Volume 4
Summer, 1998

In this issue:  Innovative Management Media Asset Management New Directions Snapshots in Outsourcing Management Tactics Anderson's Hierarchy of Organizational  Communications


BEST PRACTICES "Anderson's Hierarchy of Organizational Communications"  J. Ronald Anderson, Assistant Vice President, Organizational Communications, USAA, San Antonio, TX

INNOVATIVE MANAGEMENT

There were enough great management ideas introduced during the 1998 ITVA Management Masters Seminar in New Orleans to fill a whole textbook, not to mention a lot of future newsletter copy. I hardly know where to begin.

Perhaps the best starting point is to express thanks to my partner, Ernie Bumatay of Summit Group Ltd., who co-chaired the event. Backing us up were our very knowledgeable resource presenters, Ron Anderson of USAA, Rob Hallam of The Home Depot, Dennis Majewski of the Gogolak Communications Group and Phil Stella of Effective Training and Communications. Every one in this great group had a lot of valuable information and ideas to share and put on four most impressive presentations.

A lot of credit for the success of this seminar also goes to the 23 media managers attending who freely shared their own ideas, successes and concerns.

We have been asked to repeat the seminar during the ITVA conference in Washington next June. The details are yet to be worked out but we do know there is a great unfilled need for media management development programs, which the Masters helps to meet. Ernie and I are now considering creating a series of seminars to expand the concept, making the program available to more managers around the country.

MEDIA ASSET MANAGEMENT

Thanks to old friend Lee Roselle, I had a unique opportunity to tour The World of Merrill Lynch, a private museum in New York's World Financial Center. Here is a case study in maximizing the value of your media assets. Lee, who pioneered Merrill Lynch's video operations more years ago than we care to remember, is now First VP and Director, Corporate Heritage Programs. The museum's time line includes print, graphics and video from 1885 to the present. Interactive touch screens covering the history of the firm (including every ML commercial ever produced) are interspersed with well preserved photos, marketing brochures, print ads and real time feeds from financial markets around the world.

The centerpiece is an absolutely gorgeous high definition videotape shot by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, which Lee produced. Similar museums are planned for London and Tokyo. The purpose is to introduce and reinforce the company Principles with employees and current and potential clients.

Two July tax court rulings could have implications for corporate media production. Both cases support IRS contentions that the cost of establishing new customers (homeowner mortgages) or creating new products (mutual funds) should be capitalized rather than expensed.

Could this infer that every sales or marketing program produced must be capitalized and carried as an asset? And, what are the implications for media asset management programs? On one hand, as capitalized assets media must be archived and managed. On the other hand, the production costs could be expensed if the media were destroyed immediately after each one-time use. More to come, we're sure.

NEW DIRECTIONS

Lower cost digital technology and increasing communications needs are driving the launch of a number of new BTV networks.

A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., a brokerage house based in St. Louis, has added a 3 MBPS video channel to their existing VSAT data network. Subdividable into two 1.5 MBPS channels, broadcasts can be addressed to any one or any combination of 610 branch offices. Cameron Sanders, Vice President & Manager, Audio & Video Communications, implemented several management best practices in the process of getting this project approved including creating a detailed business plan and forming strategic alliances with the training and systems organizations. Cameron actually recruited a Systems manager to pitch the proposal at key meetings. Because it piggybacks on the data network, video can be broadcast at any time with little advance notice. However, they plan to maintain their audio network as the primary vehicle for broker information, using video for marketing and training. A.G. Edwards will capitalize on the full time availability and addressability of the network to provide individualized home office investment consultation for high net worth clientele. Installation of their new studio is nearly complete with testing to begin shortly.

Williams Global Access is now in the process of installing a 500 site DBS network for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York. The primary function will be training.

Convergent Media Systems has installed a 55-site network for Goodyear Tire & Rubber. The network is expected to grow internationally over the next few years.

Rumor has it that Jim Brzycki has taken over the BTV network manager reins at First Union Corporation, Charlotte, NC (1,700 sites). Jim formerly held a similar position at Carson Pirie Scott in Milwaukee (57 sites).

