OOH …Here’s One Thing
by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company
I Feel Good
As prescient as I may look having wrote, “It’s the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine” last week⇒It’s the end of the world as we know it, I should have left out the “I feel fine” part. My guess is none of us feel fine right now. In fact, there’s a collective lump in the bottom of our stomach.
And when I sat down to pen this piece, I thought about “Bloody Sunday, Bloody Sunday”
(This live version is pretty pure by the way. Worth the watch.)
But then I remembered some of the key take aways from the book I am currently reading, “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday…“Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective”, and I said to myself, what an amazing world event to experience first hand rather than to read about it in a history book. Okay Johnsen, have you lost your cabeza? From great tragedy comes great opportunity, right?
In my gut, I’m feeling like as an industry…as long as we keep our heads while all around us people are losing theirs…there is great opportunity in front of us. I know, you think I am nuts. What could possibly be good about were we are right now? Okay so here’s what I’m talking about:
1. China is a leading indicator dudes and dudets. Population 1.4B and no new cases of Covid-19 as of a couple days ago. Yes its true, that China is a police state and can control its population in ways that the U.S. can not, so maybe our trajectory is a little more like Italy than China, but for the vast majority of us, we are going to get infected and build an immunity to this virus. It’s true that its tragically lethal for a small minority. But if China is any indication, this pandemic will pass. I am optimistic that it will pass faster than we think.
2. We are going to come out better for it. I believe we had it too good for too long. As a result we spent too much of our precious time opining on divisive politics and scratching for the last dollar. Watching businesses (including our own) and their employees suffer as will inject some much needed compassion into American ethos the likes we haven’t seen since 9/11. We will need to rebuild the U.S. economy as a team. Zero sum game, in my humble opinion, will not work at present. I think the 9/11 spirit will re-emerge.
3. What does that mean for us? We hold a tremendous weapon in our hands. It’s called the power of communication. Let’s use it folks. The best thing businesses can do to start and rev their engines on the backside of this, is to tell their audience a) they are open for business and b) they are as excited as ever to serve their customer base. The best thing we can do, is help them get that message out. Maybe with help on the creative. Maybe with free production. Maybe with delayed payment. Maybe with a 4 week period on trade. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Put your creative thinking caps on folks. Their is a huge opportunity right now to help your client base in ways which will solidify their loyalty for years to come. And also create amazing karma. Remember, “The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time” (Thomas Jefferson)
4. If every one is locked inside right now and no one is seeing outdoor as a result (which I highly doubt btw as Interstate-95 in my little neck of the woods is still humming day and night), let’s turn our best boards into social media beacons. Amplify! The OAAA and each of its members should have a coordinated effort. What if we posted April 1 #Shout…and we socialized it (ie ran it on our boards)? And as a result created a huge movement? (Ping me and I will tell you what I was thinking). Anyway I’m a financing weenie…not an adman…but don’t we have some of the best admen in the world at our disposable?
5. If circulations numbers are way down, rather than crawl under our desks and hide those numbers, let’s post them so that we can show they growing exponentially in the coming weeks. Why? First, we show we are not hiding, second, we show our exponential rise as it happens and finally, we show off our new real time data capabilities.
6. We have the once in a lifetime opportunity to really help the U.S. economy and its businesses get back on their feet. If that’s not exciting…I don’t know what is!
Happy Monday. As James Brown said, “I feel good!”
postscript…if you need a little more encouragement:
Uber Eats agrees to make its food delivery free: https://www.uber.com/newsroom/food-not-finances/ (talk about some goodwill to both the restaurants and the drivers!)
This quote from 1941 shows that the human race has been here before: “In times of change and danger when there is quicksand of fear under men’s reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present and get us past that idiot delusion of the exceptional Now that blocks good thinking.” Jon Dos Pasos, The Ground We Stand On (good thinking is about what we need right now)
“Today I have grown a little taller from walking with the trees.” Karle Wilson Baker (nothing like some fresh air and some nature to bring down the blood pressure)
Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC