Aesthetics & the Medium Message
July 21, 2017
There is no greater disservice one can do themselves than to try to force their brand to be something that is “trendy” but not actually representational of the organization. You know the popular aesthetic that’s circulating every start-up as of late, the one that is beginning to see a downswing as maximalism starts to overtake minimalism: Maintaining “uniqueness” by being religiously anti-serif when it comes to fonts and web design; Brand names and titles made of two words which are neither related to each other nor the business, like TRAIN & BREAD* for, say, a wrist watch company (*so named, fictionally, as to not offend any trains or bread). All of these boutiques popping up in which the Thomas Edison bulbs hang over wooden trays full of “artisan” cufflinks that are marked up 10,000% make you feel both slightly ill and aroused at the same time, because you hate the idea of being labeled an easily-swayed victim of hipster consumerism but know you’ll fall prey to the Gentrification Aesthetic anyways because you can’t possibly function another day without cactus-shaped shirtsleeve accessories.
At first I wanted Plant PR to subscribe to all of these commonplace characteristics. I wanted the clever yet completely unrelated lingo plastered across my home page. I wanted the minimalist WordPress layout and the sans-serif-everything. But growth is movement. Growth is expansion. Growth means participating in popular culture without being absorbed by it.
Here’s why this ultra-mod aesthetic only attracts a very specific clientele: While we are claiming to serve a broad demographic, we are actively pursuing only a very small slice of society. Yes, it is true that by 2020, millennials will make up over 40% of the consumerist market (see this incredibly eye-opening Millennial Infographic from Goldman Sachs), but with less money to spend overall as opposed to the Baby Boomers and Gen X, it becomes increasingly more crucial for businesses selling anything (be it a good or a service) to be aware of their customer’s needs and the reality of their longterm financial goals.
This is where Plant PR comes in to meet you in your niche and help you explore the unique and affordable avenues by which the public will experience your brand and all it has to offer.
My 4-year bachelor’s degree is in visuals. My career is based on creating experiences. This means having an eye for respected current trends but also being able to predict and ride the wave of new ones. Being a publicist means maintaining the delicate balance of relationships and aestheticism in a way that gains capital.
The biggest killers for startups or small businesses are 1) being irrelevant, and 2) being redundant. Existing as one out of a hundred thousand of the same thing in a saturated market is a surefire way to have a glistening “15 minutes of fame” followed by a steep decline in popularity and, ultimately, the death of a brand. The unfortunate part about millennials, too, is that we all have so many great ideas that we’re convinced we can achieve because we “believe in ourselves.” You know who doesn’t believe in your idea? Your landlord, your creditor, and your sad, empty bank account. You want the views and the hits and the engagement with your great idea but your public communication skills are subpar.
What does this have to do with Aesthetics? Simple. Stop trying to be like everybody else. Participate in a trend as a crowd-surfing top performer, not as a mosh-pit member.
“But how?!” *cries*
Appropriately, today is the anniversary of Marshall McLuhan’s birth. McLuhan, a philosopher and public intellectual, was a visionary by definition and unarguably knew a thing or two about getting a point across.
In 1962, he published a book called The Gutenberg Galaxy wherein he explained that human history was essentially divisible into four eras: the acoustic, the literary, the print, and finally, the electronic.
He unpacked his theory about the world entering the electronic age by predicting that soon people would be brought together by technology by means of a “global village” – AKA, the internet (though it wasn’t yet named this because it didn’t exist).
Years after introducing this initial concept, he followed up with another book, Understanding Media, where he further explained that the method of communication in this “global village” rather than the information being communicated would be the most influential part of the electronic age. In other words, “the medium is the message.” (read more about it here).
So what does this have to do with popular aesthetics?
This method, this medium, this bigger picture of the ways in which we as a society are communicating, is equally if not more important than the physical things we are selling.
Because the relationship that a brand has with the general public is directly related to the financial success of said brand, it is crucial to find a publicist who can liaise between producer and consumer through avenues that are truly appropriate per individual client as opposed to avenues which are currently “on trend” but completely unrelated.
That’s what we do here.