The visible and the invisible job order

Posted on January 22, 2012


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There’s something valuable I learned after being assigned to take care of a certain university-related event’s media publicity: That there is a visible job order and there’s an invisible job order.

The visible job order

This is what was explicitly said to you: That media promotion is needed in various channels–print, web (websites and blogs, social media), TV.

After evaluating the nature of the event (a film festival) and the resources available (they gave you nothing but a pre-written press release and an event poster which has had various reincarnations throughout the duration of the project–far too many than you can count), you deemed blogs and social media as the most suitable channels for promoting the event. It’s free, it’s fast, it’s viral. Given the short amount of time between the time the job was assigned and the date of the actual event, this is the best step to do.

Of course you also sent press releases to newspapers, but cut out magazines since these need at least two months notice. But TV…you tried your best to contact some people working there but that wasn’t your priority channel. Who watches TV, anyway? It’s not the most effective medium for promoting films these days. There’s Youtube and Facebook and other similar sites, after all.

So you put your plan to action. Text and photos were sent to newspapers, blogs, and websites. You took advantage of the wide fan base your university has on Facebook and Twitter and asked people to spread the word (which they did). You monitored the event’s media exposure and it seemed okay. Until you realized that you missed one thing…

The invisible job order

You were so busy putting your plan (the most suitable channels to use—in your relatively young mind, anyway) to action that you forgot to complement your logic with intuition. You did the job, yes. But you did not do the job, no.

Here’s what you failed to do: You failed to please the university’s benefactors, the ones who made this event possible. By following the logical media publicity method to use, and by ignoring their wish to be guests on a TV show (whatever TV show, as long as they see their faces on TV), in their eyes, your efforts were fruitless.

You can chalk it up to age gap which makes their TV obsession outdated, and that may be true. You can think that they’re probably hurrying to build legacies because in their old age, time is running out, and this may be true. You can infer that maybe this has to do with rich people’s ego as much as it has to do with promoting an ethnicity’s culture, and that may of course be true. But the bottom line is, a skilled communicator is one who can balance logic with intuition. That is, with getting the job strategically and logically done while appeasing and fulfilling the powerful ones’ unspoken wishes, motivations and desires.