At CNBC, the medium is the message

August 18, 2014
TV interview

Will an appearance on CNBC, FOX Business, or other business TV networks spike a stock price or drive demand for a product? Probably not. But if leveraged properly, it can be worth its weight in gold.

Last year, we secured scores and scores of appearances on CNBC, Fox Business, and Bloomberg TV for our clients. Still, such a rush to coverage always raises the specter of, “What is all this worth? How valuable is someone’s five minutes of fame among the non-stop talking heads and barrage of market opinion and analysis by an endless stream of commentators?”

Well, it turns out, it’s worth a great deal. Maybe not in the fleetingness of the appearance – which can easily get lost in the 24-hour news cycle -but rather the real value comes from how an appearance or series of appearances can push forward a narrative, build credibility, and differentiate a product, service, or investment opportunity from a crowded field of competitors. Here’s how:

Advancing the narrative. Storytelling is among the most powerful means of human communications. Stories hang in human memory. They trump fact and features. They seed meaning and affect decision-making. And they can impose discipline on an organization. Effective three minute storytelling is a learned art, often mastered in the pressure cooker of media training leading up to a TV appearance. It’s here where many clients crystallize their thoughts and distill the essence of their message. That exercise alone is valuable, but then distributing it on national TV amplifies it, not just for viewers, but also for employees, partners, and shareholders who can view it over time, thanks to the miracle of Internet.

Enhancing credibility. Years ago, we did an unscientific study and showed two sets of 100 people the same image of a professional in a suit and tie looking directly into a camera. The first image had no TV graphics applied to it. The second had a news organization’s logo accompanying it, along with a name and title. We found that when the exact same professional appeared to be on TV, audiences believed him to have two additional years of education and earn $250,000 more in salary.

Creating separation and differentiation. It’s a crowded world out there and customers, clients, and investors have an unending supply of places to spend money. More and more in this world of unsubstantiated social media, those who win trust are those you know. And in today’s world, familiarity is bred by the media. If the person, product, or investment is seen on TV, it’s got to be legitimate, right? We can argue all day whether familiarity breeds a better product. But there is no denying that the best way to create perceived value, separation, and differentiation is to get known, and nothing does that more powerfully than broadcast media exposure.

So what’s it worth? All those appearances on business TV? As a panacea, a path that will lead millions to your door, probably nothing. But when it comes to storytelling, credibility and separation, national exposure on CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg, or any other outlet, there’s no better business proposition for building the viability for a product, service, business, or investment.

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