The old axiom holds true: Inspiration comes from anywhere.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking at Career Day at Comprehensive Model School Project (CMSP) M.S./ H.S. 327, a school for economically disadvantaged children in grades 6-12 in the Bronx. As I made the rounds of four different classrooms, mixing personal and professional stories while stumping for personalized technology and SundaySky, I responded to a flurry of raised hands with questions:
“Do you plan everything out before you write?” (Not always.)
“Does your company make those survey ads that run before YouTube videos?” (No.)
“How much do you get paid?” (I plead the fifth.)
Addressing their boundless curiosity required quick-thinking aplomb, but my concerns lay elsewhere. I hoped to impart words of meaning to the students, whose unwritten futures deserved more than hackneyed clichés and platitudes.
The larger question for me was simple: How can I properly advise these kids on a career?
I took a moment to reflect upon my cab ride en route to the school. While traveling on the Cross-Bronx Expressway, I considered the work we do at SundaySky and how it could possibly relate to Career Day. If you peruse the “About Us” section of our company’s website, you’ll read that SundaySky believes “consumers are unique individuals – not a group of demographics – and that each wants to be communicated to in a personal and compelling way. We believe in treating every consumer as an audience of one. At SundaySky, it is our mission to transform the relationship between brands and customers through personalized video, and help brands realize the potential in the audience of one.”
SundaySky espouses the notion that customers deserve marketing customized specifically to their needs and wants, which vary from person to person. It was then that I connected the ethos of personalization with the philosophy of a career. A career can have many twists and turns, depending on the type of industry and the characteristics of the career-seeker. At CMSP 327 I stood in front of potential doctors, lawyers, business executives, journalists and artists, amid a myriad of possible professional opportunities. They were teens and tweens hailing from assorted backgrounds with an eclectic range of interests and abilities. Realistically there is no one piece of advice applicable to everyone, no one nugget of wisdom that works for all.
So I told the students of CMSP 327, in as many words, “Personalize your path.” Get on board a career specific to who YOU are and follow it. It may not be the same as anyone else’s journey, but it’s going to be one that belongs to you – or, put another way, with a tweak to the “About Us” copy from the SundaySky website:
“You are unique individuals, not a group of demographics. Your story is personal and compelling. Realize the potential in you.”
Whether it’s a student pursuing a career or an advertiser pursuing a marketing strategy, personalization is sound advice that fits best.
Special thanks to Principal Alixandre Ricci, Barbara J. Gonzalez and the faculty, staff and students at CMSP 327 for inviting me to Career Day and serving as the inspiration for this article.