Three notes on culture and new ways of marketing

Who owns culture
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All of us are seller, and I mean it literally. Why? Because all of us are selling something. We give something in exchange of something. But, allow me to give the first note: The transaction does not always happen in reciprocity; sometimes we pay it forward. You might give something to someone, and that someone then give that something to someone else. Even though this ‘pay it forward’ is not something we usually aware of, I’m pretty sure all of us have done that at least once. However, the bottom line here is that whatever we are doing, we are doing it in purpose.

Somebody once said this to me : Sometimes, doing is just doing, just like listening to music is just listening to music. Yes, that’s true. And, it still has a purpose: To get to whatever the reason that makes someone listening the music. I say, we all have reason for everything we have done, and more things to come; and therefore, we do everything for its purpose. It’s by nature a transaction.

Here is where I put the second note: Transaction is not just monetary transaction. And therefore, selling is not only giving something in exchange for money. Money is intermediary instrument that represents value. That value is what we are seeking; it is our purpose. We work not for the money, but for the value entitled to the money. The value of which we can use in effort to create our wellbeing (whatever it may be). Thus, we are sellers. We sell ideas, things, efforts, properties or time; to gain values. Is not about the thing we sell, but what value embedded in that thing that sells. We give those values in exchange for another. Selling is a basic way of value exchange.

Wait……this sounds more than just selling! We are discussing about ‘pay it forward’ and value exchange. We are not discussing about pricing, unit cost and profit margin. On second thought, perhaps we are discussing a larger topic: marketing?

Yes, we are! In most cases, selling is more about direct selling. And, I believe that we are no longer in the era of selling. This is no longer the time when we just offer a thing with what we claim as a good price. In this era, we need to create values in the environment, values that lead to a belief of what ‘good’ means. In contrary to value claiming in selling, marketing is more about value creation. And, value creation is about value exchange and creating trend (‘pay it forward’). So, here comes the third note: We all are marketers, and through marketing, we create culture.

In selling, we sell things, and claim those things as good and valuable. That’s it. Marketing is way over that. We exchange values, and by doing that we offer alternatives to our surrounding about what is valuable. Look at cellphones, Facebook or other media trends. They all started from the value creation (or should we say: value inception) that communication can and should be more advanced with varieties. Before them, wireless communication and public media profile are privileges for high-profile figures. Now, almost everyone communicate through wireless and expressing themselves in their public profile. Look at malls, fashion and beauty business. They started from a value creation that defines happiness as glamorous appearance and lifestyle. Before them, only high-profile celebrities live glamorous. Now, almost everyone wants to be a celebrity : )

All of these results from value creation through marketing. Nobody is selling Facebook or malls, because we’ve done the marketing for them. The viral value creation happens through ‘pay it forward’ transactions, and social trends are emerging. Not just transactions, we create culture!

Marketing does not happen in commerce only. Leaders market their values and ideas to their follower. Teachers market their value and understanding to their students. Authors market their values, thoughts and feelings to their readers. Organizations market their values, visions and missions to their stakeholders. We all are marketers, and by doing that, we craft our culture. Nothing in this is essentially new, but I doubt many people ever seriously think about this : )

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16 thoughts on “Three notes on culture and new ways of marketing

  1. Its just another ways of saying, that we are a transactional being. It means that we are what Aristotle said a zoon politikon, political being. We sell and buy from our society almost all the time. In the theories of globalization, this situation is called interdependence of man and civilizations. The development of information technology make it all easier. We are connected, someways or another.

