What are you selling… now?
Are you updating your sales content and media?
Are you adding more value in what you are selling?
Are you adapting to new circumstances, creating new opportunities?
Are you evaluating these questions from the outside-in, from the point of view of those you would serve?
Or has success made you complacent? Are you thinking from the inside-out, inclined to serve yourself?
Have You Heard of Arthur Godfrey?
Unless you’re a senior citizen or a devotee of American culture and communication, the odds are that you’ve not heard of Arthur Godfrey.
There was a time when everyone had not only heard of Arthur Godfrey, millions of Americans actually heard and lived with him, at work and play, every day.
As his onetime writer Andy Rooney said, no one person has so dominated the American scene as Arthur Godfrey in the 1950s. He was a master of radio, as well as the rising medium of television.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Godfrey recast how Americans listen to radio. In the 1930s he had the insight that radio could be a uniquely intimate medium. This was a major change. Before Godfrey rose to national prominence, the customary approach of radio announcers and hosts was to emulate the formal, set speeches presented in a theatrical manner in the early 20th century.
Godfrey changed all that. His dulcet tones were melodic. He communicated in universal terms. He pulled you in. Audiences felt as though he knew them well… .which, in a sense, he did.
To watch and listen to Godfrey is to encounter unmistakable rays of influence, from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, from Dick Cavett to Rush Limbaugh. Whether they know it or not, effective 21st century communicators are following in the path blazed by Arthur Godfrey.
Godfrey’s Melancholy Second Act
Godfrey’s great insight ushered in great change. Then, perhaps understandably, Godfrey didn’t continue to adapt as he, and the world,, entered the turbulent 1960s. By the latter part of the decade, he was conspicuously out-of-date, out-of-step with the times. Yesterday’s innovator was today’s incumbent. For an older person such as Godfrey, the new circumstances may have made themselves felt suddenly. For young people, whose sense of time is so different, he represented a distant past they never knew.
As reflected in the CBS Radio print advertisement above, Godfrey belatedly scrambled to reinvent himself. By 1967, the year of the “summer of love,” a new haircut and a change of clothes were not enough.
Ultimately, Godfrey was unable to regain his stride. His final CBS Radio program, in 1972, exemplified the challenge. On the one hand, Godfrey was a step ahead of his audience, focusing on the rising issue of the environment. More conspicuously though, he was more than a few steps behind, playing music from the big band era during breaks.
Godfrey had lost touch with those he was serving. His career went into eclipse. Now, he is almost altogether forgotten.
What About You?
How are you updating your own sales and value propositions?
Are you simply repeating what’s worked for you in the past? Have you ceased taking risks on new ideas?
Are you speaking to rising generations? Can you comprehend their point of view?
Are you evolving along with older generations?
Are you using your successes and experiences to better serve more people at ever deeper levels?
Or are you trying to play it safe? Do you assume that if you keep doing what worked for you in the past, others will find value and reward you as they did in the past?
In the 21st century, being in the middle of pack is no longer an option. Anyone will be isolated, flushed out. Mediocrity is lethal.
Security, such as it is, can only be found in a mindset of continuous evolution and excellence. Service is the guiding light.
Who Are You Serving?
Arthur Godfrey | What Are You Selling… Now?