The ride on the digital highway is no less precarious than the more traditional open road and for that I am grateful. I am certainly not the first to embrace the universal truth that it is more about the journey and far less about the destination.
Photo Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli
Clearly, we all want to be “going somewhere” but at what expense? More importantly can we remain authentic in our digital musings when a brand is involved? I believe we can and I also believe I have a right to seek out the people behind the brands who share a common philosophy and a mission to make an impact on the world and infuse a sense of wonder and intrigue across the continuum of the consumer experience.
General Motors recently invited me to join them at the Detroit International Auto Show as a Mentor and for that I am not only grateful, but I feel a responsibility to share my experience without hiding behind a veil of homogeneity.
We all have a talent for something and mine is taking the lived experience and making it quantifiable. What exactly does that mean? Actually it is quite simple as the world is a deliciously complex puzzle and I simply work to put the pieces together and make it possible to measure an experience like the Auto Show.
The true joy was in sharing this experience with a group of rising stars. While each had an interest in media they embodied far more than simply a love for the written, tweeted and instagrammed word. They had a passion to understand the world around them and the way in which they fit in to it.
Mentoring is an interesting conundrum as the line between teacher and student is often blurred. Tasked to capture the essence of the experience and distill it down into a consumable story, these young men and women from across the country spun tales so unique that the important facts, figures and details were woven together into a tapestry no less intricate then the beautiful minds that created them.
Brand loyalty is a phrase that has become somewhat of a buzzword and I would offer this is because so many brands lack an authentic voice that transcends the product. General Motors and more specifically those in charge of diversity within the company proved to me they understand that the face of their cars, their brand, is the face of consumer and as such the voice resonates and transcend the marketing babble to truly embrace age, gender, socio-economics, sexual orientation and ethnicity with a single message “we value your life experiences and we want to be a part of them”. This is not a GM mantra or a tagline, but instead it is what I took away from an experience that introduced me to a very large company at an iconic event where I was made to feel valued, important and most of all more than just a guy who can traverse the digital highway and make people stop and take notice.
GM challenges the consumer to “find new roads” and to that I would add that this is a company that allowed me to find my own path, explore the competition and share my “expertise” with a group of dynamic young professionals who will soon become my mentors as the road to self awareness is all about the people, places and things that you meet along the way.