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Posted 9/29/14 at 3:18 PM | Phil Cooke
My friend Seth Godin wasn’t writing this for pastors, but when I read it, I realized pastors were exactly the right audience for this piece. Read it through and let me know if you agree. And perhaps more important – if you’ve ever experienced one or more of these types of folks in your church or ministry:
“The pedant (that’s what we call someone who is pedantic, a picker of nits, eager to find the little thing that’s wrong or out of place) is afraid. He’s afraid and he’s projecting his fear on you, the person who did something, who shipped something, who stood up and said, “here, I made this.”
Without a doubt, when the Beatles played Shea Stadium, Paul was a little out of tune. Without a doubt, the Gettysburg Address had one or two word choice issues. Without a doubt, that restaurant down the street isn’t perfect.
That’s okay. They made something.
Sure, make it better, by all means put in the time to bring us your best work. But no, of course not, no, the pedant is not our audience, nor is he making as much of a difference as he would like to believe.” FULL POST
Posted 9/25/14 at 10:03 AM | Phil Cooke
Mary Hutchinson, direct response maven from “Inspired Direct” outside Boston sent me this most excellent post that you should forward to anyone considering going on TV or starting a non-profit or religious media ministry:
Five Things You Need to Get a Response on TV
Non-profits, religious organizations, and infomercial producers are still expanding their scope to the airwaves. And why shouldn’t they? We live in a media-savvy culture, one that spends, on average, more than 20 hours a week in front of the television. Competition for our attention – like the Internet – certainly exists, but no other medium has the ubiquitous reach that television does. It’s still the one we turn to most often for news, weather, products, entertainment . . . and, for some, God.
My experience with television response brings to the forefront five fundamental functions every successful one has to have in place before airing its first program. Whether you’re a small church hoping to broadcast your Sunday service each week on a local TV channel, selling products, or raising money for a cause these aspects of response TV are must-haves and will lay the foundation for connecting with an audience. FULL POST
Posted 9/24/14 at 9:57 AM | Phil Cooke
I’ve spent years studying the impact of today’s distracted culture, but I wasn’t quite ready for the results of a new study by Science Magazine. Last month the magazine revealed just how difficult and unpleasant people think it is to sit alone with nothing to do but think. The magazine states: “In the study, participants were asked to rate the pleasantness of a number of stimuli, including an electric shock, and asked how much they’d pay (up to $5) to experience (or not) each stimulus. They were then asked to sit alone with their thoughts, but told that they could shock themselves if they wanted. Among those who thought the shocks were particularly unpleasant and would pay to avoid them, 67% of men and 25% of women nonetheless shocked themselves instead of sitting alone with their thoughts.
“Without such training,” the researchers reflected, “people prefer doing to thinking, even if what they are doing is so unpleasant that they would normally pay to avoid it. The untutored mind does not like to be alone with itself.” FULL POST
Posted 9/23/14 at 9:58 AM | Phil Cooke
This past week I had two interesting experiences. First – it was the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Clayton Moore – who played “The Lone Ranger” on television. The series originally aired on ABC from 1949-1957, and was the highest-rated television program on the network in the early 1950s and its first true “hit”. As a kid, I watched it as re-runs, and it was one of my favorite shows. As you may remember, The Lone Ranger lived by a code, and as a kid, I knew the code by heart. Last week, during the news reports of the anniversary, his daughter, Dawn Moore said something remarkable: FULL POST
Posted 9/22/14 at 9:41 AM | Phil Cooke
For the last number of years, The National Day of Prayer Task Force has met annually with all of their volunteer prayer leaders from across the country, in a different city every year, in order to get a perspective on how to pray for the different areas of need in our nation. Last year they went to Washington DC for the first time, but they’ve been to quite a few other cities. For this year, they decided to hold it in Hollywood. Called “The Summons,” it will focus on influencing the center of culture rather than the center of government. It’s a great idea, and as a Board Member of the Hollywood Prayer Network (a partner in the event), I’m looking forward to attending. However, this year, we noticed something unusual. Once the decision was made to move it to Hollywood, the registrations dropped significantly. We investigated, and here’s an idea of the many responses we’ve received from people who have attended in the past: FULL POST
