Thursday, October 15, 2015

Autism Answer: Marketing and Parenting - The Bigger Picture

I've shared and pinned and sponsored the docu-series FIX IT IN FIVE with LYNETTE LOUISE aka THE BRAIN BROAD often. It takes us on an adventure of delightful discovery and shows what to do (while candidly explaining our mistakes as well) when we teach our children. Autism, seizures, violent behavior, ADHD, Tourett's, Anxiety... these are a few of the challenges each five episode season invites us to understand and take kind action to change. The show is beautiful, emotional, candid, smart, and--like all good stories--introduces us to difference while remaining innately relatable.

Here's The Thing Though About Marketing: As a society we react quickly and reach easier for our wallets when our crocodile brain is engaged, when our most basic emotions are poked and prodded. 

Fear, anger, survival; these are, simply, good marketing tools. And easy. "Don't Do This Or You'll Get Fat!" "Terrorists On The Train" "What You're Doing Wrong When You Put On Your Makeup" "One Of Your Neighbors Is a Pedophile And He's Probably The One You'd Least Suspect" "Why Driving Is Giving You Cancer" 

I made up all of those headlines, but they are an example of what we're taught to do when learning marketing. 

I've noticed, too, that it's what we often do when we're teaching our kids. "Don't Jump On The Couch You'll Break Your Leg" "Never Talk Back To Grown Ups" "Eat Your Vegetables Or You Don't Get Dessert" "No Playing Until Homework Is Complete"

The thing is, this works. That is, if our goal is to get your money or your attention for a minute. That is, if we don't mind the byproducts of fear, self-doubt, continuous spiraling, and eventual outbursts of anger, hate, attempts to take control without guidance. 

In marketing, sadly, it is sort of okay. This means companies can make more products for more problems and cash in more and more and more....

As consumers I believe it's our job not to click those links, not to write those social media posts, not to trend those hashtags. But that's just me.

As parents, however, I'm more passionate about the problem of this habit. I, too, used to employ loud fear for attention, and then mumble possible answers without conviction or confidence. I believe that for most of us moms and dads and aunts and teachers and friends, that is the problem. We know what we're afraid of. We know what we don't want. However, we're far less clear on what we do want and how to help. 

This is a dangerous, dangerous, dangerous thing. 

Teaching is far more effective when we focus on useful answers and adventure toward the yes.

When we seek out the why and playfully challenge ourselves to discover answers.

"Jumping On The Couch Is Safer When You Put Cushions On The Ground" "Grown Ups Want To Help You Figure It Out" "Vegetables Give You Superpowers Of Concentration And Lead To Dessert" "Playing While Doing Homework Can Be One Long Funfest" 

My hope is that we'll shift our parenting and marketing techniques. In some ways, marketing might be an easier place to start because we know what we want: a sale. A share. A comment. With parenting our hearts and heads and souls are so caught up in the thing it's harder to be clear. We want love, skills, less pain for our special needs kiddo, more friends for our child, happiness, the ability to read, acceptance.... it can get messier. 

So maybe we start by paying attention to ourselves. No pressure, just notice. Let's say yes more (even when it's to say no) and let's click on links that celebrate rather than frighten. Stories that inform rather than shift us to conform. 

I've shared FIX IT IN FIVE with THE BRAIN BROAD a few times, and a few of my followers have liked and commented and shared and retweeted. But when I shared the video that my mom (Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad) uploaded about Autism and the Oregon shooter, a video that tells us with clarity what we are doing wrong, it was shared and watched quicker. This is okay, it's an important video to be sure!

But it's a video that we may never have needed if we were sharing, watching, and celebrating things like FIX IT IN FIVE. 

We need to make a shift. In marketing and in parenting. 

Most of us here at Autism Answers are already doing that, of course. I know I'm preaching to the choir!

So, let's sing louder! Let's get more people to sign up and learn our songs!! 

The world is filled with fun and beauty and yes opportunities. Wanna get all our friends to adventure with us?

I say yes!!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

for more, lovely, actionable, successful, answers!!