If you go to get ice cream or a coffee today, you can get dizzy by the pure abundance of choice. Everyone makes more varieties and the way to deal with clutter is to make more clutter. Give more choices. The irony is that this is not only a challenge for the consumer but also for the organizations who need to think about how to position their product and service and are still stuck in the industrial era. I often wonder when I see the "new and improved" sticker on a favorite brand, does that mean the "old" version sucks and I must toss it out and start over? I guess that's what brands would like us to believe so we will buy more of their stuff.
Abundance is what this "connection" economy is all about. It's no longer just about scarcity. We have so many choices and options open to us, regardless of where we are in the world. In a world of abundance, it is about infinite possibilities, while in a world of scarcity the focus is on marketshare and taking it away from your competitor and making it cheaper. Large companies are still stuck in the world of scarcity, while many entrepreneurs are creating their edge and not trying to fit into existing competitive marketplaces. Some are even tossing out their business plans.
And it makes life tough for those industrialists as the middle is melting and there are billions of places for the people they are trying to reach to go. There is a race to the bottom on pricing -- if someone can make it cheaper, they will. This puts huge pressure on industrialists, especially as mobility and real-time solutions spread through social networks.
Being a trustworthy source of information is a rare commodity. Stories are the new (old) ways to connect people. You can undermine the old world mindset by sharing stories. Either way, people will tell stories about you -- with or without you being there. It's happening already. How can you tell stories to people that get under their skin? You can take videos of your customers talking about what you do and you can edit it into a narrative. You can create a different version of your skills and present it in a video or blog that will make people want to hire you. Talk in a way that people want to hear rather than needing to fit into some one else's cookie cutter story.
How Do You Choose?
Everyone has their own path. Some are just starting out, while others end all too soon. Whatever course you are on, the choices you make define who you are. We make hundreds of choices every day. Most of them innocent decisions like, "should I "go to the gym or skip it today?" Others require a bit more thoughtful, like, "should I order the grilled cheese with fries," which I love, or be "good" and get the salad, "which I know is better for me but won't satisfy my grilled cheese craving?"
And then there are those really tough choices we make about the course of our lives. Choices. They're the ingredients of our lives; they shape us. The choices we make in how we invest our time can either stifle us or bring a whole new world of possibilities.
Do you think of them as choices? Have you ever noticed that so many people have advice for you about what you should do with your life, career and relationships? How does anyone know you? And yet, the self-help cookie cutter solutions sell and the number of books, articles, blogs and workshops are increasing to instruct you on what to do. Most people have a thirst for quick fixes, templates, Dummies Guides, and top five 'how to' steps.
For those living in abundance, we are overwhelmed by the choices and often blame technology. It's never about the tool. The tool is not to blame for the choice you made to be online or read your email. The secret is to customize the technologies that would work best for you and your situation. To simplify and make them part of your life instead of signing up for a technology detox program.
You can choose what other people think is important or acceptable to show them you fit in to their world. That's the goal of advertising. Or, you can decide to take a risk and take a different path. What's the worst thing that could happen?