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Starting Back At One

The title was not inspired by Brian Mcknight! Although I do have to admit I did like his songs in the ’90s.

This is about my journey of searching for my mission, my ‘Why’, my purpose. This is about my search for better.

“Better is not better for everyone”

Two years ago, I decided I was done with marketing, advertising, buzzwords and tactics that lure people in, sell them hope and feed their desires with more things. I was honestly feeling the guilt of my involvement in persuading people that they could be more with more things.

So I started up Two Dots Studio with the goal of changing the narrative. I was going to push back on blindly marketing for brands I did not believe in and challenge each process, decision and direction.

Honestly, it did not work. What was great for me, was not for someone else. Especially, when that someone else is paying for the project, it makes a whole lot of difference. That was when I remembered one of my hardest lessons in life. Better is not better for everyone.

“If not now, when?”

I promise this is not a list of bands I am quoting although a great album by Incubus especially when I got to produce their South East Asian reality show launch.

So I decided if I want to make a change, push back and use my skills for good, now is better than never. I worked with great creatives on a multitude of projects and we created great videos, campaigns and pilots to prove our ideas could work. We CAN make catchy content while making an impact.

As much as it was fun, it was not financially sustainable. I was paying out of pocket to make these ideas, I felt burnt out and I did not know where it was all going.

I am…..

Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired…Tired… and burnt out.

It felt like I was going in circles. Navigating the never-ending rabbit hole of things to do, things to improve, things I felt needed more attention, things that needed improving, things other people felt I should be doing, shouldn’t be doing, could be doing……. Analysis Paralysis!

It was overwhelming. Creating a business that pushes against the grain is hard. It was not sexy and I did not feel like a superhero saving the world. The world was passing me by and I was stuck.

A-HA moment!

Continuing my music reference unintended theme… a great song to have an A-ha moment to btw if you like dancing.

I realised that all along I was searching for an answer. There is no answer. I can’t fix marketing. I can’t change how people feel, and I am not responsible for fixing the world. This realisation took a long time which leads me back to the start…

  • WHAT IS IT THAT I WANT TO ACHIEVE
  • WHERE AM I GOING
  • WHY DOES THIS MATTER TO ME!

Lets start with Why? I am someone who is great at thinking in small boxes. I thrive working under tough restrictions but I DO NOT like fitting into a box. That was my first clue. throughout my life, I have lived as a minority of the majority. Even the people who looked like me never seem to see me as part of them. That brings me to my Why:

facilitate conversations that celebrate acceptance, broadens perspectives and narrows the gap for assumptions.

What made me excel thought-out my life has been my curiosity. I try to challenge my assumptions by asking questions, I talk to as many people to broaden my perspectives even when I disagree with someone’s views and I accept them for who they are. I heard this saying “if someone says they are crazy, you better believe them because they know best”. Acceptance is my Why.

That leads me to my goals for Two Dots and my personal journey. What do I want to achieve? My mate Philip asked me, ‘what is your end goal in all of this’. I realised I paused for a while as I thought about this and unlocked a place in my gut I rarely validate. This is when I found clarity to my vision

To use storytelling as a medium that helps people make more informed decisions in life while understanding the impact it has on our environment and society

Sometimes we think there is a destination, sometimes we think that excellence leads to fulfilment, the reason I am sharing all this is that I arrived where I begin. I was so focused on the destination, that I forgot the purpose of my departure. It took me 2 years to land myself back at the start to realise what I wanted was clearer once I made that journey.

When you make it full circle and you land in the same place, stop, think and analyse because there is a reason your journey took you back to that point. For me, the reason is that I needed to find clarity in my Why in order to continue on the journey. I got lost in the minutia of the millions of ways I could have gone with. But finding my way back to the start reminded me why I did this in the first place.

My mission is to

use storytelling as a way of raise awareness and increase the accountability of our social and environmental responsibility

Just in the way I came full circle to make better decisions for myself, I hope to use storytelling as a way to help people make more informed decisions through the same user journey process of outweighing how each decision best serves their needs.

Future of marketing

Best way to end this article is with a song that summarises it all. Everyone wants to rule the world. But it is not going to happen. We know it. We are better together. Not the Kumbayah, Woodstock type together but more so that we all need to understand that we can be different but still coexist. That companies need to be more accountable for their influence on our behaviours and their impact on our social and environmental well-being.

We are in a time where people buy from people. People subscribe to brands that share the same values, ethics and goals. That said, consumers still seek out reviews of products or services. People still trust other people’s opinions despite their commitment to any one brand.

The way I see marketing improving is that we start treating people like people and removing the fluff from marketing.

I am looking forward to pushing for better, challenging what is, and continuing to build an inclusive process through storytelling.

If you have read till this point, send me an email with the subject: “I had nothing else to do hence why I am here” and you may be in for a surprise.

e: aaron@twodots.studio

Thank you!!