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When you say the word museum somehow a large building with spacious hallways and corridors comes to your mind, with high ceilings and paintings on the walls along with objects from the near or distant past, where you can imagine past times. In a ceremonial silence, people stop in front of portraits of famous emperors and generals, watching dolls in uniforms and folk costumes, old weapons, jewellery, ancient coins, and items that were once in use. All this is accompanied by the appropriate descriptions of the exhibited items. This is how museums keep the memory of the stories from the past – not to forget it, to remind us of who we are, where we came from and why are we here.
At the beginning of 2013 I travelled across Australia and New Zealand and so I arrived in Wellington. And as I am a culture-aware person, when I go to a city or country where I haven’t been before, I go to the museum. The National Museum of New Zealand “Te Papa” is located in the six-storey building of a state-of-the-art architecture built in 1998. In the entrance hall of the museum, which is open along the height of the building, I was welcomed by huge “Hobbit” figures. There was also a notice of a large computer games exhibition that was just set in one of the halls, while the second exhibit was about the beginning of the organic food production in New Zealand in the 1980s and its significance for the future development of the country. At the same time, an exhibition on global climate change and its effect on the life of our planet was opened. And you could have entered into a house where you could experience a simulation of an earthquake, and you could even set the intensity level on that Richter or Merkel’s scale, I don’t remember the exact details. There were also a lot of children with colour stains on their clothes running around and having fun. I decided to come to the info desk, just in case, to check something quickly and everything was fine – I was really in the museum. I was even given a written guide for touring Hobbiton where I could see how the hobbits live … when I’m there!
The text I ran across in tomorrow’s local paper was just what I wanted. It was about “Te Papa” museum. The museum broke a record in the number of visitors with the tendency to grow even more. The first man of the museum, Mike Hoolihan, announced an even more radical transformation of the museum in an interview in the same newspapers. The reason for such an approach was the fact that we live in the time of tectonic social changes and new social phenomena, and that the task of a public educational institution, which a museum is or should be, is to be the initiator and bearer of these changes. He sees the museum as a forum for discussing the future. “Changing hearts. Changing minds. Changing lives. ” is the vision of this museum of the future.
When you look at the whole thing this way, it becomes clearer not only why this museum looks the way it does, but it also becomes completely logical. Then you wonder, how come others haven’t thought of this? Apply it to the world of media and marketing, and the question goes: how come, despite radical changes in the way we communicate, the existing media-marketing model isn’t changing, even though the negative consequences of maintaining the “status quo” are becoming more obvious;
– Agencies are no longer places where new ideas come to life; instead, they have become financial organizations primarily engaged in managing their clients’ marketing budgets.
– The media, particularly the traditional media, are still selling some sort of theoretical ratings, which, in today’s world, is the same as selling an expired product or one about to expire. And you know how it goes with stuff like that – you’re forced to sell it cheaper and cheaper as time goes by.
– Marketing managers and brand managers who represent clients are accountable for the profit to the owners, and they have set plans which they need to achieve. Their salaries and bonuses depend on these plans, so it’s only logical that they are neither motivated nor able to act outside their limits.
And I’m not trying to say that the people in these organizations aren’t aware of the changes going on around them. On the contrary, they’re more than aware, but there is still too much interest involved in the functioning of the old model for it to change. And therein lies the answer to the question why changes aren’t faster, despite the fact that the need for them is blatantly obvious to everyone. It’s simple – as long as the fear of change overshadows the fear of no change, there will be no change! And this fear is greatest where there is already a certain model with known mechanisms of functioning because any significant change in such surroundings awakens insecurity, which leads to uncertainty, resulting in any such change being perceived as a loss, which is where all activity stops. That’s why it’s not enough to be aware of the need for change.
In order for change to even be possible, first, we need to look at the world from a different angle and from a different perspective. The first movies were nothing more than recorded theatre plays. Once people realized that it was possible to break up a story into scenes and shots which didn’t necessarily need to be recorded in the same order as the storyline and that the story could later be edited as desired, film-making ceased to be technology and became art. It’s no accident then, that Steve Jobs created the legendary “Apple” slogan – “Think different”, instead of “Think differently”, because it’s not the same if you think differently and if you think different. Thinking “differently” is still thinking within the boundaries of something existing and familiar, while thinking “different” is thinking outside the box and taking a step into something new and unknown!
MARKETS ARE CONVERSATIONS
This theorizing regarding the “possibility for change” is, in fact, a call to begin looking at the existing media-marketing model from a different angle, for a start. The existing model is based on the assumption that individuals can be reached through the masses. What if we turned this upside down and asked ourselves whether the masses could be reached through individuals, and started looking at the world from that perspective? What would we see? The Internet has enabled us all to be connected, while smartphones have enabled us to be connected non-stop, 24/7. Knowing that the purpose of marketing is to “be noticed”, each of us in this permanently connected world, willingly or not, performs a marketing function, whether as a message sender or as a recipient. The result is that the mass market has been broken up into thousands of micro-markets which are created not on the basis of the product we buy, but on the basis of whom we are connected with, and how. We increasingly connect with a product less by virtue of the physical location in which we buy it, or its price, and increasingly more by the story we accept as our own and pass along. Our need for a certain product is increasingly less driven by its functionality, and increasingly more by the feeling of belonging to a community. “Markets are conversations” was the prophetic phrase contained in the first of 95 theses on marketing published in the cult book „Cluetrain Manifesto“ from 1999, one of the first books dealing with this new phenomenon – the Internet. Today, it is a reality in which we live. „Amazon“ was founded in 1994, „Google“ in 1998, the first „Gmail“ was sent on the 1st of April, 2004 (interesting date), „Facebook“ started to exist in 2004. Today, these companies are among the largest in the world. We are living in a unique moment in which two models are passing each other, heading in different directions on the same path
And to think that 15 years ago, these things didn’t even exist!!! At the same time, the old media-agency world still seems powerful, untouchable and invincible. Despite seeming paradoxical at first, nothing illustrates the circumstances of these breaking times better than the image of these two parallel worlds functioning simultaneously. We are living in a unique moment in which two models are passing each other, heading in different directions on the same path. Old models don’t disappear overnight because they’re not beaten by new models in some sort of direct confrontation after which “the winner takes it all”. When a world-changing technological revolution, such as the invention of the internet, occurs, new models come to life as innovations in the margins of these huge technological changes, and they initially always seem insignificant and invariably go through three stages: first they are ridiculed, then they are ignored, and finally they are joined. In this way, they make the old models irrelevant, resulting in their marginalization and finally – being exhibited in a museum!
IT’S NEVER BEEN MORE DIFFICULT TO SUCCEED BUT ALSO NEVER EASIER TO BEGIN
If you have an idea for a new business, a new product, or you want to try something out, something crazy, this is the right time for you. Until yesterday, your main problem would be to find out how a sufficient number of others will find out about your idea. Today, it is enough that the one person believes in your idea and wants to be a part of your story. That does not mean that you will succeed, on the contrary. It has never been more difficult to succeed than today, but also never easier to begin.
Isn’t this more than enough? These are times when the riskiest thing to do is to play it safe, and the safest thing to do is to take risks. Will you take the “wide road leading to the bridge” or do you tend to believe the Little Prince who says that “it’s all about the journey, not the destination”, and so you embark on a journey with no road, on which you’ll discover destinations along the way, and leave your mark?
In the wise words of Shakespeare – „Let us embrace the time that has chosen us“.
Source: Media Marketing