President and CEO
"Broadcasters can no longer do the same things to be successful in the future that you failed to do in the past."
Jerry Gumbert is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Audience Research & Development LLC. Over the past five years, he has transformed AR&D into the premiere television branding company by assembling a team of America's top news product innovators and brand development experts.
As a business strategist, Jerry counsels America's best-known media brands including News Corp./FOX, Time Warner, Viacom/CBS, ABC/Disney, Media General Inc., Scripps-Howard, Evening Post, and Clear Channel Communications.
His vision of the future of local TV is based on "strong brands" and an "innovative business culture." His beliefs have been embraced by hundreds of media clients throughout North America and he has had a profound impact on how viewers, readers and users interact with news and information media every day.
"The past is the past.
Broadcasters can no longer do the same things to be successful in the future that you failed to do in the past."
Today, broadcasters stand at the intersection of the future and past, Gumbert says. The game is no longer about holding on to a shrinking audience. It is about the reinvention of a product that is becoming irrelevant to consumers. We live in a world where consumers are choking on choice and overwhelmed by 24/7 news and advertising. To be successful in the future, local TV stations must "follow the consumer" and find new ways to provide valuable products and services. They have never been more irrelevant.
"A strong, unified brand message is the only way to break through and reach consumers."
Branding (the "B" word) has been a hot topic of discussion among local broadcasters for years. Gumbert says most broadcasters have a clear understanding of the concept, but most news products still lack the fundamentals of a brand: A simple, cohesive identity that is unique and consistent in every contact it has with consumers.
A brand is a belief about a product that drives loyalty. The belief must be based on the perception that the product is more valuable because it has unique and exclusive characteristics. Most news products do not. Sure, broadcasters are "brand-focused," but they are misguided about how to build a Brand of Journalism with important and valuable attributes. That is why they fail to grow market share. They must have the courage to be different and stand out in a remarkable way.
"Innovation is the process of creating possibilities and finding new opportunities in surprisingly new ways. Broadcasters must approach our problems from unexpected angles."
Innovation is not an inexplicable leap of insight. It's not the practice of outside-the-box thinking. In fact, Gumbert says that the overwhelming majority of innovation projects are the evolution of "existing products" - not the invention of a new one. To move the industry forward, he is focused on identifying new consumer patterns for news and information consumption. He calls it the "starting block" for new product ideas and the entry point for making an entire industry relevant again.
Jerry is the innovator behind the nationally acclaimed Innovations LaboratoryTM - a media lab charged with the development of the next generation of news programming and marketing breakthroughs. His passion and enthusiasm are focused sharply on media innovations and the products and technologies that drive them. He has spent the last ten years at the forefront of the changing media landscape and has developed a wide range of media products to drive news and information consumption across several platforms.
As a senior strategist in the 1990s, Jerry helped develop more than 10 regional and local 24-hour all-news cable channels, and created the powerful cross-media community outreach platforms Safe Family, One Class At A Time, Project Tornado and 20 Days That Can Save Your Life. He has also played a significant leadership role in the revolution of weather technologies and severe weather coverage strategies. He conceived the Weather LabTM and Doppler NetTM - both technological and presentational advancements in the coverage of severe weather used by stations across the United States. In the late 1980s, Jerry pioneered the use of radio stations to repurpose local TV newscasts, and built the largest regional radio-TV news network in the country.
Jerry calls Fort Worth, Texas home and enjoys being far from the hectic rat-race of "big city" life. In Cowtown ("where the West begins"), he is living happily ever-after with his wife Cathy and their six children.
You can reach Jerry Gumbert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817.924.6922.