Does a Jack Johnson song answer our current marketing challenges?

One of the consistent themes of great songwriters is that they keep the actual meaning of their songs to themselves.

Most do not do this because they are self important, but rather because their labels advise them to so more listeners can relate to their songs by transposing their own meaning, rightly or wrongly, onto them.

Jack Johnson is one of those artists. The other day while I was listening to his Sleep through the Static album, I dreamed that the first song All at Once was speaking directly about the marketing challenges we are facing today.

Below I have attempted to transcribe how the lyrics to All at Once relate to the marketing challenges we face.

Is Jack Johnson a marketing prophet?

Is Jack Johnson a marketing prophet?

All at Once by Jack Johnson

All at once,
The world can overwhelm me
There’s almost nothin’ that you could tell me
That could ease my mind

The proliferation of media is overwhelming. No matter how many blogs you read or seminars you attend, more information tends to make this situation even more mind blowing.

Which way will you run
When it’s always all around you
And the feelin’ lost and found you again
A feelin’ that we have no control

We once thought we could control our brands. Now with the rise of social media, consumers own our brands more than ever, and we need to accept that it will never be the same again.

Around the sun
Some say there’s gonna be the new hell
Some say it’s still too early to tell
Some say it really ain’t no myth at all

New media such as Twitter is heralded by some as the media that will change the world, while others want to wait and see if it is just a fad.

Either way, Twitter is not a myth. It is here now and we need to be thinking about what it means for our brands and our consumers.

Keep askin’ ourselves are we really
Strong enough
There’s so many things that we got
Too proud of

Like TV?

We’re too proud of

Like newspapers?

We’re too proud of

Like radio?

I wanna take the preconceived
Out from underneath your feet
Forget everything you have learned, this is a brave new world of marketing.

We could shake it off
Instead we’ll plant some seeds
We’ll watch em’ as they grow

Its time to dip our toes in the water, and test and learn. Plant some seeds in new media and see what grows.

And with each new beat
From your heart the roots grow deeper
The branches will they reach for what
Nobody really knows

As many futurists as there are, no one really knows which way marketing is heading. The reality is that there is more “strategy by the seat of your pants” than we are willing to admit.

Anyone can retrofit a marketing strategy following success. Fewer can define that marketing strategy before the success comes.

But underneath it all
There’s this heart all alone
What about when its gone
It really won’t be so long
Sometimes it feels like a heart is no place to be singin’ from at all

We are awash with consumer and competitive data, which encourages us to think with our heads. But with the world moving so fast, is all this analysis paralysis worth it?

Or should we be listening to our heart and gut sometimes and just going for it?

There’s a world we’ve never seen
There’s still hope between the dreams
The weight of it all
Could blow away with a breeze

Some new media wont take off, it will gain hype then disappear.

Don’t put your whole marketing budget behind one media.

If your waitin on the wind
Don’t forget to breathe

‘Don’t forget to breathe’ is probably the best advice I have ever heard when it comes to dealing with media proliferation.

Cause as the darkness gets deeper
We’ll be sinkin as we reach for love
At least somethin we could hold
But i’ll reach to you from where time just cant go

See my previous post on the ingrained psychological need for touch that is lacking in most new forms of media. We are reaching for something we can hold.

What about when it’s gone?
It really wont be so long
Sometimes it feels like a heart is no place to be singin’ from at all

In summary, let’s start thinking about marketing strategy with our hearts, and not just our heads.

Thanks Jack!

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Categories: Marketing Strategy


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