The Impact of Marketing on Society as a Whole!
There are lots of mediums we can apply our Graphic Design experience to, and because of this we are hopefully able to have a more actualized perception of our job and tasks. Graphic design not only requires creativity and skill of the programs, but most of it is psychology and much time is spend considering audiences and expectations. We are (hopefully) not going to be simplified to a specialized task for our job, we are expected to have independent thought and constantly weighing the ends and means of our actions not just on the company but society as a whole. This is awesome! So lets look at a medium we will be working with, marketing, and define ways we can have an upper hand at creating a better world, for as in a previous post I wrote that marketing is a notion of authority that has potential to breed a society either hyper-suspicious and cynical or mindless zombies. So how can marketing be healthy for both the company and the consumer?
It could probably start by not seeing our neighbors as consumers.
In a cynical point of view which may or may not be true, it seems our capitalist world is going down the inevitable track of valuing consumption over community. With our technologically advanced and globalized world we can be friends with people across the world or a few blocks down the street, no big deal, but when it comes to going 'home' and feeling welcome surrounded by neighbors that look after you this isn't always the case now a days. I remember having block parties every years in our neighborhood, but that notion of community and belonging dissipated into staying in and tending to our own interests.
And maybe this lack of neighborhood community is being replaced with more voluntary and proactive community, for because of our economy we are able to have time finding out what we specifically enjoy, in turn creating community out of those interests. This might not mean you and others that enjoy the same scene as you happen to live next door on a block, but you make it work.
But back to marketing and society. No one enjoys being told what to do or what to believe, which essentially is what marketing is doing. Marketing is also simply communicating, but there is so much at stake to the company's bottom line the 'communicating' results in 'cpersuasion' (I was doing good with alliteration with the letter 'c' up until this point). Looking at the marketing of Jesus! I was 'cpersueded' by the marketing tactics of the cool, alternative Pentecostal church from about 7th grade to 12th grade, which might be why I am now so sensitive and perceptive of roles of authority, persuasion, and the ends and means needed to do so. But after falling out of the dogmatic believe system and writing reflective papers on the matter I realized the real reason I was voluntarily consumed with this subculture for so long even though I was constantly justifying the irrational fundamentals of the belief system was a combination of--- fear and community. We were fearful of eternal fire and brimstone for us and our loved ones, but I think we were actually mostly fearful of loosing the loving, supporting, and welcoming community we were a part of. I also realized a lot of situations in life outside of a religious standpoint are rooted with fear and the desire for community, which seems like a pretty natural drive looking at humans in a evolutionary perspective.
So if two strong human drives are fear and community, how does that relate to marketing? Well is shows why the act of marketing will always have conflicting sides. It helps get rid of a sense of fear for the company, in turn the individual workers within the company, but it also threatens our sense of community, forcing us to treat our neighbors as consumers over comrades.
As newly budding graphic designers going into the field I think we should be considering what our role is in society, and to not be afraid to stand up for ethical issues. I'm sure most of us will be just happy to get a job no matter what, and we aren't entering our jobs like we are going to take over the place or anything like that, but to keep our world progressing and considering how large a design community there is in Minneapolis, its good to consider at least.