Or
on the building, in big, bold style that says,
“Here we are! Come do business with us!”
In a recent survey of 189 local media
managers whose companies sell digital
services, 34% said their unit didn’t even
have a name. Wow! Isn’t that like saying,
“I’d like you to meet son, uh, well... we
haven’t named him yet. We’re waiting to
see if he can get a job and be self-sustain-
Here are a few other interesting results
from that survey, conducted by Borrell
Associates last fall:
n Of those who said their unit had
a name, 67% said it wasn’t visible to the
n Of those who had a logo for their
digital-services unit, we asked whether
that logo was on employees’ business
cards, bigger than any other logo on the
card. 58% said no.
How would you answer those ques-
tions? Do those answers reflect your
company’s commitment to digital media?
There’s your sign
Actually, it’s more than just a sign. A
few years ago I traveled to eastern Ten-
nessee to meet with a longtime client
and LMA member, Jones Media. I had
convinced them in 2011 that, to grow
again, they’d need to create a freestanding
digital-services unit and invest in it like a
startup. They created High Road Digital
and located it in a small brick building
next to the newspaper offices.
After spending the afternoon with the
staff of the two-year-old digital agency,
I met with CEO Gregg Jones and other
“Well, what do
you think of High
Road Digital?” I was
“I think you
should shut it down,”
After the initial
shock passed, I
explained why, in a short Powerpoint I had
hastily assembled after taking a few photos
of their operation.
They must not be proud of High Road,
I said, because the building had no visible
sign. They did indeed have a billboard...
which was actually a six-inch-tall plastic
model that sat all alone on a table at the
front door. Their office whiteboard was
one of the smallest you could buy, and the
furniture consisted of leftovers from the
newspaper offices – which, at that very
moment, was getting thousands of dollars
of new carpeting installed.
Their reasoning for the low profile:
Most of the business was in another city,
40 miles away.
“Move there, and put up a sign that
says, ‘We’re here, we have an identity, and
we’re a serious company.’”
They did, and their business has been
growing faster ever since.
The message is simple. If you truly
believe in the future, the signs will be
Serious about digital?
Here’s a simple test
By Gordon Borrell
Chairman, LMA Board of Directors, CEO, Borrell Associates
Why you should attend
This program is designed for local media
executives that are looking to truly move the
needle when it comes to growing digital revenue.
Concluding sessions will focus on developing
business plans to take home and implement.
This is a must-attend for media companies that
are serious about digital transformation.
CONT. FROM PAGE 1
Presented by LMA and
The Blinder Group
The summit is being held
at the world-class
University of Chicago Booth
School of Business Gleacher
Center, Chicago, Illinois
Full details at
Digital Revenue Summit
Raging growth in digital spend
a 16.4% increase
in local advertis-
ing this year based on significant budget
increases coming for digital advertising and
forecast to grow
at another rag-
ing two-digit rate – 36.4%. And, for the first
time, digital media will account for half of all
locally spent advertising as it heads toward
what they believe will be a two-thirds share
before it levels off in 2019.
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