Pablo Picasso and George Braque introduced the world to Cubism.
Cubism was an art movement in which perspective with a single viewpoint was abandoned.
I love Cubism. I love the way in which it has infected many of the things that have happened to us since.
You see its influence, for instance, in David Hockney’s collages of Polaroids.
Away from art, Cubism has had a profound influence on the way in which we absorb information. We rarely see things from a single viewpoint anymore. We assemble a collage of the world. We take our influences from many directions. Every decision we make has a bibliography.
It’s the antithesis of what we’re sometimes led to believe. Lots of marketeers talk about the way the world is now ‘curated’ for us, enabling us to make easier choices from fewer things. Really? I see no shortage of influences on my decisions. I invest more time wading through more options and canvassing the views of others than I ever have. If we take the reductive definition of ‘curate’ as selective choice, I’m afraid I missed that memo. We hunt and gather ideas, facts, opinions – and then we make our choices in a far more informed way than ever before. We look at a choice from many viewpoints, assemble a cubist view of the world, and then make our choices. Even the choices that we make no longer mean stasis. We change our tune. The days of the inert customer are over.
For businesses and brands this has huge implications. The old ‘let’s tell them what we offer’ approach to marketing no longer works. Markets are conversations – and the decisions we take are influenced by conversation, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the news, Pinterest, SnapChat, blogs, TV, radio and so much more. We search, share and shop in tribes. Brands aren’t managed anymore. Marketing professionals are brand shepherds.
Our task is to tell your story in a way that influences opinion – and influences people to share positive opinions – and influences people to share the influential opinions that have been shared with them by influential opinion formers who have themselves been influenced – and….
You get the idea.
It’s a bit like that movie Inception.
It’s a bit like the ship carrying ship carrying ship carrying ships carrying ships.
Nothing is as simple as it was. There are layers to the world and we need to train our senses and our marketing instincts in new directions. When we look at ourselves in the mirror we should see a Picasso portrait.