Learn from Katie Couric - What Happens When You Target the Wrong Audience

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Katie Couric has been receiving a lot of flack in her new position as CBS Evening News Anchor and Editing Manager.
The former NBC Today Show Host and early morning correspondent transitioned to evening news in 2006, landing one of the most lucrative positions in broadcasting (despite a $20 million counter offer from NBC).
Unfortunately, this once-popular journalist is receiving a noticeable amount of negative feedback from the evening news audience and the press.
With The Evening News currently last place in the news show ratings, it seems she's just not fitting in.
In an act of desperation to save their star from public scorn, CBS sent her on a "hard-hitting" investigation to Iraq.
(Rumor has it that it's a sneaky way of getting her off the air.
) But consider this: Maybe it's not so much that there is something wrong with Katie or the work she's doing.
Maybe she's just speaking to the wrong audience? America grew to love Katie as the smart, lovable, upbeat personality on the Today Show.
We loved her unique combination of warmth, tenacity and sharpness.
Her intelligence was never in question.
She consistently delivered a quality report or interview, and we especially loved that she could also do it all and elicit some laughter so early in the morning.
She let us into her life and showed her vulnerable side when she lost her husband to colon cancer.
She even went so far as to spearhead an effort to raise awareness as she televised her colonoscopy live on national TV.
(Brave!) She set an inspiring tone to each day.
Obviously, CBS News thought so too, for they coughed up an offer that even the unflappable Katie couldn't refuse.
Can you blame her? Having to get at 3 a.
m.
year after year would be a big deterrent for many of us.
Perhaps she was tired of those ungodly hours or was bored and wanted to explore a different style of reporting, perceiving evening news as having greater depth and importance.
Maybe she felt she needed to prove something.
Only Katie really knows.
Regardless of the reason, the problem is that the evening news is a complete mismatch.
The nature of evening news is not in alignment with what we, the viewers, see and love in Katie.
Morning news is inspiring; evening is always depressing-a non-stop commentary on war, death, political upheaval or some other right-gone-wrong in the world.
We're not used to Katie delivering tragedy and we don't like it.
The evening news is straight, conventional reporting devoid of any personality, where correspondents wear dark clothing and takes themselves and what they're talking about very, very seriously.
Morning news allows on-air correspondents to let their personality shine.
Evening news seems to have bled Katie of her personality and, frankly, we miss it.
The black and navy blue suits downplay her beauty and natural charm, giving her delivery all the charisma of a heavy, monastic robe on Prozac.
What a downer.
The morning news was lifestyle based.
While it wasn't hard hitting, it was about the average American's daily life and that is important.
The evening news is about telling us how the world is falling apart.
America fell in love with all of Katie's smarts and charm and her ability to connect with us at a deeper level.
We miss that too.
In the end, Katie is speaking to an audience that doesn't appreciate her natural gifts.
They never will.
No one understands the desired for a career change, more than I, so if I might, here's where I think Katie could have experienced greater depth in her work and while still connecting with the audience that loves her most: oA Katie Couric Special.
As the next Barbara Walter, she could provide her own brand of charming, yet thought-provoking interviews in a cozy living room setting.
While Barbara comes across as stodgy and formal, Katie could use her warmth and reporting savvy to open people up in her own way.
oThe Katie Couric Evening Show.
In the style of Judith Reagan or that of The Actor's Studio, Katie could use her personality and authentic manner to appeal to professional women.
oThe Katie Couric Show.
A daytime show based on lifestyle issues facing Americans today.
She would really give Oprah a run for her money if she really let her strengths shine.
Now doesn't that sound like more of a fit? Katie could get the in-depth interviews and reporting she craves, while also satisfying her target audience with her unique brilliance.
So here are some of my own thought-provoking questions I want to leave you with...
Where in your business are you trying to offer what you want instead of what your audience wants and values? Can you find ways to deliver what your audience wants in ways that works for you too? Where in your business are you out of alignment with your personality, style and approach to your modality? Is there a way to shift your business personality to align with who you are? Are you targeting an audience that isn't even interested in your work? Can you to step back and research who would be interested in your services and style of delivery? If you're not sure, a great resource to tap is your favorite current and past clients for their opinion.
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