    1. Yes, there are no such thing as “tanpa pamrih” hehehe : ) We are all subsystems of a greater system, and that put ourselves as creative agents. The issue, though, how many people are aware of this? Most of us are good agents for trends without awareness. Most of us are good agents for hegemony, and who cares to think what hegemony is it? What a systemic phenomenon : )

      1. There are no such thins as free lunch. ..hmm.. or actually there is?

        Recently, I am writing about Zizek’s philosophy on man and ideology. As you might actually know, the Marx’s critique of capitalism is deeply influencing him. One thing that came to my mind is, that the concept of superstructure which is legitimizing the established economical relations in the society, namely capitalism, is actually a hegemony. In this sense, hegemony and ideology are both a false consciousness, namely the incorrect things to perceive reality. In other words, all the educational, law, culture, politics, and even fashion are a slave of capitalism mode of economical relations. It all exist to justify the existence of capitalism!

        All these things make people see social injustice and economic repression merely as something natural. It clouds our judgment, our perception concerning right and wrong. This is hegemony in the purest sense! This is ideology!

      2. I couldn’t agree more! The illusion of layers and stratification creates the existence of power distance, levels and authority of the higher structure. We divide ourselves into layers, and that is what feeds economy.
        The same thing with solar system. We say the sun is the center, while actually the push-and-pull attraction between planets and the sun that actually creates the solar system. Without the magnetic field covering all the planets, the sun, moons and asteroids; there will be no solar system. The field is created systemically by all of them, not just the sun.
        The same thing with the God-human relation or heaven-earth-hell thing : ) No human, no God and Heaven (I’m listening to Marx, Zizek or even Nietzhe now…..). Hehehehe….what a tricky mindtrap…… : )

        I see this as epistemological discourse. I see this the paradox of system and subsystem, and this is the basic ideology of what we call as life : )

  2. Satu poin yg membuat aku tertarik pak, dan mungkin sangat menyimpang jauh dari topik.. Klo misalnya, kita sma ini adh seorg marketing dan yg mengambil andil dalam menciptakan suatu budaya.. tapi yang membuat saya skr penasaran adh, kenapa bisa muncul yang namanya budaya copy paste dlm dunia marketing… Entah itu memarketing diri sdr ato menjual sesuatu.. Kemudian malah hasil copy paste yang mengatas namakan ‘mendapatkan inspiratif’ laris manis di pasaran…?’

    1. Ya itulah pay-it-forward, meskipun dalam level terendah karena benar-benar mencuri dan menjiplak, bukan terinspirasi : ) Tidak ada ide yang namanya orisinal tulen, Yul. Kenapa? Ya karena kita ini bagian dari sistem yang lebih besar, dan kita ini ‘cuma’ connector ide dari satu ke yang lain melalui 5 dimensi. disitulah tercipta trend dan budaya lewat pola imitasi, konformitas dan inspirasi.

      Tapi, pada momen tertentu, ada orang yang meniupkan inspirasi yang di luar pikiran orang umum. Jadinya bukan copas, tapi perubahan.

  3. So what you mean is, that the essence is in the relation, and not in the prime concept itself? Actually, I remember what Niklas Luhmann wrote. He said that the essence of system is communication. And communication is built by the network of relation. In todays terms, the essence our social problems is in the power relations between various systems, and we just people who live in the “desert” of power relations.

    Concerning hegemony, Plato wrote over 2000 years ago about the story of the cave. Maybe you’ve heard it. In essence, many people don’t want to go out of the cave and shadow, because they already comfort it. Remember the matrix, we live in network of computer and data system. Only a handful of people are crazy enough to break down the spell of cave, shadow, and computer systems, which are an analogue of hegemony.

    Sadly, maybe you and I are one of the crazy people?

    1. Yes, it’s about relationship and its patterns. And yes, we are getting crazier, although I”m not sure to put that in comparison with other. What I think is more pertinent is that we are happy of our exploration ; )

  4. haha I wanna try use english,..^^
    wew,.I never think about my self as marketer like what u wrote,. and this note make me reflected again with my life, like u said before: lecture marked their value, you really do it to your student ^^
    and you forced it extremely with ur special system,.

    btw, it make me rethink about the first met in po class: linchpin was a creative person, who actually is became a part of his subsystem. But he can thought out of the box, so he could be a marketer who make everyone happy cz he didn’t make them late they departure,. so he is creative+good marketer. but become a person like linchpin isn’t easy, it need sacrifice which u call with pay it forward too

    1. Yes, you see what most people do not……I’m a marketer myself, and in the context of classroom, I’m marketing learning habits. Well, that is what an instructor should do, right?

