Monday, March 25, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Trend No. 11: We Will Contemplate More Purpose & Less Strategy

This “trend” brings this series to a close. I hope Mr. Kalehoff’s insights and my comments focusing on his insights from the nonprofit fundraising perspective have been of value. Mr. Kalehoff’s final comments about how advertising will shift are: “These big trends will most certainly reshape advertising. However, one thing won’t change: our competitive spirit and mandate to win.”

Max Kalehoff is one of those people who is followed by many in the marketing/tech world. He is currently VP of Product Marketing at Syncapse… one of those fairly unheard-of tech companies that is really changing things.
Max recently published a paper for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School’s Future of Advertising 2020 Program. His paper entitled 11 Big Trends That Will Reshape Advertising In 2020 And Beyond has garnered a lot of attention.Over the next few blog posts, I will attempt to take each one of his eleven points and give it my interpretation from the nonprofit Development perspective. Let’s take a peek into the future together

11. We Will Contemplate More Purpose & Less Strategy. Whenever I think about the future, I can’t help but think about the world we’re leaving for our children. Everyone on our planet could think a little more about leaving a world for our children that is not only hospitable, but sustainable and a better place. Right now, we’re not doing that. That’s why if there’s one human characteristic we could use a little less of, it’s strategy. Conversely, the characteristic we could use a lot more of is purpose. If advertisers approached their business in this way, our advertising industry — and our world — would become a far better place.

In this final “trend” from Mr. Kalehoff, he summarizes in emotional terms the shift in thinking he hopes will prevail that could change society for the better. My take is that the shift is well underway and that charitable organizations will be the beneficiaries of it…if they shift as well.

For too long we have all felt the oppression of our consumer society seeping into all areas of our lives, creating false hopes and expectations. Until recently we were powerless to affect it without feeling like we had to leave everything behind and take our families off to an isolated mountain where we could live detached from society and our communities. The longing to have others feel the same way and perhaps join us in attempting to counter the pervasive influence of “stuff and false idols” from our consumer society was our unspoken desire.

Now, however, the major culprit of creating envy, greed, and the peer pressure to keep up appearances has been slayed. The dragon of mass advertising and marketing that manipulated our desires, foisted upon us ideals in lifestyle and personal appearance that were nothing but false, one-dimensional caricatures are being undermined.

Mass advertising pushed messages at us with no independent confirmation that the purported “facts” of an advertising message were truthful. After holding up these ideals for so long, we just assumed that everyone accepted them.

Then came the Internet and it changed everything. The Internet broke the back of the mass publication/media and mass advertising juggernaut. Mass advertising supported mass media, so the media was never really going to raise hard questions about the implications of a society built on the constant want and desire of the new. Now, you and I can publish ourselves... in fact, you are reading my publication. The Internet isn’t one-way.  Its interactive voices, both pro and con, are equal. So now, when we hear commercial claims, we seek out other voices to confirm, contradict, or balance the messages...and we now all have our own networks of trusted sources.

Today we have the control. And we can focus on “purpose” in our lives since now we find that the whole of society felt the same despair we were feeling. We are not alone against the mass voice. We have options and a voice.

Now it is up to charitable organizations to leave the comfort of the safe huddle of the like minded and join the conversation. More than ever before, that voice is needed to bring balance to the hurt and despair wrought by decades of one-sided messages.


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