As originally published by David Sable on Linkedin.
Make no mistake…this too shall pass (I, for one, have just graduated from social isolation to social distancing), and by the end of it, we will be stronger (hopefully), knowing that we got through it. We will be smarter (I pray), knowing that we can no longer simply dismiss science and slash critical budgets, ignoring the warnings and admonitions of scientists. Wishful thinking?
Don’t get angry when the pandemic breaks…you realize that every pandemic in recorded history just goes away, retreats until/if it returns…from Monday to Tuesday…gone, and you know who will take credit and so it goes…just move on.
Meanwhile we adjust. We jury rig. We improvise. We experiment. We try and we try again.
We do our best (and more) to remain sane and healthy, and when we falter, we reach out, discovering that being alone and being lonely are not the same. At the end of the day, all of those thumbs up and thousands of shares are worth nothing, while the value of one real friend you can talk to, whether it be on FaceTime or Zoom, is priceless.
We all tend to approach situations, crisis maybe even more so, through the lens of what we know best. Each of us to our own expertise: clergy, medical professionals, social workers, engineers, financial types and, of course, marketing folk.
But what are marketing folk really? What is it we do and what value do we actually bring (if any) during a crisis like this?
Bottom line, my view is that we are observers of humankind and the storytellers who help preserve and spread the wisdom garnered through thick and thin—crisis and not—daily, weekly, yearly, ad infinitum.
Once we were the itinerant bards sitting around the campfire, and then court jesters, troubadours, playwrights, and shudder…the content producers of today.
And yes, there is technology—checked that box—targeting, another, but without human insight, without a look into what makes people tick, we are nothing and our tech is worthless, our content ephemeral.
I call to your attention “Mass-Observation” launched in the UK two years before WWII began to chronicle the daily behavior of the population—call it early mass ethnography and focus grouping.
Over the new few months and perhaps beyond, I will try and chronicle behavior, as I see it, that will impact and benefit brands of goods and services as we all lurch towards the conclusion of this chapter and the beginning of the next. My theme, though, will be consistent. It is one I have written about before…soap-boxed on and generally brought up as much as I could…and that is: PEOPLE FIRST.
Simply put, it means that everything—even our vaunted technology—is subservient to people’s needs, whims, fashions, passions and desires…no matter how cool, cutting edge, agile…whatever we think it is.
Pay close attention my dear readers. Has anyone heard about any incredible “IMMERSIVE DIGITAL EXPERIENCES” since the crisis began? We no doubt will at some point, but seriously, show me where an “IDE” is impacting our world? Our lives? Particularly with tech enabling us to replicate our normal lives, as closely as possible…creating a new reality.
Frankly folks, the reality is that technology has been relegated to where it belongs: the background…as an enabler…a powerful way to share and communicate…always the newest way as we move forward (but still a powerful and wonderful enabler).
ZOOM is bringing us together to work, to work out, to share a cocktail, to read a book, to listen to a lecture. It’s giving school kids school days and allowing religious leaders to hold services.
And it’s all about the people. No IMMERSIVE BS, no DIGIBABBLE. Regular people are logging on, inviting others or accepting invitations, and going about their typical, unremarkable days. Regular people getting on with their lives, sharing…alone, but not lonely.
Pay close attention folks because coming out of this, I’d be thinking about how I get back to basics, how I use technology as I should, wondering about my humanity, rather than my “authenticity.” Returning to realness.
No doubt some will revert back to “technology the savior,” as opposed to “technology the enabler.” Those who do will fail.
People First. Be Real. Understand the difference between “alone” and “lonely,” and be an expert on how to use technology to enhance life, rather than to provide useless, so-called “immersive experiences”—you might want to begin with the schools who are killing it on ZOOM.
Here is the opportunity to move from knowing to understanding…listen:
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand”—Albert Einstein
And there you have it.
We think we know…we’re sure we know…but like they did in WWII England, let’s use this time to gain understanding and really come out strong.
What do you think?