Monday, October 5, 2015

Green Revolution - Kick-Aspirational PB and J

Find the shirt here

I love words.

But I am generally not crazy about new buzzwords and catchphrases. Words like synergy and paradigm shift, literally, and Bruh...eek! The literary equivalents of the tramp stamp.

But I picked up on a new buzzword this week - aspirational, and I like it. My wife came home from a heated discussion with a board member and relayed the discussion to me, and that word popped up. The board member kept telling her that she is too aspirational, that she needs to scale back instead of reaching outward and upward. I hate to admit it, but my mind wandered from the conversation a bit (Sorry, Dear!) as I digested the word in its adjective form.

Aspire. I know that one. It's the verb that stands somewhere between hoping, longing, and reaching for a positive change or state. I aspire to be carbon-free! Aspiration. I know that one. That's the noun form of the same. I have aspirations of saving the world through blogging. Aspirational. Nothing terribly new, but novel nonetheless. And very useful. I filed it away and thought I might use it sometime.

[Liguistic sidebar: don't confuse aspire with aspirate, a word which has more to do with breathing and exhalation.]

This morning I was reading through a Lloyd Alter article. (I really like Lloyd Alter articles too.) This one was about the problems we have had with marketing climate change and the need for behavior changes. He spoke about our past messages being gloomy and subtractional. <> For some reason, people turn away and look at kittens on social media when they see these messages.

But then Lloyd busted out the a-word on Slide 12. Lloyd writes for Treehugger.com. On TH, the most popular stories tend to be about Tesla. People eat up Tesla stories - save the world with really amazing self indulgence! Yep, the Tesla gives you the option of having a positive (or at least carbon- neutral) impact while wrapping yourself in flashy, luxurious, rock-star excess! The Tesla scores huge on the WIIFM (pronounced whiff-em) scale - What's In It For Me?!!!

While I'd love to think that we can save the world through aspirational altruism, history has proven over and over that people (in general) are selfish and short-sighted. We have to remember that when we tell people why they should give a damn. Our local blood donation center recently saw a drastic increase in donations when the blood donation was tied to the opportunity to win a brand-new car. Wanting to help people in need of blood is one thing, like maybe peanut butter. Wanting a brand new car is something completely different, like maybe grape jelly. Put those things together and you have a really great sandwich combination of altruism and WIIFM.

So, let me prove that I am terrible at marketing with a question:

We are all going to die if we do not make positive changes. What tangible WIIFM will it take for you to donate blood aspire to a carbon-fneutral lifestyle?

May you figure out your price and have it met.