Articles

Sam Stosur & The Fun Police.

What a fantastic result. Eighteen months after being written off by her critics following her loss in the final of the 2010 French Open final and a few months after being bundled out in the first round at Wimbledon, Sam Stosur trounces the biggest bully of women’s tennis – Serena Williams – to win the US Open Women’s title on September 11 (a not insignificant day for Americans).

Like most of Australia I watched, cheered and celebrated a well-deserved success and felt the positive emotional impact of Sam’s triumph. Every media outlet in Australia shouted the result and the coverage she received became the headline of the day. And then the fun police come out in force.

Their gripe? That we spend so much time celebrating this (in their opinion) frivolous triumph when there is a carbon tax, boat people, economic woes, cancer, obesity blah blah blah that we should really be focussing on.

We live in times where the media has been hijacked by serious grown-up types who endlessly want to tell us what problems they see and what they demand we do about them. To the point where many people under the age of thirty years no longer want to read newspapers or watch television news coverage. In fact – much to the chagrin of the fun police – more people are impacted by the Sam Stosur win and watch the coverage of that result than want to take in yet another piece of propaganda pushing an agenda.

How did we forget that life is short and that its aim is to enjoy every moment possible while making a positive impact wherever you can?

Which brings me to retail.

Everywhere you look in retail today we see a lack of humour, of demonstrable passion, of celebration and just plain, simple fun. Shoppers crave it and retailers increasingly fail to deliver it. The more serious a world seems, the more shoppers will gravitate to the kind of immersive escapism that made ‘retail therapy’ such an intrinsic part of life.

Retail does have its serious side. In the Boardroom – not in the stores.

Too many people in leadership positions of retail businesses globally today do not understand or empathise with what turns shoppers on. It isn’t rational. It’s emotional. It isn’t needs. It’s wants. It isn’t conscious. It’s sub-conscious. It isn’t cerebral. It’s physical.

You feel great retail just like you get an emotional impact you can’t quite make sense of when you see a win like Sam Stosur’s win at Flushing Meadow. That what retail can do and must do to create strong businesses that succeed by making a positive impact on peoples lives. Like Sam, many are writing retail off. Like Sam, we need to regroup and fight for the result. Its time to overpower the self appointed fun police and make retail great again.