Your ratings suck, you’re the best!

I read with interest this week in the Los Angeles Times about a radio ratings scandal that has raised some interesting questions.

It seems that Nielsen’s disclosed that its Los Angeles radio ratings had been compromised and they had to disqualify two families from its latest sample audience.

What this did was send two prominent radio stations tumbling in the ratings and allowed two others to soar. So what does this have to do with anything?

Los Angeles has the nation’s largest radio market where nearly $1 billion dollars is spent on advertising each year. Radio stations in the Los Angeles area rely heavily on ratings to set their advertising rates. Dramatic changes in ratings could cost a station hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Still don’t get it? Two disqualified votes made this huge difference.

Nielson’s only polled 2,700 people in a market of more than 13 million people to generate their latest ratings. You really have to ask yourself how accurate can this small slice of personal opinion and preference be of value.

All I can say is, it can’t be. As long as there has been consumer choice, there has been personal opinion. Many different business sectors will wade into the popularity contests and hand over their business success to the Nielson’s of the world to tabulate a winner.

Small batch data will be collected, someone will come out on top and someone will come out on the bottom.

In ongoing fast food polls, McDonalds continually comes in as least favorite many times if you believe the data, yet they have no problem selling their burgers and fries to millions daily.

Human nature is a funny thing, more often than not, many consumers will just follow the pack even though it may not be true to them. They just don’t want to be perceived as being different and contrary when asked questions by pollsters. They want to give the ‘right’ answer, the ‘cool’ answer despite what they really do. Yes people like to be right or cool.

It’s your duty in your business to follow your dream of being the best at what you do and have it show daily. Let your customer and client base be your reference for personal ratings. Trust me, ratings from outside sources and polls don’t mean a thing unless you want them to. As long as you are in business there will be lovers and haters. Ditch the drama of having your business compared with others – be you.

Starbucks, Apple and Virgin Airlines are prime examples of companies that stand for their brand. Love them or hate them, they do it their way without needing outside ratings approval from others than their consumer base.

To all you passionate, independent business operators out there, I’ll see you soon, you rock in my book, good ratings not required.