Ebola, Lego and Drama Queens

August 16, 2014

Don’t panic, but don’t stick your head in the sand either.

This may very well be my last column for Talk Business. In fact it may very well be the last issue of Talk Business Magazine. Bit dramatic? Of course it is, but no more dramatic than the apparent high-stakes drama that’s unfolding in Africa before the eyes of the world, as we stand by and watch to see if the Ebola virus is destined to consume the planet.

Before people start accusing me of making light of a dreadful virus that’s claiming many lives, it’s not that Ebola isn’t serious, it’s that our collective response to this disease is massively disproportionate.

Fuelled by a diet of media analysis that reads like a cross between Outbreak and World War Z, panic levels have jumped the shark. Ebola is the new media panic. it’s exotic, it’s deadly and it stems from the mystery of the jungle. It’s also moving fast and at this time there’s nothing we can do to cure it. Compare this to the likes of Global Warming, which arguably will have (and is already having) a far more seismic impact on the planet, and the fatigue of being told to drive less, eat chicken rather than beef, and take fewer holidays by air is all to apparent. Ebola is deadly and sexy, global warming is bloated and oh, so borrrrriinngggg.

Drawing parallels between this and marketing your own content are easy. Media outlets are keeping their content fresh, and everybody is hungry for more news nuggets about Ebola. It’s not even without precedent, after all the so called ‘Spanish Flu’ killed over 50 million people less than a hundred years ago, it’s just that the ‘story’ around a deadly disease is repackaged and given a fresh spin.

As small business owners we can bear this in mind as we look to keep our content, fresh, informative and appealing to our audience. We don’t have to give people something new (although obviously that’s good too) just put a different angle on our product or service. We can highlight new methodologies or ways of working, customer testimonials, enhanced response times or even opinions of industry news.

It’s by keeping the content fresh that allows the bloated and boring to recycle it’s appeal. Witness the film recently made for Friends of the Earth to denounce Lego’s corporate partnership with Shell. This well made short uses Lego figures and play sets to highlight the effect drilling for oil has on the environment and people living in those areas. It’s highlighted that a child-friendly business should really endorse an oil company in the 21st century, and bought about a movement to change.


Works-in-progress, In-house shenanigans and various drivel

Salt: The Exhibition

Over the last year we've been working on curating, writing and designing a book called Salt of Southend-on-Sea. The book features twenty four interviews with various people, families and groups who live and work in Southend.


Liam’s Chappish Chat

Last night, the lovely folk at Metal hosted their Future Park. A networking and information sharing evening for practicing artists, working in all disciplines, from across South East Essex. As well as working here at Grow, I am the style editor at the Chap magazine.


TRAWLER x Sundown Launch

Last night, I had the unprecedented joy of attending the launch party of TRAWLER paper’s latest edition, guest edited by Ray Morgan. The event promised “shenanigans for mind, body and soul” and certainly lived up to it’s claim.


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