Beyond the Normal Ant Hill

This week a brand with strong direct to consumer game asked me, “When should we return our marketing to normal?”

“Normal?” I said, “Like, back to the way things used to be? Um, never?”

Papa Chouinard has this analogy he likes to tell that people are just like ants … just going about life, working, eating, building alongside everyone else doing the exact same thing. Civilization is all just one big ant pile.

If you’ve seen an active ant hill, you get what he’s saying.

It’s easy to laugh that off, but think about it for a sec.

We get up, take a run, grab some food, take a shower, get the kids out the door to school, jump in the car, drive to work, go from meeting to meeting, drive home, eat dinner, family time, Netflix time, bedtime.

Zoom out, and all that activity at scale sure looks like an anthill.

We’re creatures of normal. Normal is a state of typical. Which is important for how we’ve built a lot of our the systems.

But, this seems like a pretty good time to ask yourself and your company, what if I/we didn’t return to that old normal, what would it look like?

What if we didn’t go back? What if we were the ant that wasn’t doing what everyone else was doing?

What if we all decided never again to be just a brand selling just a thing?

Instead, what if our companies supported people, made lives better, and didn’t mess up the world around us in the meantime? 

What if we all used our businesses to change systems for the better? What if clean air and compassionate politics was normal?

What if all of business had the integrity of Constructive Brands?

What if that was normal?

That’d be an ant hill I could live on.

Hope you can shake up normal routines and surprise yourself with possibilities this weekend, even while staying home.