I think marketing falls into two categories;
Firstly, the grasping sort, delivered by growth-obsessed businesses, cleverly creating dissatisfaction with where we are, artfully constructing an idealised place where we could be and offering to take us there via its product or service – at a price. This “shadow” variety of marketing rarely takes us anywhere meaningful. With things around changing quickly and certainty is in very short supply, it’s a happy hunting ground for the dark marketers as they harvest the dissatisfaction data and process it via every channel available to them.
Then, there is the generous sort, which aims to understand us, respects who we are and what we want, and makes offers that help us get there. Brands like Patagonia, or Hiut Denim, and the sort that Alan Moore describe in “Do Build”. The building blocks of better.
It’s too easy at the moment to miss the sunrise. As that we are familiar with and used to disappears ever faster, we concentrate on it and feel its loss more than we sense what is appearing in its place. Here are some of what I am noticing:
- Connecting to people online with whom I share values and purpose. It is a long way distant from old forms of “networking”; it is deliberate community creation.
- The nature of the conversations with people I know. This last year has transformed conversations from the frequent and unchallenging to the regular, purposeful and formative with no mention of work or goals. It feels a little like the early days at University, exploring possibilities.
- We have had practical experiments in what we were previously tiptoeing into, from working at home to different ways of meeting.
- We have had a full-on examination into what is essential in our lives and those we depend on and value. For many, this has been the biggest shared crisis of their lives.
- As we have improvised and reinvented to cope, we have realised that we are good at it. As we address the more significant challenges, we face it stands us in good stead.
- Leadership has become real, not a course or a title, and has appeared in places we least expected and absent in areas we did. We are learning from that.
I am optimistic about the future and confident in the ability of those we have learned to trust to get us there and build better. I look forward to more brands that mean something beyond shallow focus group based promises, run and owned by people who commit. Beautiful Businesses.
It will mean significant changes, often uncomfortable and sometimes painful. We can cope with that. It will be worth it.
Bring it on.