Volume 4 — Summer,
Management — Media
Asset Management — New Directions
— Snapshots in Outsourcing — Management
Tactics — Anderson's Hierarchy of Organizational
PRACTICES — "Anderson's
Hierarchy of Organizational Communications"
J. Ronald Anderson, Assistant
Vice President, Organizational
Communications, USAA, San
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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).
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."
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
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.
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
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.