The Change Revolution
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Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke is changing the way business, church, and non-profit leaders influence and engage the culture. A writer, speaker, & filmmaker, Christianity Today magazine calls him a "media guru." His media company, Cooke Pictures, advises many of the largest and most effective churches & non-profit organizations in the world, and his books and online blog at are changing the way they tell their story.  His newest book “One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do” is set to release in July of 2012 from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Posted 9/18/14 at 10:22 PM | Phil Cooke

The Secret to Stopping Unwanted Speculation and Rumor

Photo: Flickr/thecrazyfilmgirl - Creative Commons

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

Is it Time to Say No to the Cult of Productivity?

Photo: Flickr/Courtney Dirks - Creative Commons

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

The Sweet Spot of Sharing the Christian Message

Photo: Flickr/Eran Sandler - Creative Commons

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

Research Confirms Broadcast TV Still Matters

Man watches TV.
Photo: Flickr/Al Ibrahim - Creative Commons

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

The End of Brands? Abercrombie & Fitch to Drop Logo From Clothing

Photo: Flickr/Prayitno - Creative Commons

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

Posted 9/9/14 at 12:17 PM | Phil Cooke

The King's Speech and How to Turn Negatives Into Positives

A recent BBC radio documentary called “Delivering the King’s Speech” told the real story behind the feature film “The King’s Speech” – the broadcast by King George VI about the declaration of war on Germany in 1939. If you saw the Hollywood movie starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, you know that King George was thrust into the spotlight after his brother abdicated the throne. The only problem was that George had a lifelong speech impediment and was horrified of public speaking.

Through extensive training from Lionel Logue (played by Rush), King George was able to overcome his impediment enough to give a moving radio speech to the English people. What stood out for me in the documentary was the fact that scholars today believe that the King’s speech impediment actually turned out to be a positive instead of a negative. FULL POST

Posted 9/8/14 at 9:23 AM | Phil Cooke

The Problem With Chronically Late Leaders

hand holds watch
Photo: Pixabay/steinchen - Public Domain

From time to time everyone is late. We live in a world of distractions, and everything from traffic, last minute phone calls, to all kinds of emergencies make us late from time to time. The key phrase here is “from time to time.” But what happens when leaders (particularly pastors) are chronically late? Let me tell you something I hear from office, team, and church staff members all the time:

Our CEO never shows up on time for meetings, so the entire staff just sits for up to an hour waiting.
The worship service often starts late because the pastor isn’t available or we can’t find him.
The boss’s secretary has to regularly cancel appointments because he can’t be there as scheduled.
We’ve stopped scheduling anything to do with the Pastor because we never know if he’ll show up.
The pastor keeps the media department waiting to shoot video segments.
We never know how to plan Sunday services because we don’t get any information from the pastor until it’s too late. FULL POST

Posted 9/3/14 at 9:48 AM | Phil Cooke

Creativity Is About Connections

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

From time to time I write about creativity, and invariably it creates an energetic discussion. Are we born creative? Is it learned? Is it a gene? Maria Popova of Brain Pickings (one of my favorite sites) recently revealed in an interview what I think is a wonderful definition of creativity – both practical creativity and moral creativity. Take a look and let me know what you think:

The ability to connect the seemingly unconnected and meld existing knowledge into new insight about some element of how the world works. That’s practical creativity. Then there’s moral creativity: To apply that skill towards some kind of wisdom on how the world ought to work.
- Maria Popova

Essentially for Popova, creativity isn’t just coming up with new insights, it’s also the ability to make connections.  And this is something most of us need to hear: You may not be a Michelangelo, Steve Jobs, or Ernest Hemingway. You may not have unique insight that no one else has ever considered. But if you have the ability to “connect the dots” – to make unusual associations from existing information that reveals new ideas and insights – then you are absolutely creative. FULL POST

Posted 9/2/14 at 10:27 AM | Phil Cooke

How to Turn the Tables on Your Critics

If you’re a leader in politics, ministry, business, or in the media here’s something important you need to know: In today’s digital culture, you can’t hide anymore. In the old days, politicians could hide a mistress, TV evangelists could hide their jets or mansions, and anyone could hide a DUI conviction, an old arrest, and more. But today, the river of information that flows into Google is just too vast. That’s why I strongly recommend that if you’re in the public eye, you need to get mistakes and criticisms out there from the start.

For instance, in the last presidential election, if there was any truth to the media’s adultery allegations, I believe candidate Herman Cain could have overcome them had he been the first to bring it up. Once you “expose” yourself, you take away the ammo from attackers.

I recommend the same with criticism and Texas governor Rick Perry is doing this very well. After his indictment based on the allegations that he abused power with a veto last summer, he’s turning that situation in his favor. He’s created t-shirts with his mug shot as well as the democratic district attorney who was convicted of drunken driving – and he’s using it for fundraising. FULL POST

Posted 8/28/14 at 9:56 AM | Phil Cooke

Mastering Media is Knowing What Each Platform Does Best

Too many people use media randomly, with no real strategic vision. Perhaps a friend recommended local TV, or a board member suggested billboards, or a church youth director likes social media. All these platforms and others are important, but they question is: Why? While I could write many books on the subject, here’s a short list of what differentiates some of the major media platforms:

Newspaper Advertising:
• An affective way to reach 50+ adults since they are the primary readers of newspapers.
• Newspapers are by definition a local media tool and can provide opportunities to create “newsworthiness”.
• Newspapers are good for more in-depth stories.

• Research indicates the typical household watches over 7+ hours of TV daily. (Some research says 8 hours per day).
• TV still delivers the largest audiences for specific programming.
• Blockbuster movies get more publicity, but the truth is, a popular TV series reaches far more people.
• The growing number of special interest TV channels provides opportunities to target specific audiences and leverage their interests. FULL POST

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