In a recent series of blog posts, LinkedIn articles, and Tweets, BaudelaireSextonBlake has wondered aloud, “does truth matter?” This comes in reaction to a number of post-election conversations in the media asking, “do facts matter?”
For marketers, and really, to broaden that distinction, for anyone with a story to tell, this is a crucial question. Because it ultimately leads to this question, which is on the minds and tongues of people today across generations:
“Who can you believe?”
We believe we know.
Artists, that’s who.
The recipient of the Cecil B. Demille Award for 2017, Meryl Streep, speaking specifically of the art-craft of acting, did a masterful job of explaining the value of that specific work as being “guardians of the truth.”
As storytellers ourselves, we agree. Wholeheartedly. If you’re one of the handful who hasn’t heard her remarks, click below:
When society seems to be teetering precariously, wobbling through many kinds of imbalance, we seek truth and new stability in all manner of storytelling. We believe our artists. We sing their songs at the top of our lungs in the car during our most charged moments: when we’re angry, when we’re scared, when we’re in love…
If, however, you don’t perceive any such wobbliness, you may want to ask yourself, “Am I a cog?” We’ll cover coggyness, a bit later.
Madeleine L’Engle, the writer of many novels for both children and adults, most famously, “A Wrinkle in Time,” said,
“Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth.”
If you’re a business leader, you no doubt have felt this Humpty Dumptiness momentum for quite some time, now.
In short, people are prone to distrust you.
We know this because creative people have been leaving corporate environments in droves for the past several years, as reported by the trade press. We know this because of the plethora of social media articles (and traditional media articles) either protesting or lamenting the fact.
How can you lead if you don't have the trust of those in your employ? One way, of course, is to foist this or that. But, that’s not leadership; that’s desperation.
Corporate leadership, media leadership, and political leadership has been experiencing a trust backlash that has yet to experience it’s full snap, despite the most recent presidential election. We believe that’s true, no matter what you think about how much involvement the Kremlin may have had on giving Humpty a friendly push.
It seems that the traditionally accepted powerbrokers vis a vis the messages they send are merely tolerated by more and more people.
So what does this mean for you in business? Look no further than the simple elucidation of Seth Godin, who knows quite well about the value of artists:
Business leaders: Find and champion the artists in your organization
As Seth pointed out, this isn’t philanthropy, this is investing in your business.
You don’t have to have actors or painters, necessarily, in your group. But you no doubt do have those who just can’t quite tolerate being cogs. Now more than ever, is the time to be a new Captain of Industry; be a contemporary Henry Ford, and create a system whereby your company’s artists can illuminate innovation, human connection, and truth.
As we’ve already publicized, create a Culture wherein they can thrive for the mutual benefit of your firm, your clients, and your artists, clarify a Cause for them to apply their passion, and define the Context where your firm fits in this micro-sphere.
Doing so elevates your “trust factor.”
You won’t believe what your artists are capable of — until you provide them a canvas or a stage.