Reasons for Optimism beyond Nov 3rd

Maybe out of nervous energy as polls soon close in the U.S., my thoughts go to reasons for optimism. I think these reasons apply no matter who you support, and I’m open as always to any comments.

Four Reasons for Optimism:

  1. A New Generation of Leaders
    This may be an odd lead topic as we look at two candidates in their 70s. Through our work, we see the world through the eyes and hear it in the voices of college students. It is clear from our relationships and research that students are more active than ever in social and environmental causes.We anticipate the voices of Gen Z will be heard very clearly not just tonight, but more consistently going forward. It is in the social fabric of college students to connect around cause and to speak with others openly and authentically about it. We’ll all benefit from listening and following their lead.
  2. The Rise of Health Care Workers
    As we move past election season, political leaders will cede the proverbial floor to health care experts. This will lead to a more objective national conversation and data-based solutions.First and foremost, it is important for the obvious reason of our collective health. It’s also essential economically for industries like ours where companies, team members, brands and consumers thrive when events are happening and students are on campus. If we take the right actions now, we’ll be better positioned to re-open in a safe way in 2021.
  3. Seats at the Table
    An election with such participation almost certainly leads to more representative leadership. The more people who vote, the more they are heard, the more we all learn, and the more policies adapt for the greater good. We have further steps to take as we are seeing impediments to full participation and many other democracies have much higher participation (Australia, Sweden, Belgium, etc.), but this groundswell is very encouraging.
  4. Rolling Up Our Sleeves
    At work and personally, we have a lot of work to do. From topics ranging from mental health to human rights, 2021 will be a year of collective action. After dealing with the start of a pandemic and the election in 2020, so many people from all walks of life, and even parties, will want to work together for the common good.Amidst COVID-19, our company pulled off an impactful mobile tour this fall for L.L.Bean which integrated positive mental health activities and education tied to the outdoors. This tour was made possible because people in New England towns and campuses are wearing masks and local officials are collaborating smartly to ensure safety. More of that, please!

An Important Responsibility for Marketers
If you haven’t seen “Social Dilemma”, check it out. Progress in the four areas above will be smoother in a world which minimizes misinformation. We can’t solely rely on people to better detect conspiracy theories and to seek views outside their echo chambers.

As a marketing industry, we have a serious responsibility to ensure we aren’t adding fuel to the fire. If we have the technology to create such social networks and artificial intelligence, we have the capability to also control them much better. It’s a choice which will require ethical business leadership to ensure it happens, and we all are getting a taste of the impacts if we don’t. Investors and business partners also have responsibility to be voices for that change.

Hang In There This Week
It has been quite a year. 2021 can’t come soon enough. While at least 40% of people will be disappointed later this week, we’ll all be better off if we focus on the reasons for optimism and positive steps forward.

Let’s come together and get to work.

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Steve Schubert

Co-Founder & Senior Partner