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The Power of Message

After a week when President Obama challenged our country to a heightened sense of purpose, it seems like a good time to breathe in what he so eloquently brought to bear. We’ve all heard about the tenor and tone of polarizing “political discourse” on society. Most everyone has an opinion on the influencing power of assaultive language on public opinion.

Clearly we don’t need another post about the contributing factors of why unstable people do unspeakable things.  But (and it’s a BIG but!), given that we’re marketing people putting out a marketing blog, I thought I’d share my perspective on marketing communication: It’s about the power of influence.

Money still equals power, the ability to get your message and influence blasted to the masses. Based on a projection by one research firm, the overall 2011 U.S. marketing media spend will be over a quarter trillion dollars. That’s a lot of power and influence. And that’s the simple point of this post: With this power to reach people comes an opportunity, maybe even a responsibility.

Even though it’s our job to sell pet microchip enrollment or soda or cars, we have the opportunity to elevate our message. Brands can be the financier of a positive, compelling message that isn’t at odds with the need to sell more stuff, but is totally aligned with it. People are looking for emotional leadership, and the companies that get that will get business.

There is “real world” carryover from emotionally-centered commercial campaigns. In today’s digital and social media landscape, we’re bombarded by messaging more than ever, and become hourly messengers ourselves. Positive, feel-good communication, even if originated with commercial purpose, can still exert influence.

From “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” to Cisco’s new “Together” campaign, marketing has the power to create a “one world,” all-in-it together landscape. Sentiments of empathy, optimism, compassion, or tolerance can and do come from anywhere.

Make it more human. Corporations can be more personal, be a part of the new message. Let’s keep it positive. For all the right reasons.