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Holistic branding and marketing posts by Diana Chaplin.


Filtering by Tag: branding

Activist Archetype on the Rise: Where Branding and Politics Unite

Diana Chaplin

If we’ve ever talked about branding, then you might know just how fascinated I am by the use of archetypes in messaging and positioning various aspects of communication. That’s because archetypes are universal; they’re the common ground of understanding humanity that we share across cultures, age, race, gender, and most other identifying factors that seem to divide us on the surface.

But the really cool thing about both branding and archetypes is that they transcend any single application or modality.

So even though branding is usually tied to marketing and business, and archetypes to psychology, today I’m going to weave in how all this relates to politics, social movements, and the charged emotional atmosphere we’re in currently.

Now we’re having fun!

So what exactly is an archetype?

Archetypes are a concept that comes from psychology, or more specifically our understanding of the psyche (soul/mind/spirit/core of who we are both individually and collectively) developed by brilliant psychoanalyst Carl Jung. You can think of archetypes as the characters we all have in our subconscious minds. Examples of archetypes include the Hero, Sage, Temptress, Pioneer, Rebel, Angel, Healer, Creator, etc.

I bet you already have a sense of exactly what I meant as I listed those off just now. Yes? That’s because they’re in your, and everyone else’s, subconscious. Archetypes also extend to archetypal events such as birth, death, and marriage, and archetypal motifs, such as patterns in storytelling that include star-crossed lovers, teacher and student, or the epic journey. These are all things that are nurtured into us through culture.

Archetypes are used in branding all the time.

Most of us don’t realize it on a conscious level (we don’t think “oh there goes Nike portraying “the Athlete” again” or “oh Starbucks, you are indeed my Muse”), but we resonate subconsciously, and our brains organize the brand’s information in a particular way that is (generally) favorable to the vibe or style that brand wants to evoke.

Archetypes are like shortcuts to understanding. When done right, we get a feeling, the kind of feeling that is conducive for us to buy or enjoy a particular product.

Here are some examples of archetypes in branding from the environmental nonprofit world (because branding isn’t just for conventional businesses!):

Stand for Trees – forest and wildlife conservation = Protector archetype.

Greenpeace – bold environmental action and defense = Rebel archetype.

Earthjustice – legal organization to enforce environmental laws = Advocate archetype.

Want more examples? Apple = Creator, Sesame Street = Child/Innocent, Rei = Adventurer, Facebook = Networker, Epicurious = Hedonist, HBO = Entertainer, NASA = Explorer, Barnes & Noble = Mentor.

I’m not sure if all of the above would agree with my assessment, but these are the archetypes they convey through their function, marketing, design, and/or products. The archetype is right at the very core of their reason for being or their mission.  

Once you become aware that brands channel these underlying archetypes, you’ll see how ubiquitous these patterns really are, and you can recognize a good brand by how well they can create the full experience of the many layers to that particular archetype. The consistency and authenticity to that persona would permeate everything from the imagery and design, to the copywriting/messaging, and the sensory experience of a physical space. Everything is clear, consistent, and usually awesome in some way.

Take a moment, right now, to ask yourself if you can clearly identify the archetype of your business. Does this archetype permeate every aspect of what you offer and how you offer it? If not, it’s worth exploring further so that everything can click into place with a stronger and more holistic strategy.

One more thing, keep in mind that we’re being impartial here, so this is smart communication strategy that can be used for good… or for shallow consumption. I aim to inform, let your conscience guide you.

Ok great. So what does this have to do with politics?

I’m glad you asked.

If you’re reading this it means you have access to the internet, and so have likely been a witness (if not participant) to the emotional upheaval that has taken over our political and social lives in the United States since the new president has taken office. I’m going to remain a neutral observer here and comment on the response and strong resistance from many who are not so thrilled with the new head honcho or his policies. That response has come in the form of massive protests, marches, petitions, donations, pressure on political leaders of all levels, social media feuds, and groups organizing to discuss and take action.

This, my friends, is the Activist archetype rising. Collectively.

The truth is that we ALL have ALL the archetypes swirling around in our subconscious minds all the time, although usually we operate with one or two as our dominant archetypes and pull from the others when it’s needed based on the situation. For example, you can be a Creator or Artist in your personal and professional life, but when your kid gets sick you quickly shift to being the Caregiver, and then later when you go to a yoga class you’ll be a Seeker for a while. Get it?

But sometimes, archetypes are activated in entire groups of people because a situation calls for it. That’s what’s happening now. We are uniting as Citizens and Activists in opposition to what we see as an attack on our core values. The political situation has gotten so intense that our other archetypes are pushed to the sidelines as this one comes to dominate our attention, and our actions. Regular people who have never been into “the whole activism thing” are suddenly taking to the streets, organizing, have their government officials on speed dial, and planning rallies left and right. Even children are talking about fighting for equal rights.