Posted 9/18/14 at 10:22 PM | Phil Cooke
Whenever a crisis happens at an organization, rumors begin. We shouldn’t be surprised because human beings are wired for curiosity. We want to know what happened, what’s going on, and what’s next. Channeled in the right direction, curiosity creates inventions, cures disease, and births great art. But channeled in the wrong direction, curiosity can destroy reputations, throw organizations into chaos, and undermine the common good. But there’s one way to stop unwanted speculation and rumor in it’s tracks:
Transparency. When a crisis happens, curiosity follows. People are going to wonder. Even the most loyal to the cause ask questions. When those questions surface, some in leadership ignore it, while others criticize those asking the questions. But that only causes the problem to fester and grow out of control. FULL POST
Posted 9/16/14 at 10:04 AM | Phil Cooke
I was drafted into the productivity cult a long time ago. I have 3 different To-Do List apps on my computer, iPhone and iPad. I have about 6 different calendar apps. I’ve experimented with roughly 20 different online productivity suites for our Cooke Pictures team. I’ve read David Allen’s books (the holy scriptures of the productivity movement) and plenty of others. And the truth is, there’s something to be said for being organized. While I’m not a fanatic, I do believe that if you’re spending all your time searching for documents, clippings, books, files, or other materials, that simply takes away from creative time. FULL POST
Posted 9/15/14 at 7:40 AM | Phil Cooke
We’re seeing a lot of criticism recently of pastors, writers, speakers, filmmakers as well as others about how they share the Christian message with the outside culture. Some are criticized for making it too easy – they lead with the “grace” message, and are hesitant to talk about tough issues like sin, hell, or punishment. On the other side, those who preach a more serious message about tough subjects are labelled as “out of date,” “insensitive” and “hard core.” I know the debate well because over the years, I’ve had friends and clients on both sides of the argument. But here’s the problem: It’s the wrong argument, and here’s why:
Today we live in the most distracted culture in the history of the world. There’s more competition for people’s time and attention than ever. Which means that if you have an important message, your FIRST priority is to get that message heard. I’ve said many times on this blog that no matter how great your message, if no one’s listening, you’ve failed. Getting a person to walk in the door of a church, turn on a radio or TV program, buy a book, or find you online is absolutely critical. Without that, there’s no impact, and no transformation. FULL POST
Posted 9/11/14 at 1:57 PM | Phil Cooke
New research in June by GfK Media indicates the number of Americans now relying on over-the-air broadcast television reception has actually increased to almost 54 million, up from 46 million just a year ago. This is a pretty significant piece of data. In one year, the number of homes getting their TV signals solely over-the-air without cable or satellite has gone up almost 20%. Not a big surprise, the survey found the demographics of broadcast-only households skew towards younger adults, minorities and lower-income families.
“As we’ve seen for the past few years, over-the-air households continue to make up a sizable portion of the television viewing landscape,” said David Tice, Senior Vice President, GfK Media. “Our research reveals that over-the-air broadcasting remains an important distribution platform of TV programming, and that in the past year the estimated number of broadcast-only TV households in the U.S. has grown significantly over what we’ve seen at least back to 2008.” FULL POST
Posted 9/10/14 at 9:47 AM | Phil Cooke
Preppie clothing store chain Abercrombie & Fitch, with 843 stores in the United States and 163 stores in the rest of the world, is making a dramatic change based on customer response. In a move that took me by surprise, they’ve announced they will eliminate identifying branding logo marks on their Spring 2015 clothing collection.
Much of the reason seems to be this generation of younger customers. Unlike teens and twenty-somethings of the last few decades, young people today are trying to be more unique. Rather than blindly sporting logos from Ralph Lauren, A&F, Hilfiger, Hollister, and others they’re mixing and matching their own looks and creating customized combinations – without designer logos. FULL POST