The Significance of the Mundane

Robert Abbott
 


Visitors: 382

This article begins with a tip of the hat to a scholarly publication called the Journal of Mundane Behavior. Unlike other publications, which herald important issues, this one trumpets everyday, but rarely noticed, behaviors. It sees what the rest of us overlook because that stuff is so, well, mundane (my dictionary defines ‘mundane’ as being ordinary or common).

For example, I just read an article in the Journal about beards and shaving, one that interests me because I've had a beard for almost as long as I've been able to shave. And while that subject may interest me, it doesn't mean much in the great scheme of things.

Today, I'm interested in the connection between the mundane and communication. In this article we'll explore how great strategies can emerge from observing not great, but everyday events. We'll use our understanding of seemingly insignificant things and behaviors to come up with grand strategies.

Federal Express, for example, used to run humorous television ads that showed ordinary people, shipping clerks I suppose, and how scared they were that their shipments might not get to their destinations on time.

Clearly, a case of using the mundane to craft a great marketing strategy. That advertising strategy, coupled with a strong business strategy, led to one of the entrepreneurial success stories of the 20th century.

And that business strategy might not have been so successful without the advertising strategy. After all, most companies would have opted for commercials showing shiny cargo planes, pilots in crisp uniforms, or bright people figuring out cargo scheduling.

From that example, we might think of crafting our own communication strategies, based on the mundane.

One of the great difficulties with the mundane, of course, is that it's harder to see and to grasp. After all, it's the absence of something rather than its presence. The classic expression of this phenomenon may have been Sherlock Holmes‘ remark about the dog that didn't bark.

Having identified a mundane phenomenon, we're next faced with the challenge of understanding its significance. If not a single customer calls with a complaint or compliment, what does it mean? If there haven't been any resignations lately does it mean your employees are more loyal than they used to be? Or is it just a statistical blip?

And, one final issue: how will you explain the significance of the phenomenon to others? Will you explain it for what it is, or what it is not?

You may remember the Show About Nothing episode of the Seinfeld television series. George Costanza tries to explain to TV executives how a new show would be about nothing, while the executives look bewildered. And, switching quickly from art to life, a show about the mundane life of Jerry and friends became one of the most successful television series ever.

In summary, the common and ordinary things of life, the mundane, offer untapped opportunities to create great communication strategies.

Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at: http://www.communication-newsletter.com

(553)

Article Source:


 
Rate this Article: 
 
Significance of Timesheet
Rated 4 / 5
based on 5 votes
ArticleSlash

Related Articles:

5 Remedies When the Mundane Wears You Down

by: Doran Roggio (October 14, 2006) 
(Self Improvement)

Money Making Beyond the Ruts of Mundane

by: Scott L. Phelps (August 10, 2008) 
(Business/Entrepreneurialism)

The Law of Attraction and Mundane Concerns

by: Pete Koerner (May 12, 2008) 
(Self Improvement/Attraction)

Mundane Attachments - The Cause of Spiritual Failure

by: Victor Epand (August 12, 2008) 
(News/Religion)

From Mundane to Magical: A Look at Customer Service

by: Jay Stubbs (July 03, 2006) 
(Business/Customer Service)

The Mundane Toilet Brush! - Making the Right Choice

by: David Andrew Smith (August 26, 2005) 
(Home and Family)

Mundane Astrology - Effects Of Jove In The Fifth In Scorpio For India

by: Govind Kumar (January 02, 2008) 
(Arts and Entertainment/Astrology)

Will You Have a Legacy of Significance?

by: Dr. Mario Barrett, Ph.D. (August 02, 2008) 
(Self Improvement/Motivation)

Significance in the Philippines

by: Marianne O (July 29, 2008) 
(Travel and Leisure/Destination Tips)

Significance of Timesheet

by: Pradeep Qpt (October 22, 2011) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)