marketing & design

Can Marketing Stop Inflation?

by Brian James Rawson
September 9, 2022

Watch the episode above. Read the transcript below.

Episode Transcript

I'm Brian Rawson from Owl Street Studio, and today we're talking about the influence marketing has on the unexpected areas of our life.

I listen to a lot of news and follow a lot of current events, podcasts, economic news, kind of a smorgasbord of current happenings. And what's been on top of so many people's minds (or at least, that's what The News says) is inflation.

Our Perceptions Directly Influence Inflation

One of the interesting things about inflation is the knowledge that it's led by our perceptions. No matter what global forces are in play, or local, national, political and economic forces are in play - the largest contributing factor to inflation is how we think about it, what we believe about it, what we learned about it, what we know about it. In other words, it's marketing.

Marketing Influences Our Perceptions

Yeah, I define marketing as what sparks conversations between people. What's the gossip? The “He said, She said,”? The, “Hey did you hear about this”? -  to me that is really what marketing is. Marketing, when it comes down to it, is a means to an end to achieve worth now.

And usually, that power to achieve word of mouth is harnessed to sell things. But marketing can be much broader than that. And can we change inflation with marketing?

(I'm not in a position to really test this out. This is all a thought experiment.) But maybe? What if we just changed our perceptions about it? What if we change the story? What if we change that word of mouth? Would it affect inflation?

News Media is Just Marketing

And I would argue that this patchwork, conglomerate, unprecedented coalition that we have of The Media (capital “T”, capital “M”) that's what they do is marketing; that's what all of that 24 hour news cycle is - is just one perpetual, “He said, She said” word of mouth; and that they drive the story. And how they report it, how they talk about it changes how other people talk about it. And so it's this weird feedback loop.

The News reports it one way. People hear that. Then they talk with their friends about it in that way, and then when the news comes in to interview them - all of sudden now people say what the News already said back to them, and it gets picked up, amplified, and echoed.

Now, I’m just talking out loud here. I'm not saying this is good or bad or making any sort of moral or ethical or emotional judgment or evaluation. I'm just talking out loud. I don't know if this is good or if it's bad, but I know it is - that I do know.

Harness Marketing for Good

And my thinking is, “What if we could just harness this for what we want it to do?” Kind of like noticing electricity in the natural world- if you see lightning strike, it could be from God. It could be from electrons. It doesn't really matter which one, but we know that it is. So instead of being frightened by it or intimidated by it, what if we harnessed it? What if we used it to do what we want to do? (Now hopefully what we want to do is morally sound). But maybe we can harness how we talk to each other to actually slow down inflation?

Stop Being Afraid to Live

What if instead of being controlled by fear, controlled by the anxiety of the future and the unknown and stoked by Talking Heads and talking voices in our headphones as we walk (getting a little meta - I understand that's what we're doing right now). But maybe we can use all of that to change our conversation and maybe that can change inflation?

You Chose How to Feel

I can't stop the war in Ukraine. I can't solve COVID. I can't fix supply chains. I can't change Congress or The Government (not all by myself). But what I can do is I can change my thinking. I can control and choose how I want to talk about it, how I want to feel about it, and how I want to express that and share it with other people. I believe every one of us has that power to control our own thoughts and choose who we want to feel and how we want to communicate and what we want to communicate.

It's not easy. It's not easy to be aware of your thoughts and understand your conversation both internally and you use it with other people. And I think there is a limit to our self awareness. The most intune person still has a ceiling with their self-awareness.

But I don’t think it's a zero sum game. I think that a little bit is better than nothing. I think, at least, making incremental steps and progress to understanding our internal thoughts and understanding our internal conversations and understanding how we express that outwardly. I think that is good enough.

But, what do you think?

--- End of Episode ---

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