Suddenly, we are all Activists.

By the way, it’s happened before, so it’s not a liberal or conservative thing, although the group’s sensibilities and moment in history comes with it’s own idiosyncrasies as to how this all unfolds.

In the consumer world, we’re seeing this result in certain businesses being boycotted, a substantial rise in donations to nonprofits, some business closing for a day to illustrate their value, and advertising becoming more political.

Here’s a description of the Activist archetype, from the book Archetypes in Branding:

This archetype is defined by it’s intentional efforts to affect social, environmental, economic or political change. A champion of various causes, the Activist seeks to persuade people to wake up and change their behavior. The activist is motivated by wanting to do some good in the world and to radically transform the conventional order. Driven to truly experience change, this archetype deploys a range of tools that enable action for achieving results. Working within various areas of value to society, the Activist possesses a strong belief in the power of the collective.

Willing to take a stand, the Activist initiates a universal refusal to obey what is wrong and awakens a vision for what is right. Brimming with new ideas for change and problem solving, the Activist can ignite a revolution.

Blatantly critical of old paradigms, this archetype thrives on the high that comes from winning against all odds. The Activist is an outgoing, communicative, ingenious, persuasive, motivating, invigorating and tireless fighter. Passionate and disposed toward sharing the responsibilities and rewards with others, today’s Activist is equipped with digital tools and people power to effect change.

It’s just one description, but it rings a bell doesn’t it?

This is what’s in the air right now. We’re breathing it in, talking about it, sharing it, getting distracted by it, and planning our lives around it. Like it or not, whichever political side you’re on, this archetype is coming to the forefront in the minds of millions.

So what do you do with this information?

When the air is charged with something powerful, YOU - as a business, nonprofit, entrepreneur, or otherwise human who I presume is interested in communicating ideas in a way that will resonate with people – can harness this energy.

How? Recognize it, channel it, but don’t be too overt or you’ll the run the risk of inviting criticism for being opportunistic, shallow, or off-putting. Talk about the values you stand FOR, rather than against, and make sure those values are aligned with your business and existing fundamental message, but in a fresher, updated, more direct, or more connected way. Consider how your business can touch upon the things your audience might be thinking about, such as:

  • Equality and justice for all
  • Protecting the environment
  • Ending corruption
  • Changing our economic system
  • Elevating the messages of peace and love
  • Taking care of each other on a global scale

The point is not to insert yourself into politics, or to become an Activist because it’s trendy, it’s to take a step back and assess whether to engage in something that is already happening, whether your business is ripe for engagement in this way, at this time.

Another interesting approach, could be to determine which archetype is aligned with you or your business, that is complementary to the Activist, meaning an archetype that the Activist would be naturally drawn to, such as the Advocate, Alchemist, Ambassador, Artist, Hero, Idealist, Innovator, Liberator, Reformer, Mentor, etc. If your archetype works to empower or support the Activist then what are ways to make that message stronger, bolder, and clearer? Again, the Archetypes in Branding book is very helpful if you’re interested in exploring these ideas further.

I’ll leave you with one last thing to ponder.

Some scientists have pointed out that history repeats itself through violent social upheavals in 50 year cycles, and that we’re due for one right around now. So like it or not, change is in the air. The only question is whether you and your business will participate.

The Holistic Business Model: Big Picture Strategy Beyond Marketing

Diana Chaplin

I love the word holistic. Maybe it’s my history of working on the marketing team at Integrative Nutrition, or aiming to live my life in a balanced way, but holistic refers to the underlying essence of wholeness that we all unconsciously desire.

It also happens to be how any healthy system works.

Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur, a non-profit, or a mid-scale business, a system is what you’ve got. The question of whether it’s an effective one that has the right elements in place is likely the start of the process you can initiate to achieve wholeness, and ultimately see positive results.

The Holistic Business Model

You can find immense information online on basically any individual part of a business, but what’s often missing is the full context of how each of the various parts fit together. The big picture with the wide angle lens, at the center of which is your brand. That’s the point of relevance that ties everything together, like the hub of a wheel that gives meaning to each individual spoke in order for the whole thing to move forward.

Many think that your brand is a logo, or something to do with marketing. But I beg to differ, because your brand is really the core of your identity. It is the essence of who you are (as an individual or organization) and the more clarity you have in THAT, the easier everything else in the system will flow.

