[Image by marketingfacts]
Ever since Cluetrain we've known that markets were conversations, even if we weren't entirely sure exactly what that meant.
As brands caught up with Doc Searls and co. the shift from monologue to dialogue became a staple of planning decks and the shift was welcomed with open arms. This isn't entirely surprising - according to John Peters in his excellent Speaking into the Air [thanks BigShinyThing for the tip on that one], we have culturally fetishised communication as the ultimate therapeutic tool, the only way to heal relationships.
Accessing each other's unknowable interiority without recourse to clumsy tools like language was always seen as the ultimate end goal - whereas Peters argues the beauty of being human is that we are individual and communicate.
Later we discover that interpersonal intercourse, relationship building, is possibly what drove our cognitive evolution and made us sentient and conversation achieved its apotheosis.
The cultural position of conversation is hard to overstate - but it's not all or nothing [is it ever?], as Richard eloquently points out, brand monologue still has a role. Brands need a point of view and a statement of intent.
That said, I'm still very excited to have contributed some small part to the upcoming book The Age of Conversation.
100+ bloggers have contributed a chapter to the book, which is being sold for Variety, the Children's Charity.
It goes on sale next Monday, so I'll point you in the right direction then. I hope you all buy a copy. I certainly will.
I've written a chapter entitled:
"Don't give me songs. Give me something to sing about."
which the geeky among you will recognise as a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
But don't let that put you off - just check out the other authors and think of the children.
Roger von Oech
Tony D. Clark
Kimberly Dawn Wells
John La Grou
Dr. Graham Hill
S. Neil Vineberg