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May 17, 2011
Redefining Success: It's Not Just About the Money
 
Success in advertising used to be all about these questions:
 
1. Did the client make a profit?
2. Did we make a profit? (Often #1 substituted for #2.)
3. Did we win some big awards?
 
How simple.
How egoic.
How linear.
 
Today, may I suggest that since the Web has forever changed PR (we can find out the "truth" about any company we want on our own) and the 30-second broadcast TV spot (I'm sure you know all the examples) that a new formula for success is all around us?
 
Have you noticed?
 
A new standard of success is coming about as more and more brands, small and large, are extending their sense of who they are and what role they play in this world. Pepsi's "Refresh Everything" is one of my favorites. The mindless, empty "follow us on Facebook" are some of the worst, IMHO.
 
Thanks to visionaries and friends like John Grant, (http://greenormal.blogspot.com/) I have embraced and pushed for clients to adopt what is called a Total Role in Society. TRS means to become more aware of everything your client and you touch in society, putting terms like "externalities" in the dustbin and increasing sensitivity to the target audience, to shareholders, stakeholders, communities, the planet, partners, opinion makers, bloggers, Facebook communities, tweets, and the person next to you.
 
So, here's the new success formula:
 
1. Commercial Success
2. Ethical Success
3. Cultural Success
 
Commercial success is first for obvious reasons. If there’s no capital, there are no operation, no bills paid, no budgets for anything. We have to make sufficient money to grow, expand, and to sustain. Feeling better already, I hope? Things haven't changed all that much.
 
Ethical success is the hard one. What are your personal ethics and values? Do they match your firm's and the client’s? A lot of the work I do now is getting internal cultures in harmony and aligning personal values and goals with the company's. Zappos has some very good ideas about this. Tweet away.
 
Cultural success is the big one. Is the work you do making or helping to make a positive difference in your world? Luckily, a lot of the "old" marketing methodologies serve well. Understanding what your target audience wants, needs, and feels puts you well on the way to doing what will benefit the greatest number of people possible. A regular check of the "most-viewed" YouTube videos and "trending"  tweets will show you laughing babies, cats, celebrity gossip, and injury-causing wipeouts; but more and more, socially provocative memes are catching on. I think it's because, although we are addicted to media distractions as ever, we're also becoming more sensitive to our essential human nature and desire to connect on an emotional level to another. Emotional truth, delivered with dramatic integrity, can still cause dropped jaws, rapt attention, and silence when it connects with the heart. So, cultural success is your choice as well: what kind of society do you want to live in? Create that world it in your own work.
 
So, the bad news: If you don't know how to achieve commercial, ethical, and cultural success, your work will not be financially sustainable, your target audience will tell the world if you’re missing your opportunity to do the right thing all over the Web, and perhaps worst of all, the world will never become the place you dream of.
 
The good news? All of these successes are in your beautiful, capable, powerful hands. So, make it happen! Here's to our successes.

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As a strategist, writer, designer, producer, director, actor, musician, performer, teacher, trainer and speaker, creative marketing was a potentially ideal career for Paul. Yet after years of winning dozens of global creativity awards with various agencies, Paul gave up the awards pursuit and became a professional human being.

Paul launched the1101experiment in 2001, focusing on bringing top-level strategy, creativity and multi-dimensional success to global brands, but with an added emphasis on positive ethical and social opportunities. Paul's thinking has been published worldwide and has predicted many global cultural shifts long before they happened. 
Paul leads a mastermind network of friends, colleagues and multi-talented professionals from around the world who are strategists, writers, artists, web, social and interactive specialists, who are involved on all client work.
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