Kel Kelly

Hey, thanks for swinging by my blog.

Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to [email protected].

Peace out.

Archive for February, 2008

Brand: Messaging vs. Delivering

Feb. 20th 2008

By now you all know I am a CNN junkie. As I stated in a recent Publicity Club interview, I believe CNN is the best example of traditional media embracing and leveraging Web 2.0. From the YouTube partnership to blogs to citizen’s journalism to podcasts, CNN is light years ahead of its peers. The CNN/YouTube presidential debate was a great example. CNN put aside its traditional roots and fully embraced the essence of YouTube and user-generated content. When CNN allows a snowman to ask a presidential candidate a question about global warming, Web 2.0 has flexed its muscle and traditional media has stepped aside and bowed. 

In spite of this love affair, I am irked by one line that CNN delivers over and over and over on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper 360°. The line is actually negatively impacting my ability to hear anything else because it is such a fundamental mistake being made by a bleeding-edge media outlet. “The best political team on television” is repeated so often during the programs that I find myself counting how many times it is being said versus listening to what “the best political team” is actually saying. It’s said dozens of times on any given night. The line is so forced that at times you can see Anderson Cooper squirm when he recites it. 

Positioning 101 tells us there are certain things you shouldn’t message about your brand – Best People, Best Service, Best Technology, blah, blah, blah. Instead these messages should be delivered through the brand experience. The fact of the matter is The Situation Room probably does have “the best political team on television” but they shouldn’t be telling us this, they should deliver it through the program and let the viewers draw that conclusion on their own.  

Imagine if a presidential candidate incessantly repeated the line – “The best presidential candidate in the race” over and over and over every single time he or she spoke, multiple times an hour. The media would rip him or her to shreds. Instead the candidates are speaking to the issues – well sometimes – in hopes that the voters will come to that conclusion on their own. It’s like showing up on a date and telling someone – “I’m really smart, exceptionally good looking and very funny.” My guess is the majority of the people on the planet wouldn’t do this in a million years. However, they would probably hope the person they had the date with felt this after an evening together. 

What shameless self-hype has gotten under your skin?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Media’s Boiled Frog Effect

Feb. 15th 2008

I was watching The Today Show this morning as I raced around getting ready for work and was struck by what I saw…or should I say didn’t see. Yesterday, a gunman walked into a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and shot 21 people, killing six, and then shot and killed himself.  It was an absolutely horrific event, but that’s not what stopped me in my tracks. The interesting thing is that it wasn’t the lead story in the first half hour of The Today Show. The producers chose to lead with a story about Hillary Clinton and whether she could realistically and statistically catch up from a delegate count perspective. The other thing that is very surprising to me was that neither Matt Lauer nor Meredith Vieira was reporting live from the school.

On April 16th of last year when a lone gunman killed 32 people and wounded many more at Virginia Tech, the news media swarmed the campus and reported live onsite for weeks. A Today Show host was reporting from the scene the day after the shooting. At the time, I remember thinking about the logistics of getting them there on such short notice. The shooting was the lead story for days, if not weeks, on The Today Show and consumed the prominent first half hour of the show. Interviews with students, administrators, law enforcement, first responders, parents and many others provided a human element that helped add a personal dimension to the coverage of the tragedy as well as gave a voice to the grieving community.

Why did the Northern Illinois University shooting not get the same level of media attention as Virginia Tech? Was it because only six people were killed as opposed to 32? I certainly hope not. After thinking about it for a few moments I attributed it to the “Boiled Frog” theory. What? Well, if you want to boil a frog – don’t ask why, just humor me for a second – and you drop it into a pot of boiling water, the frog will jump out. The change is too much, too fast. However, if you put the frog in a cold pot of water and slowly turn the heat up over a longer period of time, the frog will not notice the change and you will be able to boil it. I think viewers and the media alike have become boiled frogs. When we turn on the evening news, we see stories about wars, decapitations, gang rapes, molestations, suicides, kidnappings, armed robberies and a whole host of other unimaginable crimes. However, with rare exception do we stop in our tracks, mouths agape, unable to move because we are frozen by the horror of it all. Instead, we cook dinner, answer the phone, feed the dogs, type emails, and go about our daily routine in spite of these violent stories being reported right before our eyes. How can that be? It’s because the news stories have become progressively worse over a very long period of time and like the frog, the change was so incrementally small and slow over a long period of time that we just adjusted to the news without even noticing.   

I always say that if you woke my grandfather up from the dead and put him in front of the news today he would be completely paralyzed by the stories. He died in the seventies and although the world wasn’t a perfect place at that time, the frequency and degree of violent crimes were few and far between compared to today. Taking him from the news he was used to in the seventies to today’s news stories would be too much too quickly and he would not be able to handle it all.

The Virginia Tech massacre ignited shock in us all but to some degree dulled our reaction to similar crimes in the future. Don’t misunderstand my point. I feel tremendous anguish for the people’s who’s lives were affected by the shooting. At the same time, I didn’t have the same level of shock this time as I did when I heard the Virginia Tech story. Unfortunately, ten years from now, these types of school shooting probably won’t even make the national evening news because they will have become more common and less “newsworthy.” 

How did the media coverage of the Northern Illinois University shootings make you feel?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »