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Disrupting the message

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In the 1960s Marshall McLuhan got famous for coining the phrase “the medium is the message”.

 

He meant the media of choice – say television – was more important, a greater part of what we are receiving, than whatever news it was conveying.

 

I think, with a twist, that increasingly applies to company results and the commentary that springs from them.

 

This piece on inc.com is partly about Apple’s latest results. But it is mostly about how those results were presented, and how CEO Tim Cook controlled the narrative.

 

The presentation of how Apple is doing is the story, rather than how Apple is actually doing.

 

The writer tells us that Cook uses five simple words to take charge of a conversation, almost no matter what the question.

 

They are: “The way I see it…”

 

So, Cook pivots away from the reporter’s questions – about slowing iPhone sales, say – towards whatever he was going to say anyway.

 

TB might make a similar observation about a CEO, but we’d be cross. We’d say he isn’t answering the question.

 

The inc reporter praises Cook for his approach, advocates it as a way to get your message over.

 

I see this sort of stuff in business commentary more and more. The comment is not about what happened, it is about what the guy said happened and how he said it. The criticism only comes if the message deviates.

 

Which is a reminder of just how influential you all are. I think hacks should fight a bit harder to disrupt the message and the message givers.

A plug here for a Media Masters podcast with Archant CEO Lorna Willis, who claims to have a “relentless passion” to save local news journalism.

 

She’ll need it.

 

Archant has a consultancy business alongside the newspapers, we learn, something I didn’t know.

 

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