April 18, 2012
So I guess you have all seen the photos, the videos and the outcry about the Swedish culture ministers absurd act to eat of a cake installation that resembles the genital mutilation of a black woman. The whole installation is according to my view completely tasteless and absolutely outrageous.
I am, however, not saying that it shouldn’t be allowed, but I am saying that it served its purpose and brought light to how absurd it is that we are accepting this kind of oppression in modern society. Where ever it is committed.
And so, one might ask, why do I publish anything about this in my blog about digital marketing and advertising? Well, it was when I watched the response from the artist, covered by Aljazeera, that my mind started making its own absurd analogy.
It was perhaps his way of shrugging the critique off his shoulders with “It has been taken out of context”, that made me start to think of how old school marketeers explain failure of their campaigns and ideas. Artists, much like old timers in advertising, believe in ONE BIG IDEA that will revolutionize behaviors amongst consumers or spectators.
However, with the emergence of a more living and responsive, social media, all concepts need to utilize the response of the online users to bare the potential of changing behavior.
The problem arises when developing a website or a digital campaign and you hear arguments such as “Oh, it is the users who have misunderstood what we are trying to communicate… …there must be something wrong with them.”
The user NEVER misunderstands. But they always do. Meaning. You will never know what the users understand or how they understand your marketing campaign before they are actually confronted with your message. You then need to understand that in order to make your “message” come across, and make any kind of sense, you have to adapt to the response of those visitors or consumers.
Now it is the unwillingness to adapt to change and to consumer feedback that will continue to drive people away from your core message and mission. A reply is just a reply, but if the reply is “I don’t give a…”, the reply is as bad as to shut the hell up.
Which also brings me to a situation I am far too familiar too. It is when you meet up with a creative or a marketing person who doesn’t want to listen to the data evidence you bring to them. Their gut rules all, and no matter what you say, they are blind folded by their conviction that it is them and not the receiver of the message that is the judge of taste and success.
Now. I am not saying that artists should feel as inclined to change their master pieces as a result of how the public responds to them. I am just saying marketeers and advertisers should. In the space of digital marketing, we can know EXACTLY how users respond to anything we do or say. It is when we are willing and able to adapt to these responses that we become truly successful at what we do.
And however absurd the above post might be in its analogy, it still serves a purpose to put light on how things can become counter productive if one doesn’t allow for change to be the guide when working in the online environment.