SNAPSHOTS IN OUTSOURCING

Carabiner International has been on an acquisition binge ever since going public two years ago. One area of concentration for their expansion has been the a/v equipment rental business, which includes providing a/v services for hotels. Now they have announced a Corporate Services Division, targeting the a/v equipment pool management and meeting room support requirements for Fortune 500 companies.

This division, controlling 500 equipment pool inventory centers, is based in Atlanta. Carabiner also provides media production management outsourcing and has a division that develops corporate training programs. The recently acquired Spectrum Data integration business was yet another component of Carabiner's remarkable business strategy "to provide complete business communication services."


Some confusion of terms here? Apparently a trade group called the "Manufacturer's Alliance" uses the term "Insourcing" to identify the practice of transferring work done in house to an outside vendor that then performs the work in the buyer's facility. Sorry - that's still outsourcing by all standard definitions. Insourcing is the term used to identify work performed by company employees, whether they do it on premises or not.


There were no responses to our quest for ways to gracefully deal with increasing service demands in the face of decreasing resources. However, our Management Masters attendees had some excellent suggestions. They included forming committees of clients to set priorities, asking clients to estimate and rank the value of projects to the enterprise and, of course, creative cosourcing - all provide viable options. Just kicking the decisions upstairs to your boss is another one, though that could backfire if your boss might be led to think, "you just can't handle it."

MANAGEMENT TACTICS

Would you believe there now seems to be a growing shortage of qualified corporate media professionals, especially in first level management positions? Seems to me not too long ago advertising a job opening in the local paper or announcing it at an ITVA or CMMA meeting resulted in a flood of resumes. Not these days. Now it is very much a sellers' market. Some companies report having to pay headhunter fees to recruit multimedia developers and designers. Others are telling us they have gaping holes in their management succession plans.

What seems to have happened is that the recent downsizings forced a lot of corporate media people into the independent market. They liked it. Now they don't want to go back. There's also a whole new attitude about entrepreneurship these days, which makes "independent contractor" not only legitimate but also desirable.

Compounding the problem is the lack of employment agencies that specialize in placing media people. The ITVA, CMMA and IABC job banks don't seem to work very well either.

We think there's a great need for a specialist agency, preferably run by people who understand our business. Joe Maiella at Crewstar, Inc., Southborough, MA, has been doing some full-time placements and would be a good source to consider if you're looking for media professionals.


Rob Hallam, Director, Internal Communications, The Home Depot, emphasized his strategies of increasing the visibility of the media organization at the same time increasing credibility and adding value. During his presentation at the ITVA Management Masters, Rob told us how he meets enterprise objectives by seeking out needs within the company and partnering with stakeholders to develop solutions. We'll report more on Rob's success as a positive agent for change in future issues. If you want to see an example, take a look at the RIDGID brand promotion at your local Home Depot.

ANDERSON'S HIERARCHY OF ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

There was a tremendous amount of valuable information in Ron Anderson's ITVA Management Masters Seminar presentation on enchancing value. Ron is Assistant Vice President of Organizational Communications at USAA, a financial services company in San Antonio.

Just one of the innovative concepts he introduced was his Hierarchy of Organizational Communications, which he compared with Theodore Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs.

In Ron's hierarchy, the basic level of communications is Customer Service. This consists of being available to execute communications on a professional and responsive basis, but nothing more. It is equivalent to Maslow's basic physiological need for food and shelter. I would characterize it as "just doing your job."

The next level up Ron calls Media. That's providing an appropriate range of media resources where the work is well produced and receives high marks from the audience. It is a safe and secure way to meet customer needs, but little more. Very much like Maslow's Safety need.

Achieving the third level is more demanding. At the Tactics stage, media development becomes goal oriented. It involves defining the audience and the message and sets priorities for reaching communications objectives. Here is where communications becomes proactive. The level of the work must be scaled to the level of the need or problem.

The highest level, Strategies, is where communications becomes fully proactive. Communicators seek out problems and the root causes of problems. They partner with stakeholders to create solutions and, critically, measure results.

Ron emphasized the need for communications managers to know the costs of their businesses and focus on the company business. He also warned of the need to be ruthless in eliminating waste and redundancies.

Ron's strategies have helped make USAA a world class player in financial services.

 


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