We are living in a transitionary period. From analog to digital age. From industrial revolution to information revolution. From boom times to recession. Climate. Politics. Web 2.0. Media. Advertising. You name it.
Changes are scary. Transitions are even scarier. Changes get us somewhere. Transitions leave us in a nowhere land. We know the old is disappearing, fading away. Like a day that disappears in front of our eyes. Transitions are like the dark night. We know there will be a sunrise but we are afraid it might come too late. Or maybe it’s the first day without any sunrise?
The natural reaction to transitions is to go into stealth mode. Since we don’t know where the transition will lead us, we revert back to old, known behaviors, strategies, tactics. That’s a huge mistake.
Old strategies, tactics and behaviors won’t succeed after the transitional period is over. That’s why it’s imperative to experiment as much as we can. Try things. Learn. Collaborate.
Brands have problems with that. They tend to stay away from transitions as much as they can. It used to work that way, why shouldn’t it work again? We’re in a transitionary period from mass media to social media. We all know it. We all feel the major changes about to break and change our world. Our learned behavior tells us to do nothing, to go into stealth mode: “TV still works.” “If Facebook can’t be monetized, the whole idea of social media is completely overblown.”
Transitions are opportunities. Either an opportunity to retreat into passivity and be ruled by fear. Or an opportunity to change the game and lead by courage. Nobody said it was easy. But, looking at history (Coal Mines come to mind) we don’t have a real choice. Unless you regard failure as an option.
Image: Courtesy of Keri Smith.