Communicate differently in a crisis period…
Over the next many posts I will, to the best of my ability, try to give you the best knowledge I have on generational information. I will not hold anything back. In case you are wondering, I am not saving the best. You are getting the best, paid or not I don’t care. I have never done things with money as the motivator. We lift the level of all ships by raising the ocean.
Chuck Sellier, the President/CEO/Supervising Producer of Grizzly Adams Productions and I were asked to give a presentation on how generations behave, the current socio-economic crisis (termed a Fourth Turning), and how to use this information in business for a variety of applications.
As part of the presentation, we were demonstrating, historically, how in different periods, what demographer and author, Neil Howe, calls Turnings, you sell one particular item. The item is salt.
Salt was chosen because it is not a new invention. It has been around and sold (or traded) for thousands of years.
By this point in the presentation (and I will describe in other posts), we described that there are cycles. Like Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, America and the associated socio-economic shifts happen in the same manner. They are called Turnings. A first turning is a high, a Spring. Think post WWII to around the death of John F. Kennedy (1946-1964). Second Turnings, or Spring, is an Awakening. This was the consciousness revolution of the 60’s and 70’s (1964-1984). Third Turnings or Autumn, are an unraveling. This would be the time of between 1984-2007. Then comes the Fourth Turning. This is a Winter – a time of great Crisis. Other Fourth Turnings would be Great Depression & World War II (Fourth Turning, 1929–1946), The Civil War (Fourth Turning, 1860–1865), American Revolution (Fourth Turning, 1773–1794) and three more dating back to 1459. You could go back further but it would be redundant.
Our reactions in a Fourth Turning are different. Example, in WWI (a 3rd Turning) we were reluctant to get involved. But after Pearl Harbor we declare war on two fronts simultaneously. In a Fourth Turning public life speeds up and private life slows. Let me give you an example of how that is expressed in the recent commercial: Allstate’s “Back To Basics” advertisement.
We communicate differently in a crisis period to match this new set of emotions we face in a world of uncertainty.
So let’s take a look at how to sell a simple item — Salt.
Here is the video from our presentation. The accompanying photos and videos are presented below the video.
Depictions of private sacrifice will be greatly respected. In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), gives up his hopes and dreams to save the town from becoming Pottersville. In the end he is the richest man in town because he has friends and family that love and support him.
Leavitt Seed Ad.
In this ad below (designed by Chuck Sellier and his wife Julie Magnuson) we see self-sacrifice through Governor Leavitt’s eyes. It establishes trust. But he does not TELL us to trust him, he shows us, through a story about someone else, therefore we believe at our guttural level that he is trustworthy. (He left office with some of the highest approval ratings of any Governor to become Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush)
1953 – 1st Turning – Practicality. The G.I. at work with his salt.
1967 – 2nd Turning – Health. “Help keep your family goiter free!”
1986 – 3rd Turning – Taste. “Half the sodium. All the taste”
Now how do we sell salt in a Fourth Turning — The Video.
Let me show you how we serve community!!!
In a Fourth Turning we show community. As demographer Neil How notes recently, we have this coming together moment in the Regeneracy (see my post Anatomy of a Crisis). Now I will note here that we are not at that coming together moment yet. But what we found in producing movies is that the emotion, in this case looking for a sense of community, always precedes the actual event.
Tap into that emotion of community…it is a winning theme in a crisis.