“(Companies) may be using platforms that are primarily used for social media (like Facebook) or platforms that are used for social media, among other things (like Twitter), but that doesn’t make the companies—or their media—social.”—Ev Williams, Medium
The early style of WTF with Marc Maron podcast series was too ‘Dear Diary…’ for my taste, but recently Maron has found his flow as a Gen X cultural documentarian. This Bob Mould interview is an awesome account from one of Gen X’s most influential musicians. Maron connects the dots in many of Mould’s stories through Maron’s personal experiences and passions, revealing an impressive depth of knowledge of the key cultural players during the period. Surprisingly, the new interview format reveals a lot more about Maron than his previous WTF bellybutton gazing. Perhaps the show should now be called ‘Holy Shit.’
“My main problem with brands and selfies is the sheer arrogance of a brand that thinks people have nothing better to do than take a photo of themselves with a logo in it for their chance to win absolutely fuck-all. It does nothing for the person entering, it adds no value to the brand, and finally, it’s actually embarrassing for all parties involved. The way you hear agency folk talk about selfies — like your Dad asking what ‘LOL’ means because he finally got a Facebook account — is just slightly sickening. Because ultimately some poor client is going to pay a day rate for an idea that took five minutes to shape.”—"Brands: your selfie contest ideas are stupid" via Digiday
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”— Steve Jobs
Another acquisition, another day: early this week, Yahoo snatched up Summly, a mobile product startup. Since falling under the leadership of Marissa Mayer, the struggling Internet giant has been making aggressive moves to bring in killer talent and innovation by…
“A cover is a statement. It should provoke, challenge, interest, entice, snare, grab, arouse, titillate, excite, shock, infuriate, seduce, motivate. It should give the reader an irresistible taste of the magazine’s spirit. It should capture a reader.”—George Lois
World-saving, paradigm-changing initiatives require more than a press release
Yesterday, Patagonia announced a new environmental initiative, called "The Responsible Economy" to “…promote the concept that everyone must learn to consume less and use resources far more productively – as well as innovate as quickly and ingeniously as possible to reduce adverse human impact on the natural systems that support all life.”
They’re asking business to spend more on manufacturing and R&D while earning less, and asking consumers to spend more on durable goods and less frequently. These shifts are critical in order to reverse the “growth-based capitalism” paradigm, “…the assumption that a growth economy equals prosperity and a healthy society.”
It is an awesome initiative tackling a huge issue. Can you have both a healthy business and economy, and, a healthy, sustainable planet. Patagonia’s business model and success prove you can. The last sales numbers I heard pegged the company at about $700mm/annually, despite the company’s plea to it’s customers to buy less stuff.
Now Patagonia is recruiting other companies in an attempt to scale that success on both ends of the equation.
So how do you introduce and promote the cause?
The Responsible Economy doesn’t seem to be a consumer marketing campaign, yet. It’s an ‘initiative’ (and a book) designed to raise the issue, start a conversation, and promote the concept, according to the press release and a couple of essays on the Patagonia site.
Patagonia themselves says that time is running out, yet they don’t seem to be in a hurry to affect change. The initiative is missing the back end, the call to action, the way to participate. It appears that they are trying to work the inside game with discussions among sympathetic business leaders and customers through catalog copy and some web presence.
That’s hardly enough. As Bill Clinton says, "It’s not enough to talk about saving the world." Patagonia needs to stoke this fire from the outside in/bottom up. It’s a cause, a call to action, a movement…you don’t disrupt paradigms with press releases, business conferences, and catalog copy. You need to educate, encourage, and empower the community, (and I don’t mean the brand community, I mean the community-at-large community). Address the issue from their perspective.
Patagonia already knows how to do this. Their "Don’t buy our coat" ad in the NYTimes in 2011 had community community people talking. More along these lines, please. It needs big, ballsy ideas that challenge society’s norms, makes people uncomfortable, and causes tension.
If this was designed to be a launch of a huge initiative, it was more of a whisper than a grand opening.