I wanna catch one of those!
What is it?
I don’t know but it looks like chocolate milk in a bottle!
That has to be awesome!
And that was the exchange between Top Kid and Top Middle that got my wheels turning. I realized later what they were talking about when a commercial played with bottles of a chocolatey breakfast drink falling from the sky. Having tried several different chocolatey breakfast drinks myself in the past, I can say with certainty that if I subjected my children to that very drink they would be sorely disappointed.
But that’s the power of marketing, isn’t it? The internet pop ups with the magically shrinking woman if you just sprinkle this on your food. The dating commercials with all the happy smiling, well-groomed and perfect teeth couples who you know are just destined for a magical peace soaked marriage complete with a smiling toddler who never smells bad. The delighted families gathered around the dinner table at a reasonable hour who heap their plates in perfect portions of all the food groups.
Marketing sometimes fails to depict reality. Wouldn’t you agree?
And our lives are saturated with it. It’s not limited to those commercials in the various media outlets (social, television, radio, print) either. Think about the marketing you put on yourself. I will confess to you that I do not share my life as an open book on the grocery check out aisle to be thumbed through and put back. I have a limited number of people who get the raw, blubbering, everything about me on a platter life – less than a handful really. Then there are those who I will share specific experiences with in hopes that they can learn from me and avoid or engage accordingly. And then you have my Facebook life.
Yup. I went there. That social media is something, isn’t it? (Even as I engage with this very post…) There’s some personal marketing. We can put out there what we want the world to “like” about us. We can be cryptic or blatant. We can draw attention for drama, delight, or disaster as we see fit. Twitter has this fantastic little button – “Follow.” But I thought to myself, “Where are you going?”
I used to have a Twitter account under a different user name that was littered with all types of blogs, marketing outlets and celebrities. The feed on that user was loaded with tweets but empty of substance. Everything there led me to a superficial “Man, I hope they like me” attitude that was more draining, demeaning and deprecating than anything else.
This time around I was very careful about who I chose to “follow.” Now I see spiritual giants, encouraging authors, and genuine music artists who share encouragement, challenge my growth, and share their own struggles and realities. I am pushed to grow myself by seeing that kind of marketing.
I am also very selective about what I put out there. If someone has chosen to “follow” me, where am I leading them? Occasionally I get notifications that I have a new follower here at the blog, and it sobers me. What are they learning? Are they hearing my heart and my intention? Are they looking past me and seeing the cross? Because that is where I want it all to lead.
There are many ways to digest this thought today. Thankfully, we have a benchmark.
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
In all the marketing that is swirling around you, what are you buying? What is it adding to your life? Are you being improved as you were promised or are you being drained? I encourage you to cut the drainage out and find that which will leave you fulfilled. In all the marketing that you are putting out there on your own behalf, what is your motivation? Are you leading people to Christ or to yourself? Would you follow you? Of those you are following, do you know where they are leading you?
I often tell my children as I send them out into the world, “Be a leader in the right direction.” It is so easy to lead people who look up to us; but are we leading in the right direction? And even if you don’t think you are a leader, I assure you that you are. Everyday, someone is looking at you and your marketing (social, spiritual and lifestyle) and they are deciding whether or not they want to follow. For those who already have followers, I challenge you to be a leader in the right direction as well.