Cover Story: John Parikhal on The Media Fix

John Parikhal

Never one to stand still and accept the status quo, John Parikhal has been a leading-edge thinker in the broad based media markets for over thirty years. As CEO of media strategy company Joint Communications, he has worked with a multitude of clients including TBS, MTV, VH1, XM Radio, Rolling Stone Magazine, Pepsi, Wendy’s, Molson, CBS, NBC, ABC, Time Warner and Radio One, as well as major record companies and radio stations in the United States, Canada and around the world.
In addition to operating Joint Communications, Parikhal has also formed a partnership with global media and entertainment expert Taran Swan who has worked with market leaders Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network over a twenty year media and entertainment career. Earlier this year the two multi-media doctors unveiled their latest venture, The Media Fix blog at http://www.gomediafix.com. It’s a must see site for all media and marketing executives who choose to be actionable in their approach to today’s solutions.

John Parikhal on imagination: If you take the commitment away from imagination, eventually you’ll even lose corporate focus.

e-QB presents excerpts from the NovemberFMQB magazine Cover Story with John Parikhal, CEO, Joint Communications

On the core concept of his new blog The Media Fix… The Media Fix became a way for us to start a dialog around the ongoing critical issues of the Internet, integrating ideas that parallel the broadcast and related fields. It’s not strictly about the digital space. We’re interested in all areas of media and technology focused on this changing world and its effects on the consumer. I’ve always been consumer focused. We want to stay on top of change to anticipate and help companies take effective competitive action while staying connected with the consumer.The Growth Curve is an important part of assessing where a company is and where it will go. Phase 1 in almost every business is the Discovery Phase during which you are figuring things out and investing a lot of time in the process which begins with losing more than gaining. You actually go down the Growth Curve before you go up. Once you discover what is really working you start duplicating the pattern of success. The Phase 2 is the Normative Phase where you duplicate what you have discovered and formatting becomes king. It’s also where you make the most money because of the repetition process. The Phase 3 is to rethink and modify what’s worked for you in Phase 2. It’s critical to the future of your business. You can get trapped in Phase 2 because of consistent success through repetition. However if you’re not thinking ahead and modifying your model, someone else will do it for you which can lead to disaster.

On the “Growth Curve” concept on the site which is an integral part of John’s strategic thinking…

On applying this concept to the radio industry…Radio is rethinking, modifying and innovating a lot these days. Some radio companies are doing really smart and creative things on the Internet. Radio is asking for innovation from their suppliers because they had to. You never really change unless you have to. As you move along the Growth Curve, whether you like it or not, after you make a lot of money duplicating the old pattern, it stops working and everybody always ends up at the rethink and modify stage or else they die.Radio is being innovative but there’s often confusion between innovation and top down initiatives. Top down initiatives are seldom innovative. They are usually the result of a committee meeting and jamming out something that’s sub-optimal but agreeable to all parties. Consolidation was developing managers burdened with too many responsibilities and radio lost its innovative edge.
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The Seven Essential Connections

New media has shifted marketing perception suggesting the rules for brand building have dramatically changed.

Actually, the rules haven’t changed — and neither has the end goal. Rather, it’s the methods and choices used to build those brands that have changed the way brands are marketed, with some new powerful tools gaining popularity and other previously-strong tools losing power (or already lost it).

Here’s what remains as true and essential today as always: for significant and meaningful brand building connections and branding engagement, brands have to share common ground with the desired customer.

What does this mean?

The relationship between brand and customer must represent something real to the customer; otherwise, the brand doesn’t matter in the customer’s world. Miss this connection and you certainly won’t motivate brand advocates.

Successfully-built brands have to be genuine and based on the real values and vision of the brand.

Larger brand audiences and market share dominance happen when the brand links distribution of the brand intention with the brands perception.

It’s the bedrock of trust and common ground, allowing the relationship between brand and consumer to grow and prosper.

What are the Seven Essental Connections for Successful Customer Brand Building? The brand MUST share with the customer:

1) Life values (self-identity)
2) Core “roots” (history, heritage, religion, etc.)
3) Cause (forward-moving purpose)
4) Mutual interests and/or benefits (time spent together)
5) Lifestyle (community)
6) Hobbies (interactivity)
7) Preferences (like and shared dislikes)

Brands that connect with customers on all seven levels consistently are engaged. Look at some of the biggest successes: Apple, for example. BMW and Toyota for cars and Ford for trucks. Even TV shows like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Lost, Heroes, 24, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Each connect on all seven levels…and deliver financial results and customer buzz.

But not all brands connect on all seven levels.

Why not?

Most brands don’t consciously concentrate on servicing, staffing or budgeting the brand on those 7 levels. Which is too bad; if they did, the brand would earn the cherished “X Factor”…that special extra oomph in brand value making it superior than any competitor.

How well is your brand connecting?