Today is Bloomsday—the day (June 16, 1904) on which James Joyce’s Ulysses takes place. It’s one of my all-time favorite novels, and as I ruminate on it I realize that it also holds several key lessons for social marketers:
– Change is a journey, one that is often fraught with peril and delay. Even when we know exactly where we’re headed, the road that takes us there may be a long and winding one indeed. We need to prepare for the obstacles and detours and threats that are sure to meet us along the way.
– Most of us have complex and often chaotic interior lives, and murky motivations for our behavior. It’s our duty (and smart strategic planning) to walk a mile or more in our target audiences’ shoes—what’s it like to live through their day?—to better understand why they believe what they believe or do what they do.
– Inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places, and influencers can take the most unlikely forms. Let’s push ourselves to look beyond “proven” venues, channels, and partners. What would the program look like if it were conducted in a seemingly inappropriate setting? Who would be a truly unusual champion or spokesperson? Such exercises might take our thinking in a surprisingly productive direction.
– It’s all too easy, especially for those burdened with experience, to quickly dismiss as improbable or tried-and-failed what might actually be (this time) a breakthrough idea. Like Molly, we need to remember to say Yes.
Happy Bloomsday! Here’s to finding adventure and salvation in the everyday.