Now mind you, I’m not an “expert.” In fact, I feel that this word has been watered down to the point of triviality in a world where everyone is trying to be one. I have 10+ years of experience in marketing, sales, communications, and coaching, but I’m still learning. I’m telling you this not to downplay my own expertise but to say that this particular holistic business model is a work-in-progress. It may not be complete, and I invite you to comment if I’ve left something out because I wholeheartedly believe in co-creation and collaboration. That’s what systems thinking is all about, and I seek to exemplify learning and innovation with full participation.

So let’s get to it.

As mentioned, your brand is at the heart of the system. Everything revolves around your core identity. I elaborated on branding essentials in a previous post, but what I’ll say here is that investing in your brand is absolutely the best thing you can do for your business. It will be a long, hard road to clarity, one I liken to a vision quest because it will touch upon everything you thought you knew and demand that you reveal your innermost self. But that’s a good thing. And the result, ideally, is something clear, simple, and needed in the world. Something that can be stated in about 10 words or less and easily understood by the people you’re most trying to reach.

Here’s an example from an organization I support, the Biomimicry Institute:

“The Biomimicry Institute empowers people to create nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet.”

Is it clear? I think so.

Is it simple? Yep, it’s just one short sentence.

Is it needed in the world? Oh hell yeah.   

From the core of this identity, they elaborate what that means on their website. They host sustainability-based design challenges, provide educational resources for classrooms, host a public resource site, have a consulting arm, and more. The point is that when you have a clear identity such as this, it is easy to explain what your business is all about, yet also leaves plenty of freedom and flexibility to experiment how that identity manifests in what the business does.   

Not only that, but it helps every single person within the organization understand the collective intention of what they’re all doing, and how the different roles contribute to that effort. When there’s a lack of clarity, at best people tend to disengage and not work to their full potential, and at worst they could actually be detrimental to the business.

Your brand should be useful, meaningful, and memorable.

It can inspire, entertain, invigorate, educate, motivate, or nurture, but ultimately it must make people feel something or become somehow better. Why? Because if your product or service doesn’t leave an impression that is positively meaningful, then you’ll be forgotten or ignored.

So let’s move on.

Once you’ve got your brand clarity figured out, it should permeate throughout your mission, message, products, relationships, and team, and by extension things like marketing strategy, customer experience, and acquisitions.

Mission ­– this is how you’re exemplifying your brand identity and the bigger vision of what you’re really trying to do in the world. For Lifeisgood.com it’s not selling T-shirts, it’s spreading optimism. They sell T-shirts to generate revenue for the business, but they also have a nonprofit kids foundation, share positive stories from all 50 states, and create media. Having a clear and simple mission opens up the ways in which the business can operate and flourish. Check out these conscious brands for inspiration. 

Message – this includes both internal and external messaging. By internal I mean the communications that happen with your team. Are they clear on the big picture of what this organization is trying to achieve? By external I mean anything that you publish, anywhere. Your core message should be consistent with your brand identity and your mission. It involves all marketing efforts, various pages on your website, advertising, blog posts, videos, social media posts, ebooks, and any other forms of content that you create. Be mindful about the words that you use so that they resonate with your audience. This is where it’s critical to have a copywriter, content strategist, and marketing manager who are able to see the big picture of the brand and bring that down to earth in the creation of cohesive messaging at every level.

Products – are you creating things that “walk the talk” of what your brand is all about? You’d be surprised at how often the values or mission of a brand is at odds with the products they actually make. I see this all the time in wellness-related products that use words like “natural” and even “organic” and have lots of green colors and leaves in their packaging, but then use all kinds of artificial ingredients and fillers in the actual composition of their products. We wouldn’t even know if it there weren’t laws stating ingredients have to be disclosed! The point is not to cheat your customers. Make sure your products are genuinely aligned with your brand message and identity. Make them as awesome as possible to truly serve your customers, and have integrity in what you’re creating. Without alignment here, your sales will suffer.

Relationships – this is really what success comes down to. Genuine relationships, built on trust and mutual benefit. Develop a relationship with your customers so you understand their experience, desires, and challenges. Likewise, reach out to potential partners whose mission is aligned and complementary to yours. Be honest with investors, affiliates, consultants, distributors, and anyone else who’s a part of your business network. The more you create opportunities to connect with these individuals the more you’re nurturing the seeding ground for innovation, collaboration, and success.

Team – your team is the staff, whether it’s full or part time employees, freelancers, VA’s, or consultants, and the founder. The founder is a leader of the team, but should also be an open and accessible part of the team. It is critical for everyone on the team to be clear on the mission, and fully informed to speak clearly to customers, ask the right questions, create design and web experiences that speak to the target audience, and of course, be proud and purposeful in the work they do. Every team member should believe 100% in the heart of the brand identity. If they do, they will bring their absolute best selves to the table, and that’s good for business.

