Sunday, 20 September 2009

Will provincial values count in the new virtual community?

In provincial New Zealand markets, provincial brand still carries weight . Will the new social media erode or reinforce that differentiator?

I’m a country boy – New Zealand “cow cocky” stock: breaking in the land. Genuine folk – what you saw was what you got. It had to be that way, struggling together; #8 wire, good-enough, ingenuity and resourcefulness.

That’s the roots of provincial New Zealand; still relevant in provincial commerce today where folks have probably become more suspicious and wary of increasingly individualistic “big-city” folks.

For example, a provincial professional firm (my client) recently negotiated to acquire a business in Wellington. Although the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington has many characteristics of a provincial town. Being clearly provincial contributed to my client winning preferred purchaser status and to acceptance by existing staff.

Here’s a prediction: the new social media will magnify the “provincial” brand differentiators because despite the apparent anonymity of the web the new social media, like village community anywhere, lives on genuineness and authenticity: deep interpersonal connection and reputation.

I reckon my provincial clients can do well in this new environment, and they are. Although it may become virtual, “local” will still be the web of relationships between people who are well known to, in continual contact with, and of value to each other, one way or another.

Bad news for the fakes, cons, bullies and manipulators. So watch out for identity theft. Your identity, in the broadest, deepest sense may be even more valuable than now. What will your identity be? Who are you and what will you be?

Brings to mind Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes who’s in a rush to catch the next boat to Paris:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare. Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82

Polonius has in mind something much more Elizabethan than the New Age self-knowledge that the phrase now suggests. (Macrone, Michael. "To thine own self be true." Brush Up Your Shakespeare. Cader Company, 1990. 2007. 19 Sep, 2009)

1 comment:

  1. Well put Steve and I agree with you wholeheartedly - although I don't know that I would have thought it myself so thank you!
    Jill - small town Kiwi