Articles

Pushing Back Against The Noise.

The beauty of freedom of speech is that if you have an opinion you have the right to be heard. Especially today – with media fragmentation; blogging; social websites; Tweeting; Facebooking; blah, blah blah. The opinion broadcasting options are endless and growing exponentially. The downside to freedom of speech is that we often wish a great many of those opinions had been kept private and the issuers of them either medicated or publicly flogged. The wall of noise is loud, rude, unruly and overpowering.

The irony of this comment coming from me is not lost on me by the way.

Media today is 24/7, highly fragmented and very LOUD. It is an industry that demands content and if it can’t get content by other means, it will invent it. A public relations consultant I worked with in the late 1970’s enlightened me once on the nature of ‘news’. His view was that – outside natural disasters – there was no such thing as news items, only propaganda. He explained to me that every item has someone with an agenda who has put out a press release or held a media conference. That many ‘research studies’ and ‘data analysis’ reports are funded and scoped and point in an intended direction.

So we end up in the 21st century in a world that is exponentially demanding more and more media content fed by a mixture of propaganda and ill-informed opinion and most of it contriving to elevate anxiety levels, drive fear and cultivate panic. Forget truth. It is extreme points of view that make information entertaining and consumable.

We live in the age of anxiety and caffeine-enriched diets don’t help.

Enter the world of business decision-making. Within this anxiety-ridden context, retail business leaders must make decisions every day about their businesses. Decisions that impact all of their stakeholders.

Increasingly those decisions are risk averse and driving businesses into lowest common denominator territory because the wall of noise feeds on fear.

It’s now time to push back against the noise.

The Australian retail context is different from any other in the world. We did not have a retail contraction from the so-called Global Financial Crisis other than that brought about by local retail business and government reaction. Australian shoppers continue to spend record dollar amounts at retail and have not stopped. True – the unsustainable growth of five years ago no longer remains and specific categories have issues but retail is still in growth and – many of us would argue – would be double what it is now if retailers stopped un-necessarily discounting product that did not produce a gain.

It’s time to go beyond propaganda and uncover the real facts. To base business decisions on real due diligence to uncover truth that is relevant to your retail business. Without finding out the truth, you’ll be overcome by the noise.