The 21st Century will be a time of doing. "Thinking" outside the box is DEAD! ChaNge is out ... ChaRge is IN!
Most of the millennium malarkey is just that -- malarkey. Lots of hype that's wonderful for marketers. Yet, it really means next to nothing.
What year is it, anyway? An early calendar began from the founding of the city of Rome. If this pre-Julian calendar had remained, it would be 2753 in 2000.
The Eastern Orthodox calendar today is significantly more accurate than what most of us use -- the Gregorian Calendar. Which over the long haul is more precise. Both are better than the Julian version.
So, what year is it? The Lunar Calendars, The "Goddess" Lunar Calendar, the Maya Calendar, Solar calendars from the Copts of Egypt and both China and Japan have all preceded us.
There are 2 Aztec calendars -- a sacred and a secular. The base goes back to 400 B.C.
India today still "plays" with as many as 30 different calendars for regional, religious and ethnic traditions of the Hindus, Buddhists, and Jainists.
The French Revolutionary Calendar (or Republican Calendar, not to be confused with any other political cause) was issued late in the 1700s. It went away -- and came back again nearly a century later under the Paris Commune of 1871.
Astronomers count days elapsed since noon, Monday, January 1, 4713 B.C. on the Julian calendar. They obviously started this practice long after Caesar had come and gone. As Julius Caesar began what is called the Julian calendar in 45 B.C. Making this year in that system 2045.
A few of these earlier calendars are very much alive today. For example, the Chinese are talking the year 3953, the Hebrew year is 5760, in the Islamic world 1421. Buddhist Era is 2543 -- all in the Christian 2000.
What do all these dates mean? Well, not much. Except for those us in marketing -- where each is an opportunity.
For Instance: Technically the 21st Century begins in the year 2001. Why? Because the first century started as AD 1. The next century was AD 101, then 201. So, the 21st Century begins -- technically -- in 2001.
Yet, let's learn something from history. When 1899 became 1900 people celebrated the start of a new century. When 1900 became 1901 people celebrated the start of a new century. Marketers -- let's get it straight and have 2 parties!
Another for instance: We're big on names for events, places, times, generations. If I am right -- and I truly think I am! -- if I am right and ChaNge is out ... ChaRge is IN, how does this fact affect marketing as we turn the next calendar corner?
Let's begin with a name. To go with the attitude of the time. My name for the generation without a name -- during the first decade plus of what we are calling the 21st century, is:
The ChaRge Society
What does this mean? It's really quite simple. In the Life of your Business as well as the Business of your Life, people are expecting answers. Looking for things to happen. Measurement by action. Rewards on results. The ChaRge Society name fits perfectly.
You may think I've been smoking' some strange stuff to come up with such a specific Direct Marketing conclusion. Not so. Not only have I not inhaled -- I've not even puffed.
What has happened is I've been in the marketplace. Listening. Observing. Asking questions. Watching.
And studying a little history, too.
Management guru Peter Drucker helped. Drucker talks about "information revolutions" -- big happenings that affected life and lifestyle. The first was the invention of writing. 5000 or 6000 years ago in Mesopotamia. And later in China -- completely independent from the earlier effort. The Maya civilization in Central America also "created" writing later still.
This was the first "information revolution" -- writing. The second was the invention of written books. First in China about 1300 B.C. And independently 800 years later in Greece. Up until these times "stories" were told, history was shared. Now it was in book form.
These first 2 revolutions are lost in history. There is little documentation. We know it happened ... it is tough to prove on paper.
Not so with the third "information revolution". It began when Gutenberg invented the printing press and movable type. 1450-1455 was a major time in history.
At the time of Gutenberg, there were as many as 10,000 highly skilled monks in Europe copying "books". Annual output per monk: 1200-1300 handwritten pages a year.
50 years later, at the turn of the 16th Century, they were all unemployed! They were replaced by small groups of 10 or so trades people, producing 25 million pages in a year! A true "information revolution".
Today we are in the fourth revolution. Different in several ways. Yes, cost reduction has allowed a mass spreading of whatever the word is. To almost anywhere on earth. With speed -- in seconds or less. Most of this "revolution" is good.
Yet, a key element is different; it is no longer "information" we're sharing 'round the world ... it is knowledge!
It's no longer what we have access to -- most of us have access to so much information we can't get through it all anyway. It IS what we know and what we do with what we know.
Which is exactly why ChaNge is out ... ChaRge is IN! Talking about information is much different than using knowledge. Saying we're going to "change" is not the same thing as actually doing something. ChaNge is out ... ChaRge is IN!
ChaNge is definitely on the way out ... ChaRge has arrived.
A while back I spent a week-end at a major university with a delightful few dozen education marketers. Folks who had a new responsibility of "making money" serving their audience.
One evening we sat around and rapped. What I heard from a 20-something year old had me nail-screeching the greenboard. This young lady said we're moving too fast with computers. Only the elite and rich and well educated could afford to participate. And we should "back-up" to let others catch up.
After my smoke cleared and I calmed, I shared an example from my 2 granddaughters. A pair of teenagers who communicate with me by e-mail in a language way ahead of my time at their age.
A couple of girls who surf the Web on a regular basis. Who understand the difference between information and knowledge -- and most importantly -- what to do with it. Currently, for them, used as a school tool.
We want to stop this? I don't think so!! These kids will be a part of the early 21st business world ... where The ChaRge Society will dominate. Yes, ChaNge is out ... ChaRge is IN!
Changing is no longer enough. Thinking differently is not the way to achieve. Our audiences EXPECT us to do. To answer their questions, to fulfill their dreams, to provide what we say and do it on the agreed schedule.
The ChaRge Society is here. Now. Today.