Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two anecdotes on how (and how not) to run a business

I'm going to be discussing both of these businesses in future posts but since my queue is pretty full at the moment I thought I'd get these two examples out while they were still current.

The first involves Weigel Broadcasting, probably the best run business you've never heard of. As with sports and politics, there's an aesthetic pleasure to watching business done well and under that criteria, Weigel is in Joe Montana territory.

Take the response to the death of Andy Griffith on their MeTV network. The network ran a slate of shows featuring Griffith including the Make Room for Daddy back door pilot. Nothing particularly surprising there. I'm sure they plan these in advance and have already laid out the shows they'll air when other notables like Dick Van Dyke or Mary Tyler Moore pass away.

What was notable was the timing. The tribute aired on the Fourth of July. It was an inspired choice -- no living performer was more associated with Americana than Griffith -- but what makes it notable was the fact that Andy Griffith died on July the third.

Let's run through the timeline:

1. Decide on the Fourth

2. Reschedule the day's shows

3. Record the promos

4. Put the promos into heavy rotation

5. Issue press releases.

I've seen simpler corporate processes stretch on for months. At Weigel, this took six hours on the outside. If we had better business journalists, you'd be hearing more about Weigel.

Now for something completely different...

I was checking Hulu last night when I noticed an item about the Dark Knight. I immediately assumed it was something about the shootings (keep in mind, the time you see at the bottom of the screen is West Coast time) but instead it was a jokey piece on fake spoilers. It was still there when I went to bed.

When you get a big, tragic story like this, smart nimble businesses immediately ask themselves if there's a negative PR aspect that they need look out for and if possible, avoid. This is particularly true for websites because

1. it's easy to make changes

2. screen captures are forever.

I suspect that someone at Hulu saw this and thought "we really ought to pull that" but the company wasn't set up for that kind of rapid response. This is also consistent with other things we've seen from Hulu, but that's a topic for other posts.

(also posted at MippyvilleTV)

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