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An explanation / apology.
Here we go, again.
I feel like I’ve written this specific type of newsletter at least half a dozen times; the “I’m sorry it’s been so long” missive, attempting to remind you of who I am, why you’re reading this, and what I’m bringing to the table and/or inbox to justify your time.
In short: I’m Jon Crowley.
You’re reading this, either because you’ve encountered me professionally or personally at some point, or because you also think that the marketing / communications universe is generally dancing towards the edge of a cliff, and we need to start thinking of alternative ways to do things.
What I offer is a broad and well rounded experience of many, many marketing communications roles, agencies, and approaches, as well as a complete refusal to bend to accepted wisdom when it comes to how we’re supposed to, in order, sell products, establish meaning beyond the functional benefit, and make brands worth something more than the established market value of products.
That said, I still owe you an explanation. So here goes:
After a decade plus in the industry and roles at some of the largest and most respected agency brands in my country, I became skeptical. Not just of the stories we were telling clients and consumers, but also the stories we were telling ourselves - chiefly that a seat at the brand strategy table inherently meant our focus shouldn’t be on the realities of the whole ecosystem, and that any consumer interaction was acceptable if we could attach a performance metric to it.
I became skeptical of the idea that my best work, and my best role, should live purely in the theoretical. (This is about the time I started this newsletter.)
As it often does, my skepticism metastasized. I felt, frankly, somewhat constrained by what I was doing, and started looking for ways (and places) to do it differently. This turned into about 2 months of inaction - it’s hard to be inspired about the future when you’re focused on changing the present.
After I landed on a course of action, I took a 5 week sabbatical. I read (not as much as I wanted), relaxed (the correct amount), travelled (far less than I would have preferred) and reconsidered my relationship with both the industry, and the frameworks and tools that I had been relying on
And then I started working somewhere new.
That 5 weeks involved a lot of challenging the things I believed about how to do this (marketing / communications, not newsletter writing) well, but also forced me to consider my perspective, and what I can do to have an impact.
All this to say:
The conspiracy lives on, and I’m more excited that I have been in a while, about imagining new approaches to advertising (especially in a hyper-targeted digital landscape) that treat people with respect and also move the needle.
We’re still here to envision a new future for marketing and advertising, and to turn what is rapidly becoming a duopoly on it’s head.
I’m just in a much better mood about our chances.
To summarize: I’m back. It’s going to be good. The scope is broadening. Expect another one of these in a month.