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The View from Here

As marketers (ad guys), we are often up on the latest trends, hot topics and newest high-tech devices. But one of the things that we’ve noticed recently is the counterbalance: homes that are smaller and more efficient, locally sourced foods, cars that deliver better gas mileage. So while media outlets hype the newest iPhone or the most expensive homes, the rest of the country is often looking at things through a different lens. That might be high entertainment, like reality TV, but it is feeling less and less aspirational as a goal for the 98% of us who are not that rich or that out of touch.

We’ve been aware that new doesn’t always equal better, something like the new new actually being a return to brands and values that resonate with our history, that have some legs on them. Brands that place value and yes, purpose, above flash and sparkle. Technology is fine and wonderful when we remember that it should add value to our humanity, not take it away. Online community is great, but what about real-life neighbors? Sherry Turkle, an early proponent of online communities, spoke recently about their deconnecting powers. She mentions that we may be more connected, but we’re less committed and having fewer real conversations. We publish, but we don’t interact; we talk to, not with.

So what does this say we should think about as marketers? Perhaps we should start rethinking how and where we start real communications. Maybe we could think about advertising less as the final word and more as the conversation igniter that we stay engaged in, no matter what channel our customers are comfortable in—even if we are not.

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