Op-Ed by: Cheryl Eaton

This week has been funky. Talking to others in the Guru Crew I hear it’s not just me. Lots going on with sick kids, personal waves, general malaise. This morning I realized how much the impeachment trial was affecting my unrest.

I don’t want to assume that everyone reading this is opposed to President Trump. But I do want to use this moment in U.S. history to get on a little soap box, which drills down to my core professional purpose in life:

Use marketing as a source for good not evil.

Marketing creates culture, and marketers are culture makers. Let that sink in… and in a moment of rawness, try to feel the responsibility of that.

We mostly don’t recognize this. Generally, we don’t tend to it. But you will be hard pressed to convince me that in the US of A where capitalism is our religion the above statement is not true.

Think about your own life, and the companies that impact you. Some examples are obvious. Nike. Apple. Google. But all the marketing content coming at us day in and day out stitches together a whole cloth of culture.

President Trump is a MASTER MARKETER. He is able to conjure reality out of thin air by using a key marketer’s trick – the “illusory truth effect,” more commonly known as “repeat something over and over as if it was fact and others will become convinced of it.”

You can’t blame him. It’s working. But it’s a dangerous trick when you’re playing with the cohesion and well-being of a nation and its people. It might be too late, but it’s best we people wake up to the master’s device. Did you see his tweet yesterday? If his newest culture-shift move doesn’t chill you, I don’t know what will.

I wrote these words to my brother today:

Unfortunately he stands as an icon of the bad behavior that gets you ahead in America. Inspiring a new wave of douchebaggery, and in stark contrast to Bud’s Super Bowl commercial.

In my fantasy land that spot was Bud — America’s beer — taking an anti-Trump stance.

I like that idea. Smart marketers are aware of the context of their work. Awake marketers can be clever enough to be aware, meet their objectives, and do it in a package that helps shape the culture. The questions are: Are you awake? and What culture are you creating?

I don’t like the taste of Bud (sorry, I live in microbrew heaven), but I just might switch. I like to vote for our future with my money, and I like to think Budweiser was being consciously subversive. Part of a marketing underground. Is Guru a part of that underground? Am I? I sure hope so.

We can’t blame Trump for using his skill of dictating reality for his own gain. All we can do is become as skilled as he is, and use it not for hate and divisiveness, but for community, cohesiveness, understanding, pride and, dare I say it? Love.

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