Here’s What Sucks Already.
Branding now officially sucks. The smart ones were the ones fast enough to sell a few books and seminars before people realized that they either didn’t understand what the hell they were talking about or realized that branding is a new word for something everyone was doing already.
Here’s my prediction for the upcoming year too. Everything which is attached to social/viral/conversational et al will grow to suck too. Why? Because conversations and tribes and social networks are all things which happened when Twitter was still a sound which emanated from a bird and Facebook was still two separate words.
Companies will pound home the simple truth that they exist principally to make profit. This is neither a positive nor a negative thing however it’s the thing (what you do after with the cash can be imbued with notions of morality but the existence of companies revolves around this one, neutral idea – making money).
How much time can you afford to put into staying ahead of the curve? How much of this time is fundamentally different from what you were doing before and how much of it is fluffy? How many hours a day can you delve into social networks on your computer before it tips over to being a 21st century version of having a drink with a business partner after work to staying in the bar all day?
Don’t get me wrong. There are important lessons to be learned from smart companies who succeed in spreading their stories to create users who are pleased enough with the services and products to talk about them to their peers. But this has been the cornerstone of business since one caveman sold a rock to another one.
English newspapers call this “tea” conversation. What stories go into the rag? The ones which will motivate people to talk about them over a cup of tea. The ones which will spread.
The traditional media vs. new media debate already sucks and sucked as soon as it left the starting gates. The ones who are making the most noise on this one are (again) those who were quickest to make a blog/book/buck from the idea.
Old tools or new tools. Tools are what they are. There is some level of interest in studying the shiny buttons on some new web application or plug-in in the same way there is some interest in admiring the spade you use in the garden. Admiring and talking about the spade with your neighbor however will not make your vegetables grow.
We have plunged into a world of eternal novelty and the human nature of rushing to stay abreast of what is coming up has lead to an industry of instant experts comprised of mainly of closely considering one’s own shininess.
In 2009, in a year which is going to be one of the toughest you will probably have to face, stop gazing at your spades and start working your gardens.