Apt Words From Jack Welch, Yves Behar and Why I Refuse to Be a Colorist in 2009
I saw this quote from Jack Welch while going through my feeds this morning. With all of the 2009 digital predictions being blogged, tweeted and retweeted as I write this, it seems to me that this is the most important perspective we should doggedly follow in our new year.
We’re asking for long term engagement rather than campaigns. Is your budgeting structure for the brands and masterbrand within your company set up for this?
We’re asking that your employees serve as community ambassadors on your behalf online. Are you staffed for this?
We’re asking that you embrace openness and transparency. Is your legal team ready for this?
We’re asking that you allow for considerable co-creation with consumers and even allow consumers to directly influence your end product. Is R+D prepared for this?
In this new year, I’d like to see more clients asking for our help to restructure these kinds of internal business processeses that will allow them to truly engage the digital space and consumers in the right way. Otherwise we’ll continue to find that a majority of our work revolves around campaigns and our attempts to set the course for more meaningful, sustained engagement will prove futile.
In one of my favorite TED presentations, Yves Behar said, “What I realized was that they didn’t want to change the insides. They were really looking for us… to create the skins…to put some pretty stuff outside of the box. And I didn’t want to be a colorist. I didn’t want to be a stylist.”
As a twentysomething digital kid, I haven’t been in this business long enough to know what is and isn’t feasible in terms of a PR professional influencing the budgeting, staffing, legal and R+D structure of its clients along with its communications. But I’ll tell you, I don’t want to just be a colorist either. I don’t want to spend my career promoting your consumer-facing efforts without changing the fundementals of your internal structure in order to make the larger goal feasible.
Yves quoted the saying, “advertising is the price companies pay for being unoriginal.” In 2009, flash and trash campaigns, taglines and microsites are the price we’ll pay for not being a real change agent capable of affecting the nitty gritty business processes that build the foundation (or the brick wall) for our work.
Background for image from here.
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