Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More battle notes from the conclusion couch.

      When I wrote about getting on the conclusion couch --- coming to conclusions too early and never challenging them ---- I didn't talk about the consequences. There are many.

      For one thing, conclusions that go unquestioned can screw up your personal life. People are different; we all have our good and bad points. Judging people and behavior based on values and prejudices you acquired in the past cannot be used across the board, and you may be missing out on reality as it is. Before you make yourself the judge and jury, be sure you hear the defendant's side.

       For another thing, you can miss who you're talking to. If you've concluded you're in mass communications, for example, you're  wrong. Mass media, sure, but communication is always received by one person, times many. There's one person at her computer or TV set, about to hear what you've got to say. If you don't interest her, you've lost her, and all your sweeping generalities won't help a bit.

       We're all living in uncertainty and we try to find guidelines etched in concrete. Nothing is, especially in marketing, and we have to be open to possible new meanings and interpretations.

        When I was in Japan a few years ago, I spent time visiting the beautiful shrines and temples. A lot of Japanese school kids were visiting these places as well, perfectly dressed in their school uniforms. They all looked adorable, but the same. They were all wearing the same blazers and shirts, skirts and pants, and backpacks. But looking closely at their backpacks, I noticed they were all decorated differently, with different pins and flowers and buttons and slogans. Each of these kids was different, and showed it where they could. especially in their faces.

        Conclusions come too quickly, too easily. The way to get off the conclusion couch is by questioning and investigating, digging deeper and allowing for exceptions and for not knowing. Don't write things off so quickly. We in marketing have to be open to possibility.

        Instead of coming to conclusions, we have to ask what are the other possible explanations, other possible endings to the story.

        In fact, you can play a part in how it ends.



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