. The Transom .

Thursday, March 22, 2007

College degree shouldn't be prerequisite for respect

We spent some time working with a client who was in the field of career education. Some call it vocational education or a trade school. This particular school offered degree training in everything from HVAC, welding, and electrical, to cosmetology, professional cooking, and court reporting. During our ongoing research about these fields, one unfortunate trait seemed to run constant throughout - graduates of these programs, and thus the people who work in these fields, have the stigma of being social abnormalities because they didn't graduate from a traditional four-year institution with a bachelors degree.

Plumbers, electricians, and court reporters, among others, don't get the same level of respect as a 23-year-old kid that just graduated with a degree in business. Somehow in our society, a bachelors degree has become equated with success. And yet, only 25% of the adult population in the United States has a bachelors degree. Many of those graduates aren't even working in their field of study.

In other societies, people in all professions are treated with respect. Goat herders are given the same respect as accountants or consultants because the society recognizes every job has an importance in their life. Without electricians, we'd be in the dark. When your AC goes out in the middle of the summer, you don't need someone with a bachelors degree. You need someone who is skilled in their craft. I would like to see our society give a little more respect to the jobs and professions that while not as socially glamorous as some, still are critical to our way of life.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

CBS coverage of NCAA basketball tournament pathetic

CBS has completely blown it in terms of NCAA basketball prime time coverage on the first day of the tournament. Why, I ask, would they attempt to show four games simultaneously? I was hoping to watch the Duke/VCU game, as advertised in my market. Well thanks to CBS' decision to capture as many advertising dollars as possible, I got to watch bits and pieces of three other games I could care less about.

And to just add insult to injury, consider its brilliant decision late in the first half. VCU had just made an incredible six point run to tie Duke with 24 seconds remaining in the half. Duke brings the ball down court and is fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds on the clock. As the player was going to the line, CBS cuts away to the Sports Desk to talk about the Ohio St. / Central Conn. game.... STILL ON HALFTIME. No cut-away to another game in progress. Just cut-away from the most exciting part of the game. Absolutely brilliant.

So why does this belong on this blog? Instead of really caring about the viewer and what the viewer wants to see, CBS went for the profit. They could have shown these other three games on ESPN or FSN, for some ad-dollar sharing and a kickback. Instead, they want all the money and decide to run four games on one channel. Customer service at its most stupid.

Defender of the brand

There is something that I think most communications practitioners fail to keep in mind when working on behalf of a client. We are the defender of the brand. If you work for Hewlett-Packard, everything you do, say, write, etc. somehow influences the HP brand. The decisions we make when working on messaging, events, and partnerships all do one of two things - they either add to the brand or take away from it. Make sure that whatever you do on behalf of the brand is adding to its value. It's hard enough to build a brand, but nearly impossible to rebuild it.