Real vs. Credible in Music, Marketing and Beyond

Have you met Japan’s current rockstar sensation? She’s a beauty to behold, with big doey eyes, punk blue hair, breezy sweet pipes and rockin’ moves. She and her band have been selling out massive auditoriums full of Japan’s screaming youth set, a group recognized for having a sharp eye for hot new trends and for launching global cultural phenomena.

In the music world, like the fashion scape and the tech sphere, when something blows up in Japan, it’s worth investigating. So what’s so special about Hatsune Miku that we should stop and take a closer look? Well, for one thing, she’s a hologram.

Now, granted, probably like many of you and like much of the media coverage, my first reaction was to dismiss the craze as an offshoot of the pillow-marrying camp blown up to freaky societal proportions ─ until I began to identify with Hatsune’s creators and fans. Is it possible that what she provides fans through her lyrics, melodies and entertainment has real value? Is the connection any less real because she’ not what we’d expect?

Our blue-haired muse is a reminder not to discount quality from unexpected sources. Though one person doubts her abilities, the entertainment she offers is real to others. The connection her fans feel to the like-minded community that follows her music is real. Though her presence is restricted to the virtual world, what she contributes to worldwide culture is real, as is what she reveals about ourselves.

As technology and society evolve, it’s time to reevaluate our judgments about what’s real. It wasn’t long ago that my homeboy Dwight from The Office was the butt of pranksters’ jokes because of his Second Life.

As recently as a couple years ago, mainstream media’s shallow stereotypes of roll-play gamers characterized by lacking social graces was the dominant view. Today, few among us haven’t cultivated a second life of sorts through Facebook and the like. Represent your most attractive, fun, witty self with every addition or retraction of a keyboard stroke or image file. And with firings and prosecutions over online comments becoming more frequent, it’s hard to deny the deepening consequences of our persona online.

It’s time to adjust our attention from “real” to credibility, relevance and connection. In Internet marketing, the lesson carries over. Don’t assume the value of a tactic based on overgeneralized stereotypes removed from context, whether its writing off all purchased links or overlooking the advantages of scalable SEO outsourcing. Take every opportunity to build a connection to your audience with resonant content and a pervasive online presence. The end game of Internet marketing is to be the most credible and relevant resource in your arena. Game on.

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