I was watching this video by Irish-Chinese film maker Edwin Lee on the refurbishment of of the Wong Tai Sin Temple in northern Kowloon and thought that it was an excellent metaphor for something I’d been looking to talk about for a while.
Sik Sik Yuen is the Taoist organisation who look after the temple were faced with a challenge. They were renovating a hall of worship, but didn’t want to see their handiwork be adversely affected by the smoke of traditional prayer offerings. Their solution was an ‘electric’ temple that signifies the offering being accepted. The prayers are then burned in the traditional way by Taoist priests elsewhere.
So what does this tell us about social media?
Well if you’re like me you’ll have heard a number of times that ‘we need to do something on <insert the social software platform of the day here>‘ or ‘we need to have a <insert owned social media platform here>‘.
It’s hard to get people to think about things the other way around:
- What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
- Is it a new problem or an old problem?
- If its an old problem, what is wrong with the old way? (If there is nothing wrong with the old way, apart from the fact that its old, is the realpolitik of the new worth it?)
- How can you solve it and fit into the lives of the people who you are trying to solve the problem for?
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for innovation and I am quite happy to sell someone the new new thing – particularly if I can use it as a case study to sell other people the new new thing at a later date as well. But a significant amount of the time innovation occurs for all the wrong reasons, delivering little and wasting marketing resources.
Does your brand really need that latest, greatest Facebook commerce application or are their easier picking to be made optimising what you already have?
Is there a better creative vehicle rather than social media for what you are trying to achieve; like creating some sort of real-world experience or web-of-no-web application to knit offline and online together?