Let me get on my soapbox: Black Friday is a ridiculous ritual.
Off the soapbox.
People have a lot of power in their wallet. We often forget that fact when we chase the best deal, the cheapest service, the next thing we really don’t need. You have a choice, you can stand in line like a mindless consumer of the past or change the world with your wallet. One purchase at a time.
Supporting your local community by purchasing all your Christmas gifts in small shops close to your home?
These writers put their heart and soul into their book. And changed the way I look at the world, how I see myself and transformed the way I work. As a thank you, please see my recommendations below. (No affiliate links)
Richard Florida reminds us to consider the current recession as a moment of transformative upheaval (like the Great Depression) “when new technologies and technological systems arise, when the economy is recast and society remade, and when the places where we live and work change to suit new needs” While I find, Richard Florida often doesn’t go deep enough in his analysis (based also on the fact we’re in the middle of another Great Reset), it’s a great reminder that this current crisis is not just another recession. It’s a paradigm shift of global proportions.
As a follow-up to the Social Media bible Groundswell, Empowered discusses how employees with great ideas should be encouraged to innovate and transform your business to better serve customers. Josh Bernoff bases his book on the idea that service is the new marketing and asks managers to work with employee innovators (called HEROs by the author) to spread the positive word about your business through their own channels. A great introduction for people to move their organization from using Social Media as a media channel to transforming your enterprise to a Social business.
Did you know you’re an artist? You better believe it, work like an artist and stop being a cog in an organization or you will become obsolete. Linchpin is by far Seth Godin’s most passionate and mature book, encouraging people to become emotional workers. This book will make you look at yourself and the work you are doing. And it will challenge you to finally make the leap to become a linchpin yourself. Come on, take the leap. Buy the book. Become an artist. Do the sacrifice and create emotional work. It’s your choice. It’s hard work. It can be a burden. And it will be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done.
In yesterday’s post, I talked about how advertising has to become more inspirational. Calling it coincidence or luck, I encountered above inspiring example last night.
Visiting Amsterdam for a few days, I’ve seen a lot of print/display ads and billboards announcing the new H&M flagship store in Amsterdam. Nothing made me stop and consider visiting the store. But above video installation just made everybody stop in their tracks and look. Muse created such an amazing video experience, it wasn’t clear for a while if we’re looking at art or advertising as art. In the end, it doesn’t matter. H&M and Muse put a smile on my face and made Amsterdam even more magic. If you think advertising can’t be inspirational, just watch the video.
Unless you lived on the moon, you realize the global economy is struggling because most corporations are not constructed to produce any real value. They are designed to maximize shareholder value while stakeholders are getting squeezed to improve the bottom line and introduce as many efficiencies as possible. Add to that corporate welfare, Fed and Treasury policies, regulations (or lack thereof) and you end up with a toxic mess of an ongoing banking crisis, mind-numbing landscapes of mini malls, toxicity in assets, the environment and the overall capitalistic world we are living in. And, while people are crowding the bargain bins, corporations continue to develop cheaper ways to satisfy the need for the bargain. Interestingly, when you produce a mediocre product/service (create thin value, as Umair Haque calls it), the price is all what matters. When you create real value/thick value, price becomes a tertiary consideration. Call it awesomeness, call it being amazing, call it being a linchpin.
With a few, rare exceptions, advertising has focused on creating thin value. Rather than inspiring people with marketing for products that add value, most of marketing/advertising is focused on brainwashing people into buying stuff that makes no difference. Just another item I can use and throw away/forget about effortlessly without considering the implications for the rest of the world. (Labor Conditions, Environment, Export/Import Structures)
Now, let’s look at the advertising/marketing industry. It’s not a dying industry but an industry in deep trouble. We are not considered partners, we’re just another vendor that sells questionable value. Media Buying has become a commodity, media planning to follow soon. The people we market to are busy tuning us out because they don’t feel marketing creates any real value. While we continue to communicate to people as they were still consumers, they are busy producing, communicating and building networks. We have commoditized our industry to death, starting to hop on a dangerous death spiral. Just like the whole economic system.
Advertising is just one pillar of the economic system we’re living in. Advertising can’t change the world or make it a better place. But, as part of a new economic system, advertising can be an inspiration, an artistic expression of the paradigm change. As an industry, we need to focus on the drastic changes the economic system is going through. We can safely say, the end of creating slim/thin value for profit is fast approaching. No matter how good your strategies/tactics/ideas are, unless you create real value for society with your products and services, you will fail in the long run.
My headline “Why advertising professionals need to be economic professionals” didn’t imply you need to watch Bloomberg all day, read each article in the WSJ or get a degree in economics. Most of what you read or see there is just an expression of times almost passed. All of us need to understand that our whole economic system is transforming and changing into something much more substantial, sustainable and human. Advertising is just another expression of this change. Please work, create, add value accordingly.
I didn’t see the stellar rise of Facebook coming, had hope for Second Life and bought stock in eToys.
Let’s move on.
The fact is there are not many genius minds out there. The other fact is that nobody really cares if you’re a genius or just not that bright. People will talk about your success all day long and, if you fail, forget about that in second. After they trashed you for two.
So, when you want to try something out because you have an idea, there are many answers you could have. But only one that you should consider: “Let’s do it.” You’ll never find out if the idea is workable, profitable, makes sense, has any merits, insert your own words here….until you just do it and try it out. Our brains are good and we should use them as much as we can but brains are not everything. We’re often wrong.
So, next time, when your brain (and your parental/school/educational/professional) past tells you not to do something, remind yourself how many times you were wrong in your life. And then, just do it.
It’s nice to prove somebody else wrong. It’s more satisfying to prove yourself wrong.