April 06, 2020

Going nowhere? Have a word.

Posted by Alan Stobie
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Since we’re all cooped up in our homes, we should have a word.

The word is inertia.

So let’s look at a dictionary definition. There are two meanings. The first is apathy; the inability or unwillingness to move or act.

The second is more scientific - resistance to change.

It’s Newton’s first law of motion.

Which, simply put, is this. Objects tend to keep on doing what they are doing.

It is the natural tendency of every object to resist changes to its state of motion. If they are at rest, they will have a propensity to stay at rest. And if they are moving at a constant velocity, they would, similarly, have a propensity to continue.

So things that are stationary, should be biased on remaining stationary.

And things that are moving, should, essentially always want to stay moving.

The point? Well, as Mr Newton ascertained, objects don’t want change.

People are exactly the same. Everyone has their routine.

Alarm goes off. Wake up. Hit snooze for another 10 minutes. You get up, jump into the shower and eventually sort yourself out. Breakfast. If you don’t have kids, this is a seamless affair. No hassles. Breakfast accompanied with morning news. Jump in car, head to train station, hop on bus. Then off to work. If you have kids, add a level of mayhem to that last paragraph, wherever you see fit. Mix it up completely once, twice, three, four, five etc times (dependant on the number of kids).

In a nutshell, life is a continuum.

So, in comes the world disruptor. The contentious, coughing cocophony of Covid-19 is upon us.

Life has gone upside down.

We work form home now. The routine has gone haywire.

Alarm goes off. Today is cocked up. Fuck-a-doodle-doo.

Every part of our normal routine is now different. We don’t have our normal route to work. We go to the kitchen or sit on the end of the bed.

Life just got wheelie bin shaped.

But, actually, it didn’t.

And here’s where we get back to the inertia thing. Newton’s law. Objects keep on doing what they are doing.

So take heed. Keep doing what you normally do. You’re just doing it from a slightly different place. And you have more time. No journey to work. No journey from work. Travel costs got a little better. Yes, I could have said, zero, but some people buy tickets in advance and I’m human, and naturally sympathetic.

We are an agency. We have clients all over the world. They’re going through the same thing as us. Some exactly, some a little, shall we say, less contained. So it’s paramount, our clients know we’re on this even better than we were before.

You can’t do nothing. If you’re asleep, other people are wide awake, busily eating your lunch. Which highlights a point – marketing in B2B was once golf days, crawfish lunches and general indulgence. Now it takes a little more work. A little more thought, and yes, effort.

Today, we are technologically focused. The world is fast moving. Non stop commerce. People are at home. But they are still buying stuff. We are working from home and we need to unearth, realise and generally work out how to attract new opportunities, while we are in the same boat. How do you connect with people who may have more time on their hands?

How? Communication channels. Interesting social posts. Videos that relate to to audiences. Compelling webinars. People are all looking at screens. So get onto them. Almost everyone, right now, in this very moment in time, going through this viral lockdown is in marketing terms, in the interest space.

So interest them.

Worse still, and heaven forbid, we could pick up a telephone (or like some in this modern 2020 world without landlines, mobile or cell) and talk to people. We can do that you know. We are allowed.

It’s business as usual. Ok, business as unusual, if you will. Use your time wisely to help others. Maintain the momentum. Sustain the business you do. If you’re a desk jockey, or at least someone who can work from a kitchen table, this is easy.

If your job relies on doing something physical, or is paramount you are at your place of work, then spending the time at home is a little more tricky. Analyse ways you could make your job easier once you go back to it. Look at how your working days are normally spent, and work out ways to make them more efficient, or more enjoyable.

When we are faced with something challenging, there are three responses: fight, freeze or flight.

Fight and flight can be related. Firstly you fight on, picking yourself up, dusting yourself down and getting back on the horse. Get on with it. Now, the flight response is an interesting one. Flight can be used to your advantage. Explore other ways of doing things. You’re in the perfect place to do this. You’re somewhere else already. If you look in the same place for the same things, you’ll get the same results. But if you’re forced to look elsewhere, in a figurative sense, try and work your way back from there. Us creatives do it all the time. It’s where the gems can be found. You’ll unearth really good, really unique solutions to problems. It’s something Edward De Bono would encourage.

The most ridiculous one is the middle. Freeze. The point where inertia creeps in. Bleurgh, this is difficult. Life is hard. You’re not helping anyone. Except your competition.

Instead, maintain your momentum. It’s the law. Not mine. Newton’s.

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