We Offer a Consultancy to Help Media Managers Realize More Profitability From Their Business
The all-important word in our title is “solutions”. Our expertise is particularly within the media and information sector. We fill four particular niches:
1. Expanding Your Business: We help media clients establish new businesses or expand into those areas they have little experience. For instance, we developed a turnkey plan for a national European news agency to develop English language services, and we helped a European-based international news pictures agency develop its own coverage from outside Europe, co-writing the business plan covering the first three years of operation.
2. Your Correspondent: Journalistically, we can be YOUR local correspondent for YOUR news/pictures coverage needs from Switzerland. A local politician or personality visiting? Special coverage from the UN headquarters in Geneva? A sports star competing? Need local angles from those international sporting bodies headquartered in Switzerland -- IOC, FIFA, UEFA etc.? And we can make arrangements for similar coverage from other European countries. News and pictures are sent directly via the Internet to your newsroom. We also produce a regular newspaper/web column on how an American sees America from this side of the pond-- far enough away to see not just the forest but the individual trees, too. Click here for samples.
3. Research: We provide reports/research about European media based on specific mandates provided by our clients, with a particular expertise in European broadcasting. Much of our information comes from our own original research requested by international media organizations, but we also produce regular reports based on the findings of major international and national organizations that produce very detailed research about the media world but which seldom gains public notice.
4. What is News?: Training non-news personnel about the news business. You'd be surprised how many accountants, secretaries, computer technicians etc., work for news organizations and yet know very little about news. Test it yourself -- ask your non-journalists, "What is News?" (Hopefully YOU know the answer!). The esprit de corps (team spirit) throughout the entire organization improves greatly when everyone understands how important a role thecompany they work for plays within their global society.
But that’s not all we do. Other services include:
Ø project management consultancy: In journalism it is often said a story should be edited by two separate pairs of eyes. The same holds true on the business side. If there is an important project you are working on it is often very beneficial that senior executives for a short period of time bring in an outside expert with “new eyes” to overview operating procedures, spot the problems, recommend solutions, and even help implement the solutions. We excel at doing that, but we don’t overstay our welcome. We get it done quickly and then we’re gone. No long-term employment costs. This advisory role provides senior management with expertise showing an independent clear vision of the way forward. Can you expand your business into new business opportunities? What is the most cost effective way to do this -- in house or outsource? If outsource, to whom? Just what should you be investing in for the future? We have a particular expertise with news and news picture agencies and broadcasters.
Ø Sales training: With so many sales training courses out there what makes us so special? Most important, we focus on resolving the specific problems your sales people face. Together we will agree the way forward to fight each objection your people face each day. This is particularly useful in these days when buyers are so cost-conscious and are looking for the best price, not necessarily the best product. The teacher: a news company’s leading global sales person who sold multi-thousand dollar satellite dishes to media outlets while the competition was giving them away. And he had the similar success in another company when the competition literally gave a news product away for branding purposes. If you don’t think your sales people are good enough to sell against “giving it away for free” or if they whine continually, “The competition costs much less than us” then let him at them!
Ø Sales conferences are an art to themselves. All work and no play does not a good sales conference make. But conferences are expensive and you want your money’s worth. We have people whose business it is to organize these conferences. In full consultation, we can provide a turnkey solution from selecting the site to arranging all the audio/visual/multimedia needs, and, of course, the teamwork activities. We’ll even look after the spouses. And if you hold the conference in Switzerland (think Winter Wonderland or Summer Delights), then we’ll have some surprises for you that you’ll really appreciate.
Ø Public Speaking about news to non-news industry audiences and to industry audiences: Our “Power of News” presentation (above) became so popular that we adapted it as an after meal speech for non-media audiences. The public has little real knowledge of the news business but is truly fascinated by how news is gathered, how competitive the business is, and how news can make some people very powerful, and very rich. For media audiences, we have a dynamite presentation about the latest trends in our industry. We’ve surprised a lot of people with some of the latest statistics and trends. If you’re a media expert take a look at our media audiences page and see how many of those questions you can answer.
Ø Media relationships with the press: One thing that continually amazes us is how poorly companies handle media relations when something goes wrong. Badly wrong. A real stinker. When that happens does your company have a media game plan in hand? You already know that when the “feeding frenzy” begins that all of your so-called “friendly media relationships” are out the door. Journalists want the story, now, and they want to be first. They smell blood. Make sure it’s not yours. We have more than 30 years experience in dealing with journalists. We know what you should do, and what you shouldn’t in these kinds of situations. Don’t wait until your company is in trouble. Get the training now.
Ø CRM AND THE BRAND: There is no more important word in any business than ‘customer”. How you manage your relationship with your customer determines the success of your business. There is no more important asset within a company than its Brand. It represents all of the promises and beliefs that a company wants its customers to feel about its product and those behind it. Ideally, what you want to do is maximize brand value through powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM). That is much easier said than done. CRM projects are usually horrendous to live through. Our role comes at the very beginning of the project cycle – to give you as many tips as we can on how to make the whole process as livable as possible, what to do and what not to do -- and what you should expect, and not expect, when the project is complete. And since the Brand is so important, we give you some tips on how you should nurture your Brand and how to make it the cornerstone of your business strategy.
Ø Intellectual Property Rights issues: Can the management of a football team stop you taking news pictures in their stadium? When does the picture cease to be a “news” picture. What rights do third parties have to the pictures? We understand the full complications and implications when it comes to news and picture “rights” issues. Just how restrictive can a football league be, for example in restraining still photographic rights to games? Or a fashion house in allowing floods of pictures of its latest catwalk show onto the Internet. What’s the difference between news coverage and archive sales? As a picture provider, what rights do your subscribers have with your pictures? Can they store them,? Can they use them as often as they like? This whole issue is a minefield for those holding events, for those covering the events, and for those third parties publishing that coverage. There is a middle ground but often negotiators get so angry during these discussions that they don’t see the forest for the trees. We help both sides find that “middle ground”.
Philip M. Stone, the head of Stone & Associates Media Solutions, has extensive knowledge of the media business, with 30 years of news agency management experience achieved on both sides of the Atlantic. Before opening his consultancy he was the Managing Director of Reuters Media, Europe, Middle East and Africa, a business with a $75 million annual turnover. Mr. Stone has a unique insight into the media world, its needs, and that invaluable first-hand knowledge of how a media business must be run to ensure maximum profitability.
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