Why white collar "knowledge workers" think Malcom Gladwell is worth Plato

Have you heard of this guy ? I came across this insightful article :

"Have you ever had the nagging sense that there's something not quite right with the adulation that follows Malcolm Gladwell - the author of Tipping Point? But you couldn't quite put your finger on it? We're here to help, dear reader.

Gladwell gave two vanity "performances" in the West End - prompting fevered adulation from the posh papers - the most amazing being this Guardian editorial, titled In Praise of Malcolm Gladwell.

It appears that we have a paradox here. A substantial subclass of white collar "knowledge workers" hails this successful nonfiction author as fantastically intelligent and full of insight - and yet he causes an outbreak of infantalisation. He's better known for his Afro than any big idea, or bold conclusion - and his insights have all the depth and originality of Readers Digest or a Hallmark greeting card. That's pretty odd.

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Community Planning is what you get once you've done a good job with Engagement Planning

Last week I was asked why I called a "Community Planning" agency the place where I was an intern. I think it deserves a post. I would call "Community planning" a Planning aimed to build a community of customers. With Engagement Planning you define brand and customers values. But then you have to make those values come to life, and this requires a dynamic community.

With Community Planning, you kind of forget about the brand at the beginning of the process. The first thing we used to do was to identify, for a given product or service, all the people involved in the production, the distribution and the consumption of the market segment. The idea is to reveal the underlying social network behind a specific experience and thus, to understand how the conversation about the product/service works.

When this is done, your job is to find a proper Media strategy to connect all of them : you make the community possible. The community must allow different levels of engagement (this is the "Engagement Planning" part), because your fans will be much more active than a lambda user. For that you have to build -adaptive or not- categories. Then you have a kind of "open access intranet" and consumers are more likely to share their personal experience and their opinion.

The magic thing is that consumers will be involved in future innovations and they will... do your job.

I think that's really what is called Social Media Marketing. But that's not all. The tricky part is to lead the community. A nice thing to do is to organize events. Indeed, the feeling of solidarity is only virtual on the web. But if you make people meet in "real life", they will clearly realize they're part of something. If your event is clever and offer a well-designed experience associated with what th client sells, you will have press coverage and those who couldn't come will be able to watch videos or to read articles.

So, yes, I think that gives a glimpse of what I called "Community Planning".

Nice Ways to Use Melancholy in an Ad ( Epuron & Ikea ) - I Know it's Not exactly Recent but They are my Favourite examples.

I don't like the old Advertising paradigm according to which you should only deal with beautiful people or just nice and cumfortable issues. It's probably true that words connoting sadness or tough events immediately affect your mood, but I think the emotional impact is worth if you're subtle enough to build a happy end. Here are two examples I really like ( let's thank Nathan Dintenfass for his compilation).

A Very Short Post About Personal Life and Storytelling in a Schizophrenic World

Ok, Ok, I'm a sucker for Bob Dylan. It's no that I'm an "emotional fan" : I don't want to collect his panties or whatsoever, really. I don't even think he's a particularly great singer.

But that's the thing about Bob Dylan's fans : we're just attracted, we've watched "No Direction Home" by Scorsese dozens of times and afterward we try to justify our fascination with rhetorical bullshit. Just like a sect.

Maybe Dylan was just the right man in the right place. I think Dylan is a kind of empirical "Ideal Type" (=Pure Type) of Modern Life. As a wannabe, he had fantasies about his own future. As a beginner, he was into Politics. As Establishment, he was a trendsetter. As a human, he thought he could be interested in religion. It's not that simple but, for sure, he's experienced most of the possible psychological states in the contemporary world. He knows about experience.

Anyway, this post is about storytelling. How would you tell the life of such a guy ? Todd Haynes is clearly a genius. His movie "I'm not there" is a breakthrough. His idea is simple : to REALLY tell the story of Bob Dylan, you will need several characters.

And that's it. A cult movie. So, Todd Haynes's target was a easy one : Dylan's fans are.. you know... Like addicts.

But how far this principe of storytelling could be valid ? Let's take a basic customer, and your database... What if you consider each of them as Bob Dylan-like ? What would be the consequences on your statistics ?

Would you call a "ShowTime planner" the guy(s) who knew Dexter and Hank Moody from Californication would catch your Mother ?

Creating imaginary characters to catch attraction is a thing I find really exciting.
I watched all the episodes of both Californication and Dexter. I think Hank Moody and Dexter, the two main characters of these TV Shows, were brilliantly designed to rock.

So, what about them ? There should be a guy who is a "planner" in a way at Showtime. Look at Dexter. It's well-known that people are fascinated by serial killers (just check the audience of movies and books dedicated to those guys).

Why ? It's not our problem but obviously, for law-abiding and "regular people", it doesn't feel comfortable to be fascinated by serial killers. It's not correct, it's disturbing. There's a barrier. So how would you create a successful TV show about a serial killer without causing embarrassment ?

The first insight they use is that people have an innate sense of justice. So Dexter will only kill criminals.

Second insight: clever people will soon think we promote death penalty. So Dexter will be funny, chaotic and sometimes clumsy. Dexter will experience lose of control and depression. There you go. Blockbuster TV Show.

And Hank Moody ? The same pattern.

First insight : cynical people who don't give a fuck and spend their lives having fun seem to be charismatic to "regular" people who lead a "normal" life. They're spicy and medias make them look as if they had no constraints at all. That's the way rock stars get their audience. But the fascination could cause embarrassment here too. "It's not correct".

Second insight : clever people will think we promote operational nihilism and the "not giving a fuck" way of life. So Hank will be like that because he's in love. He will know he destroys himself. It won't be his fault. There you go. Blockbuster TV Show.