I first saw that phrase on a poster at my High School as part of an ASB Student Council Election campaign. I was the editor of my school paper and was covering the campaign and so I noted it. That was in 1977 and I still remember it. What I can't tell you is anything else about the candidate or the message that followed, except that the candidate lost the election.
Later on in life I spent a lot of time working on a cattle ranch. One night around the fire after a spring roundup, I heard a ranch boss tell the story of a man who had a mule that he couldn't work. He tried everything and finally hired a man with a reputation for training the most stubborn creatures. The trainer arrived at the ranch one morning and he agreed to see the mule. He picked up a hunk of wood and stepped into the corral. He walked up to the mule, looked him square in the eye and smacked him with the wood just as hard as he could, right between the eyes. The owner of the mule was shocked! He said, "I thought you said you had come to train my mule!"
The trainer said, "Yes sir, and I will. But I've gotta get his attention first."
The first goal of most marketing plans is to grab attention - sometimes by brute force. Perhaps internet media is no different. My conversations with the web design people I know would seem to re-enforce this view. "You only have 3 seconds" they say, "to get their attention". I understand quite well the need to "brain" the victims of our schemes. But I wonder if there is some more interesting finesse required here in the online game.
We're dealing with a whole herd of, "self selecting" mules who have been "brained" for years. They won't stand for it again, will they? Perhaps we need a "Whisperer".
A whisperer is a trainer who establishes the basis for a conversation with dumb animals over time. By understanding their needs and wants, he becomes the natural leader of the individual animal and eventually the whole herd. It's a long term investment that requires patience, study, perception, communication and self control.
Both methods can work. Politicians and Car Dealers have been hitting us over the head for years. A blogger who poses confrontational points can get a quick response. But in a realm that, for the moment, seems conversational and relationship based, is there room for the "whisperer" to be more persuasive in the long run?
After we've got their attention...then what?
The Production Room was founded in 1995 as one of the first full time digital commercial recording facilties on the central coast of California. We started with 4 stereo tracks, 16 mb of ram and a 250 mb hard drive. A lot has happened since then. Today we're focusing on ways to serve clients who are creating web based media content. This includes strategic planning to integrate the benefits of traditional media, web design and IT solutions into new programs produced especially for on-line consumers. Join in the conversation. Throw rocks at glass houses. Share your vision of the future. This is the most progressive time in the media arts since Johannes Gutenburg invented movable type!