Monday, October 29, 2001

Farting around in the NOTES chapter, I decided to read the "Ideavirus" article (ala fast company), which you seem none to pleased with, as it falls short of Gonzo in its commercial wrinkle.

With the 'manifesto' references and emphasis on 'conversation,' Godin sounds like someone who's been eating his cluetrain wheaties: "What marketers are now on the lookout for -- and we're all marketers now -- is something that taps into the invisible currents that run between and among consumers. Instead of talking to -- or at -- consumers, we have to help consumers talk to one another."

Forgetting charges of plagerism from the guy, and all of the subsequent posts about the article on the Fast Company site, and looking at the article on its own merrit, I still think it falls short of being a 'manifesto'. At its crux, the article says this: A good idea can go a long way. Um. Okay. And?

But then I hyperlink my little brain back to Gonzo, where Rageboy, getting kind of worked up, says this: "Are marketers really naive enough to believe that the same brain-numbing key messages their advertising and PR departments have been peddling all along are suddenly going to go viral?"

Ouch. I'm licking my wounds.

Okay, done. No, not the same messages we've been peddling. Those won't do. But isn't it still possible for those of us "in the business" of crafting key messages to make those messages resonate? Isn't it a baby step that we are beginning to create messages with genuine voice? messages that employees can understand, customers can relate to--and even maybe, if we're ever so lucky, want to talk about among themselves? Please tell me it is. Because otherwise I'm not sure what I'm going to be when I grow up.

But as I hyperlink again to Chapter 6 of Cluetrain, this nugget:

"And increasingly, we value only two qualities:
1.The engagement and passion-for-quality of genuine craft.
2.Conversations among recognizably human voices.

More and more, as I wander around inside of Gonzo, EGR, JOHO, TDCRC, Doc Searls' blog, and other places of voice, I go back to my own craft (okay, so they pay me for it), and I'm weaving these ideas into what I do for clients... into the messages I create for them. (And that's a big part of my job.) For me, Gonzo is a mirror I hold up to expose flaws in my work. And I rethink, re-do, re-think, actually talk to people in these companies, look at what customers are saying. And so, these messages are maturing into something more (I hope) than mind-numbing. Can it change the fact that every fricking company wants to be the 'leading, first, only and best' and other meaningless adjectives that no one believes? No. But at the least, I can contain that stuff within the company boilerplate. And if I contain the mind-numbing same-ol-same-ol in the boilerplate, then maybe I keep it from going viral in the most infectious sense of the word.

Key messages are not boilerplates. In messages, we can weave in some feelings, some voice, rather than generic corporate-speak. At least we can do that much. At the least. But it's something. Come on, give me a reson to get up tomorrow. My sweet child (my reason) has me playing with her new Bob the Builder walkie-talkies now--and I'm not thinking clearly. Gotta run. later.

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