hyper-local [hahy-per-loh-kuh l] 
Information oriented around a well-defined community with its primary focus directed toward the concerns of the population in that community.

It is one of those terms you typically hear associated with hipster restaurants and grocery stores, but is now starting to gain some broader appeal.  During the recent Olympics, Subway got into the act by positioning the concept around all their stores.  In a new commercial called “The appetite for better is everywhere”, they state that:

“Every day we are finding new ways to serve fresh, locally
sourced produce and food free of artificial preservatives
wherever possible.”

Notice that they don’t say they only serve “fresh” and “local” and completely avoid “artificial preservatives”.  They are merely trying to do better, but those kinds of concepts are so powerfully received that there is benefit in merely associating with them.

Recently, we were working with a media group that consisted of a few radio stations in rural west and east Texas.  The challenges around radio station viability are pretty obvious.  We’re a huge Spotify family and according to statistics, so is pretty much everybody else.

Why listen to a radio station when every song ever recorded
is immediately accessible at any moment from the device in my pocket?

In addition to helping the media group build a team, define a future, and create a plan to help them get there, we got a real education on the incredible value of rural radio.  What we learned was…

1. The FCC, who regulates radio stations, was created…

"for the purpose of the national defense" and "for the purpose
of promoting safety of life and property through the use of
wire and radio communications.”

2. The largest radio station in this group was established in the barn of the original owner 34 years ago for the express purpose of alerting his fellow unaware farmers/ranchers about tornados and other weather hazards in the area.

3. These local stations consider themselves part of the public trust and the most trusted source to inform, communicate, celebrate, protect and partner with their local communities.  They have gotten calls attributing their weather bulletins to saving people’s lives!

4. And then there’s the music.  They have call-in shows where local residents (many who have little or very poor wifi access and telephone coverage) call in to have their most precious memories visited through the songs they attach them to.  They play memorable country music.

As we walked through their storied history, capturing the powerful values and purpose they represent, casting a transcendent vision (what those things look like lived out in the future), hope and excitement began to rise.  The answer was not to shrink from the inevitability of digital media and hunker down in a bracing for impact.  The answer was to…

…become more powerfully who they already
are at their core.

The treasure in the field is always buried just below the surface.  It is worth everything and one of the great privileges of our work is that we get to remove some of that thin topsoil, unearth the treasure, and celebrate what we find with the teams we work with.

More than any trendy restaurant could ever hope to epitomize, these folks are about…

“Information oriented around a defined community”

“where the primary focus is directed toward the concerns of the population in that community”

They’re making t-shirts with the call letters of the stations on the front and that phonetic spelling and definition of “hyperlocal” on the back.  They are honoring me with the first one.  They found the treasure buried in the field and they are ready to share it with everybody.  How great is that.

  • Do you know what your treasure buried in the field is?
  • Do you have a defined leadership team?
  • Do you have a well defined and powerful future clearly in front of you?
  • Have you created a plan to get your team there?