Creative Leadership

Forget Your Ability If You Can’t Get Visibility

In today’s hyper-competitive, distracted culture, it’s time we realized that it’s not the customer’s job to find you, donate to your cause, or buy your product, it’s your job to find them. I was in a meeting with a business group the other day and one of the board members vented in frustration: “We’ve been producing an incredible product for decades! Why aren’t people buying it?” I told him that’s analog thinking from yesterday.

In the old days 90% of the battle was building a great product, because there wasn’t as much competition. But in today’s digital age, there are simply unlimited choices for everything, which means customers, donors, and audiences are overwhelmed. That’s why it’s our job to help connect our product to them.

In today’s media driven culture, visibility is just as important as ability.

I don’t care how great your church service, nonprofit work, or business, it simply doesn’t matter if you can’t get on the culture’s radar.  It’s one of the reasons I spend nearly as much time coming up with a book title, as I do writing the book itself. There’s just so much competition in a Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com, I need something that will reach off the shelf and capture their attention.

For many from the last generation of celebrities, movie stars, writers, and musicians, publicity was actually beneath them. You rarely saw novelists like John Cheever pitching his books, or Marlon Brando doing a press tour (remember when he had a Native American woman in full Indian dress pick up his Academy Award? It was beneath him even to show up at the Oscar ceremony.)

But today it’s very different. The biggest stars are doing press junkets, top writers are working the media, and even CEO’s are getting into the act.

It’s not the world I’d like, but it’s the world that exists.  So know this (And this is good for job hunters to think about as well):
It’s not anyone’s job to find you, your product, or your organization. It’s your job to find them. Visibility is now just as important as ability.

Never forget it.

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3 Comments

  1. And on an individual level I know a lot of times people want to have the success and notoriety overnight. Almost nothing happens overnight. It’s years of doing the little things that grants us the opportunities we get to speak to a larger audience. So yes be visible, but continue doing the little things to see results in the long run!

  2. Great post!!
    As a Christian producer I usually find myself working hard in the content and in the production schedule, and not spending the same quality time developing several marketing strategies.
    Sometimes it seems so easy to forget that Jesus asked us to be light of the world.

    “A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

    How is possible to preach the gospel if you don’t connect with anybody?

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