I came across this terrific piece of film where the founder of Advertising Agency Wieden+Kennedy – Dan Wieden spoke on the future of TV. He has a smart point of view on “The New TV Landscape” and the opportunities it presents in business.
Besides the fact that it is a great micro lesson, for me it’s another reminder at how terrific the world is today where we can have almost instantaneous access to the worlds great thinkers, for free. As entrepreneurs, we just need to seek it out.
I was asked if I thought social media was dead, my response was that it never really was. To me it’s just the next evolution of the human language. At first we had pointing at things and our body language to communicate. Then we had pictographs on cave walls, which evolved into the spoken word. After which the written word and the printing press arrived…..
Social media is just the wider dissemination of human communications facilitated by new technology – just like books once were a new technology. I wonder if they had some buzz word for the common book when it arrived? The fact that the tools were new and shinny prompted us to name them, put them in a definable category, when all it was (is?) was the evolution of humans talking and sharing ideas.
Is social media dead? I’m not sure, what I am sure of is that humans are social creatures and there is nothing more we enjoy than socialising in any way we can.
The words we use shape our behaviour. They even create bias, prejudices and potentially create a subconscious blue print for our strategic thinking. So in the spirit of solutions – I’ve list some new and better ways of saying old words.
Old word is Target. Replacement word = Audience.
A target is something we shoot at, aim for and maybe even kill. We care not for them. We care about us, and try to dominate them to bring home food for the night. An audience is a group of people we try to impress. We ask for some time on the stage (permission based), give our best performance and hope they throw flowers, not rotten tomatoes. If we do particularly well they’ll ask for an encore (supporting product to buy?) and tell their friends to come see the show.
Old word is Consumer. Replacement word = Person.
A consumer devours everything in their path. By defining people as such we subconsciously want them to mindlessly fill their life with stuff. We are not asking them to think, or consider, just act. We care not how the item bought for consumption is used and whether or not it enhances our world or theirs. It’s a production and factory mentality which is quickly becoming outdated. A person has feelings, emotions and aspirations. We are people, while they are consumers. The ‘we’ are people mindset is far superior to the ‘they’ are consumers view. It will take us much further and we’ll go there together.
Old word is Retiree. Replacement word = Projecteer
Retiring is an industrial revolution hangover based on physical labour taking it’s toll on men an woman. We must stop and rest in our final days because we having no energy left or have become less useful (in a physical sense) to the industrial machine. It was invented because the hours people have worked since the industrial revolution is beyond what is meant for humans. A Projecteer is what will replace the concept of Retirement. In fact, retirement will diminish as passion projects and life long idea work rises. We will be projecteers with specialist skills which are valued and revered as we gain in years and experience. Our mental faculties will flourish with improvements in diet and medicine and older generations will reclaim their position at the top of the human hierarchy.
Old word is Demographic. Replacement word = Tribe.
The problem with demographics is that a teenager is no longer a teenager. A teenager is a goth, an emo, a surfer, a skater… The same can be said for any age group or geographic locator. We are no longer definable by statistical clustering. Our values and attitudes are less likely to be defined via demography, but the tribes we move in, which now very often include people from disparate backgrounds and ages. The net enabled us to find the tribes we really belong to.
Old word is Non-profit. Replacement word = Social profit.
It’s nothing short of insane to have the word non-profit associated with organisations that build positive social outcomes. The word profit isn’t exclusive to financial output. Actually the word profit comes from the latin ‘Profectus‘ meaning to ‘make progress.’ The financial element was added much later. In this sense organisations providing social progress should move quickly to communicate the social profit they are making and in doing so remove the negative connotations that come with the word ‘non’.
Smart entrepreneurs shape peoples thinking with the words they use.
In world of media proliferation it’s becoming harder to get someone, anyone, let alone our target audience to listen. A better way than blasting our own foghorn is to espouse others. Something I’ve seen a lot of smart startups do lately is become brand advocates. That is, take a lead role in communicating, promoting and essentially spreading the love for other companies whose values we feel aligned to. It’s even better if we all move in the same entrepreneurial circles. Though it doesn’t have to be this way.
When we share great stuff other people are doing it rubs off on us. Just like proper referencing does in academia. We need to find stuff other companies are doing that we think is worth sharing. Ideas we think rock and companies with cultures we admire.
This is my current love list of other Startups & SME’s
- Deck of Secrets
- Sydney Writers Centre
- I vote for art
- The Podcast Network
Some of which even loosely compete with each other. This is fine in my view as often the biggest challenge we have in startup land is market development. Helping our competitors, though counter intuitive, can also benefit us. It get’s more people interested in the space, generates mainstream media coverage and can increase market size. This type of thinking would have been a sackable offense in my old consumer goods marketing days. The world has changed.
We’ve always been told it’s better to give than receive and the on-line world is the greatest exemplar of this theorem. It’s also a super way build significant brand credentials and trust. When people trust what we have to say by introducing them to other cool stuff it gives us a chance at gaining our own momentum.
Still got a few New York stories up my sleeve.
If anyone had any doubt that mainstream media is ‘still’ the most powerful communication tool, here’s some proof. While in New York we just had to check out the famous ‘Magnolia Bakery’.
The only way I had ever heard of this infamous business was via the TV show ‘Sex in the city’. It wasn’t advertised during the program, but in content. That is, discussed during the show, part of the story. This only ever happens when we have a ‘worthy business’, something worth talking about because it is so cool.On many occasions during my stay the line to get in was all the way down the street. And the cupcakes were tremendously yummy.
And so it proves a few things:
- Mainstream media ain’t dead yet.
- In content is way more powerful than paid for advertising
- Only ‘cool’ stuff ever gets talked about.
Startups, go make some cool stuff.