Now is the time for us to rethink how we live

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Detroit 2025 (

This is Part 4 of an essay series. Read Part 1 here.

I have always been enamored by the built environment. I studied Architecture and Urbanization at University. I have always felt that architecture is the highest expression of art — art in which humans get to learn, play, work, and live. Office buildings, condominiums, houses, roads, public transit, and shared spaces all form and define our cities.

According to the UN,

Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Projections show that urbanization, the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations data set launched today. …

What a brand does is more important than what a brand says

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Ellen in her home (Warner Bros.)

I have been a fan of Ellen’s for years. I watched her original sitcom in the mid to late 90’s. She was hilarious and kind. I was personally devastated when her show got unceremoniously axed from the ABC network because she had come out as a lesbian. She was an inspiration to the LGBTQ+ community and had the rug pulled out from under her.

Fast forward a mere five years and things shifted. More and more shows feature gay characters and employ openly gay actors. It’s 2000 and all of a sudden it’s cool to have a GBF (Gay Best Friend). …

Now is the time to rethink how we spend our money

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A desolate Eaton Centre during the COVID-19 Pandemic

This is Part 3 of an essay series. Read Part 1 here.

Consumption is the ‘engine of the economy.’ Or so some say. This is because consumption drives an estimated 70% of GDP. Consumers consume food, medication, personal care products, makeup, cleaning products, home goods, clothing, gasoline — the list is endless.

The Oxford English Dictionary tells us,

“Consumer” comes from the Latin “consumere” — “to destroy, wear away, to kill, annul, extinguish, wear down, exhaust, to eat, devour, to take (a medicine), use up, expend, swallow up, merge, to spend (money, resources or time), waste, squander.”

By definition, Consumerism is rooted in the destruction and exhaustion of resources. But does it have to be this way? A ‘consumer’ is also a ‘customer’ of a bank, a ‘client’ of a lawyer, a ‘patient’ of a doctor, and a ‘user’ of a website. So many terms that we have created over the years to replace what we actually are, human beings. And human beings are emotional creatures. We have thoughts and feelings that drive our decisions and actions. So what if we stopped shopping, purchasing, leasing, and consuming for a moment? Or even for a few months, like during a pandemic. What would happen? Would physical retail stores go bankrupt and shudder? Would the travel industry come to a screeching halt? Would unemployment rates rise rapidly and drastically? Would foodbanks become overwhelmed? Would the global economy start to plummet? …

Now is the time for us to reflect on our behavior towards others

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Celebrating Mister Rogers | Google

This is Part 2 of an essay series. Read Part 1 here.

Several weeks ago, Madonna referred to COVID-19 as “the great equalizer.” While the irony of her communicating this message from her rose-sprinkled, oversized bathtub in her New York City Upper East Side apartment is not lost on us, she makes a point. A virus does not discriminate. Not against different races, religions, sexes, or sexual orientations. A virus does not care who it hurts or kills; its sole purpose is to survive. A virus infects a host, multiplies, and works to infect more and more hosts. …

Now is the time to rethink everything

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Photo by Kilyan Sockalingum on Unsplash

Many stories, speculations, and conspiracy theories surround COVID-19. Some are convinced that this virus is man-made, born in a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Others believe that this is an act by Mother Nature to control the world’s population size, thus reducing the incredible stress humans are causing on planet Earth. Regardless of how, where, and why the virus originated, it has become clear that change is needed across many aspects of how our global society lives, operates, and collaborates.

Many analogies and expressions are being used to refer to what is happening to humanity right now. Billy Porter calls this a “Global Reset” during which “Mother Nature has decided to sit us all down.” WHO calls this the “Fight of Our Lives.” Many journalists and writers are referring to it as the “Great Pause.” Whether we refer to this as a reset, a fight, or a pause, what this time while we are apart — together — is giving us is a collective opportunity for reinvention. This is a time when we stop, pause, reflect, and ask ourselves, “What do we want for our future?” There will not be many times in our lives (if any) when we are provided an opportunity to do this reflection. As opposed to viewing this as an inconvenience or a burden, we need to flip this situation on its head and see this as a time in history when we are being given more than just a moment in time — more like months in time — to dig deep into what it is that we want to change for the better, both within our own lives, and on this planet. To reinvent is to start anew, with new values, new goals, and new purpose. For a reinvention to happen, we must first reflect. And as we reflect on our past thoughts, feelings, and actions, if we are looking to change our future behavior to affect positive change in our lives and the lives of others, we need to rethink everything. …

It’s the most important thing

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A Secret Love on Netflix

The new Netflix movie called ‘A Secret Love’ is a unique, tragic, and sad, yet uplifting love story. It is about two women who meet in the 1940’s and become a couple. However, it is not safe for their relationship to be public, so they hide it from their family, friends and colleagues. For decades.

I don’t want to give away more of the plot, however, after I watched it I took a moment to reflect upon the things that this beautifully told story teaches us and reinforces about love:

Love can be found anywhere, even on a baseball field.

Love can be found in long-term friendships. …

What to expect emotionally in the weeks and months to come

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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

It’s okay to admit it – you are struggling right now.

We all are.

Our world has been turned upside down. Most of us have not experienced anything like this in our lifetime. And we do not know how long this will last. And we do not know what the future will hold. The uncertainty is causing us a great deal of stress and anxiety. Many of us have a mix of emotions, and this will continue for some time.

A multitude of questions are swirling around in our minds…

This isn’t real, is it?

How long is this going to last?

Brands do owe their existence to consumers

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Brand Managers may be formally responsible for building brands over time, but consumers are informally responsible for building brands through their purchasing decisions.

However, during tough times like a pandemic or a recession, consumer spending changes drastically and wanes overall.

So what should brands do?

Should they continue to advertise as they normally would, convincing consumers who are spending less overall to spend money on their products and services? Or is it a time for brands to give back to the very consumers that have been supporting them for many years with their wallets?

I work for a communications agency called Behaviour. We believe that what a brand does is more important than what a brand says. Said another way, actions speak louder than words. …

Striking similarities explained

The following video is being shared across the internet . . .

Every COVID-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same on YouTube

The description below the video reads,

When a company or brand releases a Coronavirus Response ad, they might tell you that we’re living in “uncertain times”, but that “we’re here for you”. They may say their top priority is “people” and “families” by bringing their services to the “comfort and safety of your home”. And don’t forget: “we’re all in this together!”

The way this video was produced — along with the accompanying commentary — suggests a level of judgment and scrutiny of the coronavirus response campaigns that are saturating the market. …

What can we learn from it?

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Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash

The time we are living in is as confusing as it is uncertain.

When the pandemic first started, I would go for walks to get fresh air and runs to get exercise. Walking by other people, I would make eye contact, smile, and they would smile back at me.

Fast forward several weeks into the minimization of human contact, and now when I go for a walk or run, people who pass by me no longer look me in the eye. No smile on their faces, no happiness in their eyes, just moving on their not-so-merry way. Perhaps it’s because they are tired of the current self-isolation situation, or because no one can forecast when this crisis will end. Everyone around the world is eager to get back to ‘normal’ life. …


Josh MacKinnon

Josh is the Managing Director of Behaviour in Vancouver, Canada. He has been published in elemente, INToronto, and DNA magazines.

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