As is usually the case, they were chatting amongst themselves. Something about another kid losing his bus pass. Miss Somebody (can’t recall who) being the kindest teacher, like, ever. Where to find the iron (or something like that) in Mine Craft.
It’s clear I was only half-listening, partly to let them have privacy in their kid chit-chat, and partly because I was still thinking about the sales video I’m working on.
Then they started discussing which subjects to choose for IGCSE (an international high school certification), and like any sensible mother, my ears perked up.
Son, “Mr. So-And-So said it’s a good idea to take a language, may be even two languages. Who knows, we might leave and go to another country …”.
Friend, “Yeah, definitely should choose at least one language. That’s so important.”
Son, “You know, I’m thinking about taking Media and Business.”
Son, “Yeah, like, you know, advertising.”
Friend, “But that’s not a language!”
I couldn’t help myself. Turning slightly towards the back seat, I piped up that media is so definitely a language.
But seriously, isn’t media a language?
It’s the language we use to communicate with our customers. Like language and its numerous dialects, it makes sense to tailor our media message depending on where we are, and who are talking to.
Like language, and its multiple tonalities, we must use visuals in images and videos to portray the right tone.
And just like language, the same message can mean a multitude of different things to the persons receiving it.
Continuing with the parallels with language, to do business in, say, China, it might be best to learn Mandarin. Someone who is a native Mandarin speaker will obviously have certain business advantages over someone who doesn’t, while in a place where the bulk of the messages are exchanged in Mandarin.
It wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference in Rome, for instance.
That’s the thing about media – you can leverage the language you know (video, copywriting, social) to gain an unfair advantage.
The corollary is, of course, that when in Rome, do as Romans do: don’t post pictures of kittens on LinkedIn, use abbreviated words in a formal email, and go text-heavy in Tumblr.
Thinking back to that car ride, I must admit, the last thing I thought would trigger thinking about media as a language was a conversation between a couple of twelve-year-olds!
But I’m glad the kids brought it up. It’s giving me a chance to think about the right mix of messages I want to put in my promotional materials for Product Complete!
Do you think media is the new language, especially if you live, breathe and run a business on internet?
And do you think it’s too early to teach my son how to put Media and Business together, and get him to run a XBox blog?
Besides, football players get plenty of media and business too 🙂