The new normal is that there’s no normal.
The coal miners of Pennsylvania worry.
Their industry, jobs, and the very lifestyle of the “working class-man” is, as stated in this CBS news story on the 2016 election, “on the verge of extinction.”
The coal miners in this interview want to protect the status-quo. They plan to vote for someone who will support the coal industry and keep those jobs viable for their sons. They fear any political direction that would support “alternative energy” and cost them their livelihoods.
Curiously, at the end of the interview, they say the main reason they want to vote for this platform is “change”.
Paper Money and Print News
Newspapers continue to struggle, facing obsoletion in the digital era.
This NY Times report details the tough future for print media as digital and mobile interfaces take over. The news needs to find a way to turn a profit, but like music, faces the problem of digital duplication. It’s hard to sell easily shared digital media.
Like the dusty coal-mine, the newsroom of serious reporters – putting reality into focus for public consumption – is on the verge of extinction.
“More and more publishers are coming to the recognition that there’s a new normal,” said Alan D. Mutter, who teaches media economics at the University of California, Berkeley. “And the new normal is not nearly as nice as the old normal was.”
The NFL On Hold
Few Americans, from the rural quite of coal-mining country to the buzz of the city newsroom, believe that football would ever lose popularity.
But according to the Washington Post, the NFL has a ratings problem. People are tuning out of NFL broadcasts.
The article reviews three problems. First is bad PR. Brain trauma and violent off-field behavior (usually domestic violence) have tarnished the image of the NFL warrior. Stories from the befuddled, mental ill Mike Webster to Adrian Peterson beating his own kid make people wonder if their admiration for the “controlled violence” of football is misplaced.
Second is low drama in games. Penalty flags for endless holding calls or expressive celebration dull the pace of the game. The NFL is becoming “over-managed and over-staged”, with “increasingly petty attention to discipline and uniformity, which is sucking away dynamism and rendering it joyless.”
The NFL has been culturally important for almost a century. But today the league looking too concerned with brand control to stay entertaining.
Football historian Michael Oriard asks:
“We’ve gone through 100 years of knowing football is violent, and the consequences of violence were always deemed to be acceptable, the benefits outweighed the cost. But that ended with Mike Webster’s brain. Are we watching with a greater sense of the danger? Can we still fully give ourselves over to the experience of watching, and of saying, ‘Wow, look at what these bodies can endure, what they do to each other’? Are we seeing a temporary blip in ratings or a kind of resetting of the NFL’s cultural power?”
Internet Marketing and the Cycle of Change
Coal miners need to face certain facts. No political force is going to hold the status-quo and save their jobs. To secure their current jobs, they sacrifice preparations for a future where those jobs can’t exist.
Journalists look to other disciplines to write, and other platforms to report news. Nobody is going to buy a print newspaper in the age of mobile internet.
The NFL faces a dispersed audience with more options. Today Red Bull isn’t just an advertising customer, they’re a sports media competitor. And their stuff is way more exciting than watching a ref call holding.
Business marketing faces the same challenges. We live in a remarkable time for innovation and entrepreneurship, but you can’t simply build off of what’s worked in the past. Ask:
- Are you too busy doing your job to notice that your job might soon be redundant?
- Do you dismiss changes as trivial? (Snapchat, ah, that’s for kids.)
- Do you get nervous and create useless activity to distract from acknowledging changes (Let’s do a report on this…Jane, can you get on that?)
- Are you making a poor copy of an established innovation?
- Are you stuck in admiration of someone who’s clearly beating you?
- Do think an innovation is just a special case that won’t effect your core business?
- Are you up all night, seized by fear, realizing that it’s too late? (It’s over, this is a catastrophe!)
There is no way to compete in the digital age unless you keep beta testing, continually learn, and accept the risks of change.
The market doesn’t care how past generations made a living. It doesn’t care about past technology. It doesn’t care what was popular. In a sense, everything teeters on the verge of extinction. When the new normal is no normal, there is always a problem to solve. That’s what opportunity looks like.
Today there’s one certainty: the most profitable innovation you can invest in is yourself.