5.4.05

Ambiguous Context & Personal Contact

Today, I learned that some people often want something they can’t even describe. It is as though someone comes up and says, “Hey, I just want a widget that allows me to import foreign languages directly through my cerebral cortex without wires, be desirable to youth, and ultimately be an item that Apple computer will eventually purchase from me.” Such a request is not only unhelpful, but ultimately impossible because of the ambiguous nature of the request. People in corporation want the elusive goose that laid the golden egg. Unfortunately, they rarely know where to find it, and even usually are uncertain as whether they want a goose and golden eggs or a golden skillet to fry eggs. Principles. When working in marketing and PR, I am being asked to discern the principles behind the request that are being made. Like the parables of Jesus, I have to read with an eye toward something that isn’t being said clearly. One says, “I really like this,” but that doesn’t mean he wants a rip-off of that product. Another says, “I don’t like that aspect,” but that doesn’t take into consideration that elements of color, design, shape, size, stock, and image/text are like lines in a symphony. Changes in one line impacts the entire tenor of the piece. You can’t willy-nilly drop a E flat into a piece written for C major just because Beethoven used the E flat well in his Symphony No. 3. Principles and discernment. Ultimately, that is what I’m called to: finding the story in the parable.

I also learned that even the greatest PR / marketing pieces cannot replace the human element of personal contact. There remains a certain quality of human experience that is not moved by the mere reference to imagery or text, but is stirred deeply by the mouth of a friend used to encourage, inspire, and imagine. We pursue messages not as an end to product, but to the end of persons. Community over consumerism will have greater effects in reaching people with a message of hope that runs deeper than the moments of discouragement, disillusionment, and depression. We wither under the constant drip of commercialism—like over-watered herbs—but blossom under the warm sun of friendship. Principles and discernment cannot be ignored. But neither can people.