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A few opinionated thoughts and semi-coherent questions with a lot of disparate links: What if brand purpose is a far weaker force than the industry would have us believe?

One that can bind employees together and provide a lattice for growing unified culture that leads to stronger, more sustainable organizations? But, at the same time, one that simply does not extend to motivating your customers to purchase, customers who do not buy your why, but what you actually sell?

What if brand purpose isn’t one of the critical decision-making factors that motivate purchase, but simply helps us affirm our purchase as a good decision afterwards, mitigating buyer’s remorse? What if brand purpose is, at best, just a kind of minor friction remover before purchase? Is it ever a genuine facilitator of that ever-elusive “brand loyalty”? What is the ultimate purpose of brand purpose then, and is the juice ever really worth the squeeze? Or this still essentially a PR exercise for most? Is brand purpose then not simply another component of the grand illusion used to provide cover for preserving the status quo instead of changing the world? …


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how we reach others, how we step outside ourselves, how we create mindfully

“In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding — in time, in space, in culture. For one cannot even really see one’s own exterior and comprehend it as a whole, and no mirrors or photographs can help; our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space, and because they are others.” — M. BAKHTIN


We slip down the steps of the Parthenon, running across the crisp sunny lawn and into the dark shade of nearby oak trees, back toward the access road leading to the car retrieval.

That’s when we hear the music. The unmistakable jingle that announces the arrival of happiness and compels Nashvillians of all ages to fling themselves outside with their signing fingers held high in the air, ready to buy.

“Let’s stop for a minute,” I suggest, retracting my respirator collar and raising both eyebrows to signal our interest to the approaching vendor.

“Aren’t we supposed to be evading arrest for inciting a riot?” …


Real geese and giant plastic geese with people pedaling away inside them populate the surface of Lake Watauga, an artificial pond created for the 1897 Tennessee state exposition to accompany the replica Parthenon. We stop at a kiosk to purchase bread and grain pellets to throw at the aquatic wildlife.

But first, a quick visit to the Shrine of the Bandshell (as marked on the park map), the remnant of the original bandstand built for the exposition, now incorporated into the new complex and home to a colony of feral cats. …


At this point, a proper narrator would take the time to describe the general aspect of our city to you: What it is like to live in or visit this Nashville of 2031, how the people here get through their days, what they think and feel.

This story has no such narrator. Though you should be provided with some sense of what this place is and has become, and why an outsider pop star like Monsieur M would be inclined to come here.

And, as your time is much too valuable to waste listing columns of minutiae, I will simply provide you with a brief impression of this current metropolitan spacetime in the spirit of a drunken Italo Calvino hurrying home to a hot…


“It was 1977,” continues Monsieur M as we exit the elevator into my unit. “I was the meat in a celebrity love sandwich featuring a buttery-warm Kiki Dee on one side and a crispy-cool Jenny Agutter on the other.”

A set of tiny ice-age figurine replicas kept on a tray to impress the visitors I never receive tumble over like Showa-era comedians as I drop the groceries on the kitchen counter a little too mindlessly.

“The pace of our erotic encounter was frenetic, as we knew the cab ride would only last until we arrived at the Boots chemist’s in Hounslow, where we were promised an audience with the writer-director of Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter.” …


Masked, I advance to the reception area for Terminal G at Nashville International Harbor, dressed in a replica of the Bryan Ferry chauffeur costume from the back cover of Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure album. Here I stand holding a large piece of cardboard over my head upon which shiny silver electrical tape crudely spells out “DRLNG NICKY.”

Standing along with others, an entirely equidistantly spaced human herd, each of us centered on our own this-is-my-personal-space™ tile (violators lose personal wi-fi for an interminable five minutes), I bide my time watching as tiny automated turrets of disinfectant pop in and out of the ceiling to target passersby, a reverse whack-a-mole game delivering micro-doses of gaseous, germ-nullifying goodness to those who set off the sterility scanners. …


The frozen desserts cabinet at the West End Avenue Piggly Wiggly has been nearly emptied of items, probably for some last-minute double-barreled bachelorette or anonymous sex party buffet, but remarkably a large stack of lemon meringue icebox pies remains untouched.

Monsieur M sorts through them, selecting certain ones based on an invisible and unknowable criteria. Three boxes of Mrs. Begemoti’s Big Bad Tart Pie are flung into the grocery trolley. “I’ve always been a tiny bit afraid of lemons,” admits Monsieur M.

Now we set off for the canned goods aisle where we are assured by a native grocery inhabitant that several different brands of frijoles negros can be acquired. Indeed there are many to choose from and, following the same cryptic selection process, Monsieur M adds three cans to the cart. …


mister jones is still dead

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From inside my own mind it seems that other people’s minds are a just a bit like helical, circuit-filled, story-driven libraries, with things more or less in some sort of order, some sort of hierarchy, where they can remember and find and connect pieces of information and ideas.

Not perfect retrieval and memory, but more or less a 4D structure of things referenced via some sort of meaningful frameworks that allow them to use what they know in an efficient way. A spiral encoded with meaning that they can traverse with some effort.

So maybe most people’s mental “librarians” are both lazy and efficient, or efficient because they are lazy, creating the shortest paths to the most sensible set of relationships for making everything make sense all together. …


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“Everything is content.”

“Content is anything that can be placed in a container.”

No, it isn’t. Here’s my provocation:

“Content” is media you would pay money to give your attention to, if you had to pay money for it.

And if content is anything that can be placed in a container, why do some containers have “skip” buttons?

The Voice is CONTENT.
People ACTUALLY WANT to watch content.

Those 30-second things in between The Voice are ADS.
People really aren’t here to watch ads but The Voice. But sometimes they’ll watch anyway.

So, we use THE THINGS PEOPLE WANT TO WATCH (CONTENT) to attract viewers, and then, we interrupt those things they want to watch with THINGS WE WANT THEM TO WATCH (ADS). …

About

Quintin Parrish

creative provocateur, strategy flaneur, culture ferrailleur, shite raconteur. nashville. qparrish.com

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