- On November 18, 2020
Most of you who know me or have worked with me have known my practice (formerly known as Ruiz McPherson Communications) has primarily focused on the development and delivery of integrative digital strategy and visual communications. Those core offerings have been at the crux of my consulting services since 2005, when I first broke out from the 9-to-5 world to partner with brands and digital agencies in need of meaningful guidance, strategic direction, storytelling expertise, and design support across platforms.
As 2021 looms near, and as I’ve further entrenched myself into the realm of immersive mediated technologies, human psychology, and social sciences, much of the foundational value I’ve brought to the brand table time and again, and spanning two decades, will continue — but with some key differences.
Beyond the commerce
First, while commercial aspirations are obviously front-and-center in capitalistic societies like ours, I long to expand my wings beyond solely for-profit affiliated projects. I long to work with and assist brands and organizations seeking to make meaningful contributions to society. This includes, for example, non-partisan-based ideas, products, and services for the betterment of communities, the protection and nurturing of democracy, and the implementation of technologically responsible solutions for society at large.
My incremental pivot towards societal needs comes from a political psychology awakening inspired by:
- my own doctoral and academic works, and
- our country’s increasingly politically polarized climate over the past 10+ years
I’ve never been a political person, I’ve never been “into” politics, and I don’t belong to any political party. But as a citizen, media psychologist, and technology ethicist, it’s become difficult to sit on the sidelines and ignore the barrage of detrimental effects of misinformation, false narratives, fake news, deepfakes, and other “digital strategies” currently being used to manipulate and control parties, policies, and the masses.
I often feel like those of us with extensive marketing and digital strategy backgrounds are witnessing, in real-time, the complete unfolding of the usual marketing “best practices” become twisted and transformed into the “worst practices” for political purposes.
For example, in the realm of content strategy and audience development, often video content is at the very top of the “what to do content list” in order to nurture and entice the most engagement. In the political arena, however, the notion of video content is blatantly abused and distorted into synthetic media and political propaganda (in the form of “deepfakes” and “cheapfakes”) to manipulate minds, excite emotions, and misrepresent ideas. If such practices were undertaken for promotional or advertising purposes in the marketing sector, the perpetrators would be chastised and made excoriated examples of what not to do to consumers and what practices not to follow, industry-wide. Yet how have such damaging practices become the welcome norm in political circles? What cultural and societal issues have inspired their pervasiveness and how can democratic society combat such practices?
It’s complicated, I know.
But I believe, given my vast experience as an effective marketer, communicator, designer, and technologist — coupled now with my media psychology and social sciences depth — that I have a variety of ideas and suggestions worth throwing into the political psychology, synthetic media, and socio-cultural ring for consideration.
It is this very desire to somehow “help” society chip away at these impactful issues at the macro level where I find my renewed sense of calling is heading.