DIVIDED we stand

July 16, 2020

Why do you think we are so divided?

   

I don’t mean in wealth, ethnicity, politics, nationality, generation, religion, sexuality or epidemiology.

   

I mean in marketing.

   

I have a few theories.

   

Maybe it’s our love of the shiny new thing.

   

Maybe it’s the age-old clash of art and science.

   

Maybe it’s reason vs. emotion.

   

Maybe we just love a good argument. It’s like putting jump leads to our brains.

   

Maybe it’s social media, where the most successful posts always polarise opinion. 

 

Or it’s false dichotomies. Targeting or mass. Distinctiveness or differentiation. Availability or connection. It’s all Ehrenberg-Bass’s fault. 

 

Maybe it’s because we can’t even agree on whether a brand is everything you communicate or everything you experience. 

 

Maybe it’s because we know that what we do is trivial, which is why we long for purpose. And then we can’t agree whether anyone out there actually cares.

 

Or, as Andrew Tenzer and Ian Murray have suggested, there’s this empathy gap between marketing people and what they call the ‘modern mainstream’. So none of us have a clue what we’re talking about. It’s the blind leading the blind. 

 

Or maybe, deep down, we have different needs to ‘normal’ people. Most of them are on one side of the Map, with their desire to fit in. And most of us are over the other side, with our desire to stand out.

 

So whether that’s Discernment or Status or Individuality or Independence, it’s all broadly the same thing. Assertiveness over affiliation, self over others. The ruling elite.

 

But how can you rule if you’re not even in the C-Suite? And how can you be the elite when what you do is unimportant?

 

Maybe the whole thing is because we can’t see beyond our own category. We think our world is the real world.

 

So maybe when it comes to ourselves, we do all believe in positioning, even the ones who say they don’t.

 

And that’s why we’re happier when we stand divided. Because united we fall.

 

I don’t know, what do you reckon?

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