Sunday, November 9, 2008

So Wanna...Know What Lauren Proctor Studies in Graduate School?

"What is it that you're studying at NYU?" The question in and of itself sounds simple enough. It's a non threatening way to make small talk, but the simple inquiry catches me off guard every time.

For starters, when people ask what other people are studying they usually expect an answer that can be given within a single breath. Marketing, English, Economics, or even Electrical Engineering. Simple, accessible, telling.

I, on the other hand, am affiliated with a program that's title alone contains enough syllables to make you dizzy. When I tell some people that I belong to the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies I see their eyes glaze over in what is either disinterest or absolute confusion. Those that stick with me through that part usually want to know what that means, and I used to think that actually knowing what I was studying would help me describe it to an outsider.

Now I realize that even though I'm beginning to solidify my topic of study, the good ole' twelve second elevator pitch simply leaves people confused and wondering again why I go to NYU. I'm tempted to print out business cards and hand them a link to my blog saying, "If you're really interested read this guide. If not, don't worry about it and thanks for asking."

For everyone who is still reading, here is why I go to NYU:  Within the next year and a half I want to become one of the leading scholars in how brands can make meaning in the modern media landscape.

What exactly, does that mean?  I'll talk a little bit about my theories this evening, but you can rely on periodic (or at least semi periodic) updates on my research right here.  All my posts will be filtered under "Apex Beat," as well as something like "Graduate School," "Marketing," "Brands," "Media," or something along those lines.

In the meantime, I'll tell you the foundation of my studies.  I am convinced that the new digital world in which we live is changing how we live and communicate (to a certain degree).  The media landscape is different than it was in the past, and this transformation is forcing brands to change how they relate and connect to people.

I'm not arguing that traditional TV spots and magazine ads will disappear, but lately I have seen the emergence of a new trend.  People are redefining how they relate to brands, and brands need, in part, to redefine how they reach people.

I want to be part of this revolution.  Not only that, but I want to help foster new ways for brands to create positive, meaningful relationships with consumers.  People shouldn't have to endure advertising, they should be able to enjoy it.  The push, pull of advertisers vs. consumers should be over, and the consumer should always win out.

That is, until brands figure out how to create positive communities and loyalties based on what they offer their consumers.  I believe that in the new digital world the best brands will succeed by creating content driven ideas that engage people at the core of their being and the essence of their passion(s).  In a relevant and meaningful way, brands will become the indispensable facilitator of the type of success people seek, and in doing so everyone will win out.

Brands will send messages in ways that connect consumers, and consumers will get what it is they want.  At least that's the goal formula I plan to crack in a year and a half.  

Stay tuned, and stay aware.  I'll keep you updated right here on this blog, again, under the tag "Apex Beat."


Academic breakthroughs should be matched with ethereal beats.  Check out Dri, a chilled out female vocalist whose voice swims in the clouds above a dreamy set of musical landscapes.  Think Enya meets M.I.A in the most soothing, underground artsy way possible.

Dri - "You Know I Tried"


Anonymous said...

As you start plumbing this, think about two recent and divergent media "brands" and the evolution of those brands as people and the media interacted: Obama and Palin. So, it's not just the brand and the consumer, but brand and the interactiondynamic. Miss ya'and hope it's going well in Nuevo york.

Lauren Proctor said...

Hi Anonymous,

That's helpful. I like the way you think and appreciate your use of the word "plumbing." Unfortunately I'm not sure who you are. Mind enlightening me with not only your intelligent comment, but also your identity?

I think Obama and Palin are great examples of brands and that point proves that my studies could go absolutely anywhere. But interaction, that's key. Not only that, but I think that now that we belong to a media world of many to many (as opposed to just a few producers reaching many consumers) interaction dynamics are only going to become more and more important.

Thanks for the train of thought...