It's become a seller's market in Executive Communications, that is ghostwriting and scriptwriting for leaders. And that is happening in more ways than one.
For example, the demand for our skills is back. Actually more than back. On a regular basis, Vital Speeches of the Day advertises jobs and assignments around the world. So do Gotham Ghostwriters, Mediabistro.com and JournalismJobs.com. If leaders want to cash in on the recovery they have to be out there, in all formats and all mediums. Baby Boomers who understand how to put together the old-style opinion-editorial (op-ed) for establishment media like The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are king and queen of the mountain again.
But, the more important aspect of the seller's market is the shift in focus to the point of sale. Materials ranging from books to keynote speeches are configured to sell X. X might be a position like pre-K education, a person such as Chris Christie for president, a service such as product liability defense lawyering or a product like diet cola.
Everyone in the know knows that the old game is dead. The goals used to be enhancing the brand, organizational or personal, goodwill, attracting media attention and simply putting a position out there to stimulate dialogue. Now buyers are unwilling or unable to pay for those sorts of abstractions. Like Christie they have become pragmatists. Christie noted that in order to govern you gotta be elected so, hey, focus on getting elected. Leaders know that their personal brand won't get them much unless they can sell enough of the organization's gadgets. Eventually, I predict, boards and shareholders will demand metrics documenting how that book which was published sold more apps.
In itself this direct link to measurable sales targets is not new. During the Lee Iacocca turnaround at Chrylser, all his internal messages blared: We are all here to sell cars. Those of us in public affairs got it that we had to figure out how to demonstrate that material ABC pushed along the sales process for a K car or mini van.
What is new is that those of us in executive communications who are playing the new sales game have a distinct edge over those who are still trying to recreate an age of eloquence. Explicitly we tell prospects for our business or possible employers that we exist to help executive close on sales, whatever it is that they are selling. What we are about and the only thing we are about is selling.