According to the latest book by Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception, it’s time to embrace your inner artist as a business owner (or marketing consultant). Why? Because apparently the world has changed and it needs more artists.
“Art is not a gene or a specific talent. Art is an attitude, culturally driven and available to anyone who chooses to adopt it. Art isn’t something sold in a gallery or performed on a stage. Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another….
Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map – these are works of art….that our society embraces and the economy demands.”
And whilst I agree that the world needs more ‘artists’ in every profession, across every nation on earth, the world hasn’t changed. The world has always needed its ‘artists’. Just as the art world would be bereft without Chopin, Beethoven, Callas, Monet – where would the business world be without Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Anita Roddick et al – all of whom were ahead of their time, passionate about their craft and shared it with the world. My favourite marketing artist is Prof Kotler – a veritable marketing god (yes, a god, because he’s been leading the marketing game for about 40 years).
But frankly there have always been people in love with their craft – whether their craft is fashion, architecture, gardening, electrical service, pole dancing, printing, nutrition, or marketing and PR. There’s nothing new about that.
But sometimes as business artists, we need reminding of why we do what we do. It’s to bring something greater than just ourselves to the world. I know when together we ‘crack’ a client’s issue and find the solution – it’s almost as good as creating a child. Then I see that client’s business thrive and I feel like a proud parent.
I was listening to a world renowned musician talking on the radio the other day about some of the challenges he’d faced in his career. He said it took him a long time to realise that performance is a blessing not a test. I was facing my own moment of performance anxiety and needed to hear exactly this.
Instead of focusing on how I might not do as well as I could at a recent workshop – how someone in the audience might know more (there will always be someone who knows more!!), I focussed only on how blessed I was to be in a time and place in my career where I could share what I knew. And, as it turned out, I had a blast of a time – as did the audience and I did indeed feel quite blessed (not a very corporate word I know, but still it’s true).
Embrace your passion for your craft
If you’re in love with what you do, and you’ve played in the corporate space, you, like me, have probably been told that your passion will get in the way (In fact I was told my “weird passion for marketing” was a key reason I didn’t fit into a government space – hmmm!!).
Don’t listen to them – it won’t and it doesn’t. Perfectionism – now that’s a whole different story, but passion – your love of your craft – no, that’s probably one of the best things you bring to the table. It’s what keeps you learning, sharing, forging ahead, taking your clients where they want to go.
I knew this is what I wanted to do, before I’d even knew marketing was what it was called. I knew I wanted to build the business of my clients’ businesses up at age 15. So as a marketing communications professional – am I an artist? Well, I’ve been practicing for a long time. And I’ve been up front in saying that one day I’d love to be considered the Stradivarius of marketing communications. Is that a big call – hell yes! Am I there yet? Nope – not a chance. But I’m working at it every single day. And until I get there, I’ll keep practicing my marketing craft.
A big thank you to all our fantastic clients who let us practice, refine and hone our marketing craft working on their businesses.