“The medium is the message” is the iconic quote Marshall McLuhan wrote in his 1964 book “Understanding Media-The Extensions of Man.” This was McLuhan’s groundbreaking thesis in communications theory. “The medium is the message” avers that the media-form delivering a message becomes part of the message itself. Thus creating a relationship between the two affecting the perception of the deliverer whether it a person or a brand.
Having been written decades ago, he refers to TV as new media. Even though his point of reference is outdated, his concepts are anything but. McLuhan received much notoriety by other observers of social phenomena when he said “we live mythically and integrally”…but still insist on existing within the outmoded unconnected ways of the pre-electronic age.
In the early 1960’s McLuhan also wrote that the visual, individualistic print culture would soon come to an end be replaced by “electronic interdependence.” People will move from a fragmented existence to more of a collective identity with a “tribal base.” His term for this dynamic….the “Global Village.” I believe Marshall McLuhan’s concepts were a blueprint for the mindset of modern communications.
It’s mind-boggling how many different ways and “touch points” are available in which a brand can and does reach consumers today. In one form or another a brand is always speaking to us. And, of course, with social media specifically, consumers get to speak about a brand…your brand…in an unfiltered manner. This interactivity via social media is an extension of the consumers themselves…and they know this. The result…a brand and its voice go far beyond the simple words and pictures crafted by us. If we accept, and I do, that Marshall McLuhan’s beliefs are more fact than theory, where a brand’s presence is and in what form can have a profound outcome.
Today the core essence of a brand and its chance to be wildly successful is the result of this synergy….this holistic experience.
As we all know, many companies offer expertise in every discipline. PR companies. Branding companies, Marketing/Communication companies, Experiential Marketing companies and so on and so on. Also, as we all know, there are many who present themselves as “full-service”….the “we do it all company.” This makes perfect sense and would be great if within the company itself, the walls would finally come down. Unfortunately silos within companies still exist.
Imagine the possibilities if we take the McLuhan concept and expand upon it. Imagine going beyond “the medium is the message” and said “the totality of the media is the message.” Imagine if a company could really fulfill the promise of “full-service.” Imagine a “Holistic Communications Company.” One that would emphasize the organic or functional relation between parts and the whole.
Thank you Mr. McLuhan. We have been searching for a new definition that conveys our services in the context of today’s media universe…….ADinfinitum. “A Holistic Communications Group™.”