What will have a greater and lasting impact?

Will watching a TV advert have a more meaningful impact than someone watching a video on Facebook or seeing a billboard at Piccadilly Circus? Are all impacts equal? The day job that sometimes strays into the night time (9-5 what’s that?) is within the marketing and advertising industry and I’m often asked by clients what will help me achieve the most meaningful interactions with consumers – in other words what will lead to more people buying my products. It’s been almost 100 years since John Wanamaker famously coined the phrase:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

…and now with a far greater number of variables in this digital age we live in, many are still no closer to truly understanding what works or what will contribute to achieving the greatest success. Of course there will be stark contrast depending on the different products and brands being advertised – and no interaction remains isolated (if you’re reading this on your phone, I imagine the TV is on in the background). It’s amazing how effective we’ve become at multi-tasking – well selective multi-tasking anyway. There isn’t a one size fits all approach.

This concept of identifying more meaningful interactions in a cluttered advertising ecosystem got me thinking about the importance of building and maintaining meaningful relationships with friends and family. Just as advertising impacts differ, what will help me achieve more meaningful interactions with those I care about. I’ve recently been caught out on a few occasions trying to have a conversation with my wife, whilst thumb surfing on the iPhone. Needless to say I haven’t yet mastered this art of multi-tasking and nor should I ever want to! We need to ensure that we lay aside the distractions and focus on being in the moment, to build long lasting memories and relationships with those we love. No one ever started a story with “Remember that time we were on our phones…….” Ditch the phone, have daily chats with your other half, read your child a bedtime story from an actual book, go for a walk and admire your surroundings – make lasting memories that will have a greater influence!

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” Stephen R. Covey

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Finding those quiet moments of escapism

I’m pleased to report that my take on Dry January continues to be successful; it’s now been just over two weeks.  I haven’t missed it, but I did however miss the announcement of a good friends’ daughter being born – luckily my wife fills me in from time to time on the meaningful.

I’ve been reading about escapism and mindfulness recently and it’s interesting that the former can have negative connotations.  For instance, our attempt at escapism may in fact be us trying to avoid responsibility or reality; often in the form of procrastination.  This will vary for everyone but being immersed in our iPhone or iPad, constant thumbing through social media news feeds, video games, rubbish TV, etc.  Now don’t get me wrong after a tough day at work or a bad night with the baby, these are much needed and essential sometimes!

However, these activities and many others are now our norm and reality.  You only have to walk down the road and realise that 9 out of 10 people are walking head down, looking at their phone.  So escapism and mindfulness is attempting to take time off and away from these activities; rather allowing the mind and our consciousness to expand and not be preoccupied and therefore limited.

“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”

 Jiddu Krishnamurti

I’m fortunate enough to work in a London office only a stones throw away from the Tate Modern.  Where possible I always try to get away from my desk at lunch time to get some fresh air and I’ll often pop into the Tate for some inspiration (escapism) whilst surrounded by creativity.

Last Friday in fact I popped in for just 15 mins to explore a section and came across: Babel 2001 – a Tower of radios by Cildo Meireles….


A beautiful blend of old and new radios all tuned to different stations and playing to represent the world of information overload we live in. This really resonated with me and it was great to find a piece of artwork so aptly aligned with my recent thoughts.

With the constant battle for our attention, it’s high time to tune out the noise and find those quiet moments of escapism.

 

A slightly different approach to Dry January

dry-jan

I had every intention of writing this on January 1st – well I’m a few days late, but then I also said this time last year that I was going to write once a week in 2016.  I nailed that with a whopping one post!  So here’s to reaching greater heights in 2017!

A few days into ‘Dry January’ now but not in the traditional sense.  I don’t drink anyway so I decided to take the spirit of this annual movement and apply it to Facebook.

Facebook.  I find myself spending countless time trawling through a newsfeed that no longer provides much of anything really.  Fake news, Brexit debates, US election outrage, advertising galore – oh and the occasional photos from a distant acquaintance.

So on December 31st, i deleted the app from my iPhone, logged out from both work and personal laptops and vowed to go a month without it.  Am I missing it?  I can’t say I am, I don’t feel like there is a huge void or anything.  Having recently become a parent to the most adorable little girl, I am mindful of making sure that family time is prioritised over screen time and saw this as a good step in the right direction.  I think all of us can benefit from an occasional digital detox.

I’m hoping to use the hours this month of reclaimed Facebook time to:

  • Actually take some quiet time out to think and reflect.  This might sound obvious, but ask yourself just how often you do this – it’s few and far between these days I’m sure…
  • Read.  Be it blogs, books, inspirational articles, podcasts, TED talks (sometimes my eyes get tired)
  • Learn how to actually use the Nikon DSLR i just bought and take some amazing photos of my daughter.  Warning – if I do go back to Facebook in February, your newsfeed will be spammed with these photos.

Five days in and still going strong and I’m hopeful that Dry January can establish some ‘better’ habits and set the tone for 2017.