Sunday, April 29, 2007

Weekend Reading List

Just one item on the list, because it's long but trust me, it's well worth it. Here's a brief summary:

The Washington Post and a world-class violinist executed a brilliant social experiment. Put the violinist in a well-trafficked metro stop, have him play like any old street performer and see what happens. The results are fascinating. Everyone will probably take away something different from this story but for me, it's a story about marketing.

So much of what we value is based on context. Would you pay the same for Starbucks if it was in a foam cup and served at a hot dog stand? Would you think less of the same coffee if you only paid a quarter for it? As much as we sometimes hate marketing, it is intimately ingrained into our lives. When we buy Starbucks coffee, we pay significantly for marketing. It makes us feel good.

We have a relationship with marketing that provides us a framework for our daily decision-making. Without it, everything becomes utilitarian, everyone, the same. Without the location, the tickets, the ushers, the press, the posters, a world-class violinist with a multi-million dollar violin becomes just a street performer. Without marketing setting the bar for our sense of value, could we reach the highs we want our money to give us? I'm not so sure.

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