Once a game for nerds in school libraries while the cool kids had REAL fun – Netflix’s latest must ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ has made Chess badass again. It follows the life of sassy, sexy, and often drug-fogged Beth Harmon. A girl who, after the death of her mother, is taught to play by the janitor at her Orphanage, before going on to become a world champion. The series is really good! So good, it has reinvigorated love of the game for many – with chess apps now appearing in the Top 10 of App stores all over the world.
Chess is old – really old. Originating in India in the 500s AD before spreading to Persia and then Europe, the game hasn’t even particularly evolved over the last 1500 years. And still, there are many rules and pathways to success in the ancient game that translate today to the modern world of Radio and Audio. Here are five things we can enact immediately:
See the big picture
You make moves one piece at a time on the board, but they each have a significant effect on the pieces around them and the game as a whole. It’s the same with talent shifts, new promo executions, and music universe adjustments. Nothing is just one thing – everything has a butterfly effect on the whole brand or brand experience. Changes keep everything feeling fresh but always stay aware of the domino effect.
Strategy is important but playing the board is more important
Plans and goals are critical, but every strategy should include the vital ingredient of flexibility. Competitors will always do things you don’t expect, and their strategies may not always line up with your strategies! Build a path, imagine the opponent’s countermoves, but always be ready to react and adjust where necessary. Never be too proud to push even your best plans aside if the moment demands a rethink.
The best defense is attack
In Chess, the best way out of Check is by putting your opponent in Check. For stations and shows, counterprogramming against a competitor can be a slick way to protect attributes or assets but if it absorbs your focus, it will inhibit your ability to put your best foot forward. Sometimes you need to go out guns blazing with new offerings, refreshed marketing, or a fresh approach. Noisemaking, seizing the day, and creating a ‘thing’ that gets the market buzzing is the best way to defend.
There will be setbacks
The road to Checkmate (or #1) will not be smooth or simple. It’s almost guaranteed, the undertaking will include speedbumps, some minor fails, and a raft of unexpected difficulties. Know they are coming. Prepare for the unexpected – be focused and manage the plan day to day.
Every team member is powerful
Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got. Strategies are hijacked by a key player’s resignation, a budget change, or a surprise move by a competitor. Understanding the value and potential of every person in your team is key. In Chess, a pawn that reaches the opponent’s first line becomes a Queen – the most powerful piece on the board. Develop your people, create understudies to every role, and keep an up-to-date list of people you’d love to have on the team should an opening appear.
Chess, and the world of radio/audio, share a commonality at their core. They are fun. Challenging and consuming at times yes. But at their heart – fun. And it’s this piece that sets the great stations and shows from the good ones.