Thought leadership, as seen by public relations specialists, is all about establishing persuasive authority in one’s industry. By building respect with media stakeholders and commentators, you get a leg up on the competition in predicting industry trends.
Thought leadership is also very difficult, given that your rivals want in on the action too. That’s why a business should fight hard to keep its spot at the top, and avoid amateur mistakes that threaten credible authority on the issues.
It’s safe to say that National Geographic, the magazine, is a thought leader in raising awareness of current and historical cultural trends through beautiful photography, captivating writing and a willingness to explore areas that others haven’t. This is the magazine’s tradition since its first issue in 1888.
So why, then, does the National Geographic Channel on cable contain such miserable and sensational programming? Why would an entity purposely cannibalize its own globally-respected brand by appealing to the basest form of mass-media culture? It’s like New Coke all over again, except we’re watching it, not drinking it.
Ok, we get it – call your channel “NatGeo” so it sounds all sexy, like a uni-celebrity name such as J-Lo or Brangelina. But why pollute your content stream with vulgar shows?
Consider the “Lockdown” series which exploits and glamorizes life in the world’s most dangerous prisons. Now, don’t confuse that series with “Locked Up Abroad” which offers cheesy dramatizations of unsuspecting tourists who are kidnapped and/or imprisoned in foreign countries. How about the show “Haunted Prison” which, as you can guess, analyzes ghosts and other paranormal activity in prisons?
At this point, I’m simply wondering why is NatGeo so obsessed with prisons?
With all the penal-programming, it’s a wonder that NatGeo makes time for other thought-provoking shows, such as “Stigmata: Explore the Phenomena.” And how’s this for a parade of brain-dead shows – the following are programs from the “Is It Real?” series (N.B. these really are the names of the shows):
• “Ape Man”
• “Extreme Sleepwalking”
• “Feral Children”
• “Police Psychics”
• “Psychic Animals”
• “Spontaneous Human Combustion”
National Geographic, the competition is laughing at you. The kind of howl-inducing laughter that makes you double-over, cry tears and gasp for air. With every broadcast, you are in danger of ruining your valued brand beyond all repair. Stop now before it’s too late…