More Than Words


When it all feels hopeless

If you don't want to read anything more about the tragic shooting in Texas this week, I understand and ask you to close this post and go on with your day. (Also, I'm going to voice some opinions you might not like and for that I'm not going to apologize one bit.) I would love to bring you some typical Danielle content and make this newsletter as fun, informative and inspiring as it normally is, but today I just can't. Today isn't the day for whimsy. This issue was supposed to be about my two recent IRL speaking gigs: How I was so excited to be back in person and get to address a live audience right in front of me. About the energy of a room and the power of a community of like-minded marketers and professionals in one place. About coming together to be better in our jobs and learn from people smarter than us. But what does marketing even matter when something tragic like this happens? One could argue this is all marketing. That the NRA is the most powerful marketer in the country. You have to hand it to them, as well. They may be the best marketers to have ever lived. After all, they've convinced a country that guns are more important than just about anything else. (certainly children) And what a re-brand! Until a few decades ago they were actually about education and educating the next generation of marksmen. The NRA was about the sport of guns instead of guns for sport. They didn't set out to be this lobbying behemoth. They just wanted to be a place where people who liked to hunt could find community. And they actually were PRO gun safety and reform. They worked with the government to pass restrictions on ownership, carrying and trafficking. I'm not going to dig into the entire story of their transformation. There are tons of articles where you can learn about their history. But they did transform. And with that transformation they transformed our narrative and our country. Like many brands, they fell prey to power, influence and income. They forgot their values and their mission and instead became something entirely different. They become an organization with one value: power. The very organization that promoted safe gun use now flouts it at all costs. But moreover, they wield their messaging in the most adept and most sinister way. They're the masters of marketing propaganda. They've convinced people their children matter less than their right to own guns at all costs. That our right to bear arms is more important than our right to safely send our children to school. Or go to the mall. Or a nightclub. Or a park. Or a store. Or a subway. It's truly genius marketing. I'll give them that. And enough people have fallen for it and fallen under it that we may never be able to feel safe again. No marketing and no product is worth that. And while it feels hopeless right now — knowing that despite the majority of the country wanting reform, it won't happen because a minority have the power to do nothing and say nothing (or more likely that what they say means nothing) — it isn't hopeless. We do have the power to re-brand. We can re-brand our government by voting. We can re-brand by donating to organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. We can re-brand by caring more about people than products. We can re-brand by remembering the real values that this country stands for (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) and insisting we live up to them — collectively. Because there's nothing worse than hating the only product you have. Something has to change. And we can make that happen. We just have to try. Sending love to all of you. xoxo