CNN troubles and news outlets

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

10 April 2014

The issues aren’t just limited to CNN troubles

You have to read this story titled, “The worst men’s grooming trends of all time.” It was on my web portal under “Top News Stories” by CNN. The trouble is that this is not a story, not important, and written in a manner that simply tells the truth about CNN — it is entertainment and not news.

This waste-of-time story was written by Matthew Bell of Esquire and I don’t think it would even have passed muster in that magazine. I found the whole thing idiotic, a bit crude (like using colorful terms for testicles) and simply something that CNN should never have published.

“I don’t understand how a brand can be so lost— so clueless as to its brand, brand importance, brand messaging and brand permission as CNN.”

I blogged quite extensively and was quoted in the New York times a while ago on how out of touch CNN was when it passed off Larry King as anything but drivel. Nothing has changed. The CNN brand is still about nothing.

The network should care. CNN can’t and shouldn’t be competing with all the tabloid entertainment brands that are everywhere. Those tabloids reach a different demographic and does trash talking a lot better than CNN does.

CNN troublesI don’t understand how a brand can be so lost— so clueless as to its brand, brand importance, brand messaging and brand permission as CNN. I am dumbfounded by its lack of direction.

Do I really want to turn to a news source to find out about a Russian incursion into Ukraine but find that those same people made up a news story about razor clam shells that promote hair growth and radium applied to testicles to stimulate virility?

The first rule of a great brand is in knowing who you are for. That also means knowing who you are not for and avoiding any connection with those that do not covet your brand.

You would think that for a news outlet, the lessons from Look and Life Magazine would not have been lost. As the market moved towards more efficient economies (and the market ALWAYS moves in this direction), generalist magazines like Life and Look could not compete. They were everything to everybody.

Recent data suggests that even the advocates of FOX News know that it is spin and not news. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to demonstrate greater fairness and focus, CNN continues to amble along and dilute its equity. That’s part of the CNN troubles.

Stop this garbage, CNN. You need to stand for something and your brand needs to be focused if you are going to survive and be profitable.

(For your reference, here’s what I said to the New York Times. And here’s where you can see that I’m telling the truth about CNN’s “top news.”)

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