      ….and about your thoughts about linchpin, I’m not sure I got your points precisely….but, I agree that linchpin is creative and good marketer. Creativity means nothing without social influence to environment. If you have great ideas, but none of the environment are influenced or changed by that idea…….then you just have an idea, that’s all. It is not creativity. Real creativity takes form as trend and change. If you have only ideas, it shows you have ideas or theories. Creativity is application and practice of change.

      ….and yes, it is not easy…it needs practice : )

      1. haha ya klo q harus jujur bpk salah satu spesies dosen langka d wm = )
        yg ttg linchpin tu maksut q slaen yg ttg creatifny(yg sdh jelas) tp juga ttg bagaimana kekreatifan itu punya harga yg harus d perjuangkan,.
        wew,. baca komen2 ini mala membuat mempertanyakan bbrapa kesesatan dalam psikologi yg teori nya sudah jaman bahelula tp pastinya sudah ada yg baru karena d luar sana juga pasti banyak orang kreatif/kritis,. 🙂

      2. Kok kedengerannya seperti hewan yang dilindungi gitu : )

        Hehehe…..kesesatan datang dari ketidakpekaan pada perubahan jaman : ) Dan, yang lebih penting adalah bagaimana kamu memaknai teori, seberapun tuanya, dalam praktek di masa depan……

  5. Em.. membaca replynya sir saya jadi mempertanyakan..
    kenapa kita harus menjadi orang yang kreatif? bukannya selain orang kreatif ada org kritis?
    bahkan setahu saya lebih banyak org kritis yang tdk kreatif lebih sukses dari pada org kreatif.
    seperti perkataan yulinda.. banyak orang yang mengkritisi suatu ide kreatif lalu menyempurnakannya ( mgkn bahasanya copas tingkat tinggi) dan menyatakan bahwa hal tersebut adalah ide kreatif alami dalam dirinya . bahkan di dalam membuat perubahan di dalam organisasi peran orang kritis mnrt saya lebih besar dari pada orang kritis meskipun mmg keseringan org kritis mati “ide”he3x..

    nah kenapa kreatifitas mempunyai point yang tinggi di masyarakat kita? bahkan byk org menserukan ini jamannya “org kreatif “, namun kenyataannya orang kreatif lebih sedikit yang sukses dari pada pembajak “ide kreatif”nya.. thx

    1. Aku setuju! Sebenernya kreatif tidak akan ada tanpa kekritisan. Kreatif itu bicara cerdas (smart), bukan pintar saja. Nah, masalahnya kreatif di Indonesia sering hanya dibatasi pada pintar bidang seni. Jadi kalo kita sekarang bicara sekolah supaya kreatif, pasti yang diomongin sekolah DKV, musik, interior, arsitek dan lain-lain.

      Padahal kreatif itu ya di sekolah apapun dan di bisnis apapun ada. Jadi, pengertian kreatif menjadi ‘sesat’ karena dipersempit pada hal-hal tertentu. Akibatnya, yang sukses-sukses itu banyak yang nggak dianggap sebagai kreatif : ) Padahal, mereka itu orang kritis, dan tahu bagaimana memanfaatkan peluang yang tidak dilihat orang tidak kritis. Nah, itu kan sebenarnya kreatif kan. Definisi umum, dan bahkan definisi ilmu psikologi, malah bisa bikin sesat : ) Untuk jadi kreatif beneran, harus kritis.

      1. Em… jdi inget contohnya bapak proses di temukannya gelas air mineral… setuju2x..
        buat kreatif mmg harus kritis…

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