Seth Godin’s recent post Out of bounds got me thinking about the implicit contracts that we create almost unconsciously everyday.
In Seth’s post he’s talking about companies and their marketing. He notes how upset people get when a brand or product does something that does not fit into the consumer’s preconceptions.
But I realised that the same things happens with us as individuals. We get put into mental pigeon holes by the people we deal with every day (and we do the same to others). Sometimes it can be hard for us to escape from those preconceptions. Also it can be hard for us to realise that an individual has changed or grown past their original parameters.
This is an interesting question for both brands and people: how can we grow and evolve beyond our original boundaries?
An important foundation for growth is to understand and develop the skills, knowledge and capabilities that support the new boundaries. There is no point trying to move on past old boundaries if you’re unable to deliver the goods. As Seth notes, “The real problem is that when marketers believe they are going out of bounds, the work they do tends to be lousy.”
It’s interesting to consider these ideas from an individual perspective as well as a business one.
One thought on “Boundaries real and imagined.”
Why is one of the first questions we ask someone “What do you do?”? Why do so many forms requesting your identity information ask for name, address, date of birth and “occupation”? Is it really that important to classify someone into one of society’s pre-defined categories so soon?
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