Book review: Difference by Bernadette Jiwa

I am excited about the times we're living in. I know there's a lot to be scared about, but it seems to me that there's also a hell of a lot to be excited about, to find hope and brilliance in. Much of that excitement, that brilliance, I believe stems from a collective step change in the human psyche. It's about truth, it's about living authentically, it's about real stuff that matters and it's about the human need to connect and belong.

 

So what does this have to do with a book about marketing? Everything. 

 

We're living in a special point in time where, in developed countries, most of us enjoy lives where our basic needs are more than satisfied. Our collective human intelligence has advanced further up the hierarchy of needs pyramid at precisely the time that technology has advanced to the point of true integration into everyday life. This means that people are questioning more and demanding the satisfaction of deeper desires, such as meaning and purpose and integrity, in their lives, and that because of the accessibility of technology, never before has there been such an opportunity to realise these desires.

 

We have the desire for more meaning and purpose. We also have the ability to connect, collaborate, integrate and disseminate information like never before in order to inform our choices. And because the barriers to enter the marketplace have been greatly reduced by technologolical advancements, we have options available and the ability to make choices that reflect the things that matter to us.

 

It means that mass marketing is dated, if not, dead. We're not prepared to be treated like invisible numbers and demographic conglomerates anymore and it seems that we don't have to be. Doing work that matters, making choices that reflect our principles, giving our loyalty to ethical and caring companies that make a difference is where we're headed, and 'Difference' encapsulates that thinking. Although it's a marketing method, the overarching message of this book is much broader and can be applied not only to all facets of a savvy business, but as a mediation and encouragement for us all to embrace the abundant opportunities to make choices that matter.

 

Jiwa presents several inspiring business cases to illustrate this thinking, this important step change in not only our ability, but our responsibility in creating lives that matter. Companies that know it's about showing up, about making the most of the choices available to us, about choosing the stories we want to tell and be a part of, it's about connecting authentically with the people who matter to us and our business. They are companies millions of people have shown their desire to support, emulate and connect with. To be a part of that story.

 

This is an inspiring and important little book that speaks to so much more than turning dated marketing approaches on their head, although it does that too. It asks us to be brave enough to consider the truth about what we really care about and what really matters. Bernadette Jiwa tells us the story of Difference and illustrates the tale with the stories of companies who are choosing to matter. This is a story I want to be a part of and one that I suspect we all do.