Americans probably consume more media than any other nation on the
planet. From magazines, to social media and television, Americans are
inundated with “content.” The messages that are conveyed through
content help drive the largest industries in our nation, from Tobacco
and alcohol to apparel and personal care.
Anyone who does not understand nor harness the power of media is
either ignorant of its impact or happy to forego its benefits.
Marketers, communications managers, branding professionals and
advertising execs know and understand the “Halo Effect,” that can be
created by consistent communications and branding. Psychologist
Edward Thorndike was a pioneer in this field in which he discovered
that individual ideas and attitudes toward brands, people and places
could be so altered as to render the subject almost incapable of
seeing defect. This “Halo” (like an angel’s halo) in essence, makes
the individual feel that the product, individual or brand is beyond
reproach. The Halo effect is achieved through consistent messages or
branding that trains the brain to see only the good aspects of a
I’d take that concept a step further by introducing the contrary
“Raincloud Effect.” I am absolutely sure that it exists—and if no one
has coined the term, I hereby decree its usage. Consistently poor
images, messages and ideas about a particular brand, individual, group
or nation can create a perception of perpetual calamity, chaos,
irresponsibility, ineptitude or even violence. These images burnish
into the brain a message that prevents the individual from seeing what
is obviously good in the product, person, group or nation.
When nations forfeit the benefit of producing its own media, it
surrenders that right to others who may not be as amenable in its
attitudes and feelings about the subject. These attitudes and biases
would be of little consequence if it were not for the fact that they
are being recreated in media that is consumed by a larger public.
This is not advocacy for state run media, rather for the state to give
full opportunity to domestic arts, media and communications in their
country. Those industries should be strengthened with expertise from
professionals of the Diaspora and from abroad if that technology or
strategy is not already available within the country.
Businesses determine whether they will work with countries and nations
based on the “Halo Effect” and the “Raincloud Effect.” Nations who
have little control of their own media and the stories that are being
told about their people, industries and customs often end up with the
“Raincloud Effect,” while those who are able to tell their own stories
create a “Halo Effect.”
Homegrown media is therefore essential to the life of the business,
nation or group. Without it the stories being told are influenced by
the attitudes of those telling them. Every nation, product or
business NEEDS a narrative—a reason why we can identify with you or
your product. Audiences must come to understand it as innately as we do the
Nike swoosh or the American Cowboy. Do not hide what is unique about
your product, nation or culture; instead use it as a selling point–a
reason why you are different, admirable and worth investment.