Chapter 2. Existential crisis
Today I want to talk about what I am and what I am passionate about, my profession and the fear that invades me when thinking that the way I have been practicing it up to now is at risk. Because I find myself in a blank moment, in adjustment, digesting and evaluating this disruptive turn that is taking everything, processing what is happening and preparing for what is transforming our context and daily routine. At last we were “fortunate “enough to presence and experience the long awaited disruption, but now what?
Just a few days ago I went to visit the ruins of an ancestral Mexican civilization and there was a sign that read: the splendid city was consumed by flames. It was attacked and left alone. Sometime later, calm returned to the city. It had taken its revenge. The artisans will have to go back to cultivating their land or move to other regions where their skills will be appreciated because who would buy their beautiful beaded necklaces? To which temples would the gods carved or modeled by their skilled hands go?
Can what happened to the artisans happen to me? Are the thoughts that we design redundant? Would we really bring value to a world that starts further back?
Since then I can’t stop thinking about what this situation means for a profile such as mine: strategy, branding, marketing and innovation consultant. Four words!
- Strategy: the majority are on-hold. This fear that stalks us as persons, is experienced even more by companies. Any movement can be questioned and a wrong move could lead to not only losing transactions (many are already frozen) but to losing people´s trust. But is it better to just stop doing?
- Branding: When will it be the moment to come out of hibernation and communicate and what will we recommend to communicate? Are brands important now? I tell myself: of course they are. They are if they contribute, feel, if they show vulnerability, if they put people first, if they show that they suffer too, if they give without expecting anything in return, if they connect and sympathize with the risk that we all take as a system and society.
- Marketing: how will the industries be reconfigured? Which markets will come out of this better off? Which ones will have to reinvent themselves? The reconstruction of the pyramid of needs reconciles us with the most basic which is health, safety or jobs. There is a possibility of losing all of that which some took for granted. Many are already losing those things. But what will be essential of how we lived before and want to recover at all cost?
- Innovation: at last the time has come to take off our masks and truly see what is really differentiating for society as a whole. Is it the moment of new pay systems that will help me not touch anything so I won´t catch anything? Will anyone care if there are five new ranges of yoghurt? Will we continue with our defined plans and pipelines after this?
I ask myself these questions over and over again.
So, in addition to going through this state of mourning that everyone is experiencing, and feeling different emotions no longer in bipolar mode but in polisemic mode (vulnerability, perplexity, disorientation, lack of an instruction manual), I am also accompanied by the uncertainties of how I can contribute in the present with what I do and how to continue building during and after this event, how to deal with the multiple scenarios that my imagination goes over and over again regarding the after crisis and they range from “everything is fine” to the most brutal dystopia.
At the moment, while I’m waiting for an answer or I get it from the results of this crisis, my role will be limited to lowering anxiety, being optimistic, being solidary, analyzing opportunities or even entertaining, but above all I want to accompany this process in this year of the brave in which the rules of the game are being rewritten for everyone. Where we must forget about our plans and begin to make new ones.