What did I leave out here? Plenty!

Service, values, loyalty, diversity, wisdom, leadership, strategy, sustainability, influence. I could go on but I’ll save these topics for separate posts.

For now, here’s your takeaway exercise:

Look at the diagram and the five focus points above and ask yourself which is currently missing from your business? Do you have a clear brand but no system in place to enact it? Do you have a dysfunctional system? Do you lack brand clarity and positioning? Start by putting your finger on what needs your attention most, but be sure to move forward with the holistic mindset of knowing that every element impacts every other element. Don’t create a Band-Aid, create a long-term systemic solution from the inside out.

Get in touch if you think I can help. 

Branding Essentials: The Soulful Entrepreneur's Guide to Clarity

Diana Chaplin

If your business was a person, then branding would be his or her heart. It is the palpable source of life upon which all the other systems depend in order for the whole to flourish and experience a meaningful existence. 

Can you have a business without a brand, or without an awareness of what your brand is? Yes, many businesses do, but that’s kind of like having a lame friend who has no real personality or ambition. Or worse, a friend who is always in the midst of an identity crisis and can’t get their stuff together long enough to actually be helpful or positive.

Maybe you’ll hang out with them because you live in the same neighborhood, or because at some point in the past they had something you needed, but you’re never really that excited to see them, and you certainly wouldn’t tell your other friends how awesome that person is. They’re just… there. Whatever.

On the other hand, a person with a beating heart and integrity, someone who’s warm and welcoming, clear-headed and communicative, and is always up to something interesting… Well, that’s a cool friend you definitely want to spend more time with!  

It’s really as simple as that.  

Branding is basically how you are perceived and experienced by those who interact with you. 

Whether it’s you personally, as in the case of a personal brand, or you as an entity or organization.

If you Google the definition of a brand, you’ll get something like this:

A brand is a distinguishing symbol, mark, logo name, word, sentence or a combination of these items that companies use to distinguish their product from others in the market. The legal term for a brand is a trademark.

But while that isn’t inaccurate, it is highly reductive because all of the things described there are the assets of a brand, not the brand itself. It’s like saying your veins are responsible for getting oxygen to your organs. True, but without the heart you’d just have a bunch of clogged-up tubes.

A brand is NOT a logo.

Here are some deeper interpretations of what a brand really is:

A brand is the position you own in the mind of your audience. It’s a promise to the people you serve and how you serve them. Mitch Anthony, Clarity Strategy Agency

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. – Seth Godin, bestselling author and marketing expert

A brand is about caring about your business at every level and in every detail, from the big things like mission and vision, to your people, your customers, and every interaction anyone is ever going to have with you, no matter how small.Dan Pallotta, author, entrepreneur, and activist

Once you have your brand identity figured out, all the assets (like your website, marketing channels, and even the products or services themselves) will fall into place naturally. But without first going deep within and doing the hard work of figuring out your unique essence, you'll just continue to spin your wheels and not see any real results. 

In case you were wondering, here's a little history of branding from Wikipedia:

The practice of branding originated during the ancient times when it was used by craftsmen to imprint trademarks on their goods. Branding does not only help identify, but it also ensures the quality of goods and services the buyer and trader will purchase from the manufacturer. In history, cattle and sheep were branded with hot irons to indicate ownership. Humans were also marked to classify their social status. Slaves were marked to indicate ownership and criminals are labelled distinctly to show disgrace. Similarly, victims of the World War II Nazi persecution were branded with numbers as they entered the concentration camps. However, despite the history filled with negative connotation linked with branding, it has been replaced with a positive and more commercialized meaning, which relates to the use of categorizing brand goods and services.

You could say the word branding itself was rebranded!

Furthermore, as hinted above, there are many different kinds of brands. So whether you have a physical product, are an educational organization, a non-profit, or a service-based entrepreneur, if you’re doing something you want others to know about then you have a brand.

It’s up to you whether you take ownership of that brand, or let others define it for you.

To me, what it all comes down to are 3 things:

1. Clarity about who you are and how you're serving the world.

2. Understanding that your customers/clients/students/donors/readers are the ultimate heroes, not you.

3. Expressing this to yourself will pave the way to effective communication with others.

The best way to break that down is NOT for me to dictate any rules or steps. It’s to present you with high-mileage questions and encourage that you set aside some quiet time, open your heart, put your thinking cap on, and really sink your teeth into your unique answers, which will become the raw ingredients of your ultimate brand.  

By the way, these are not superficial questions. In case you’re new here you should know that I’m not your average marketing gal who’s focused on endless growth and conversions and profit. What we’re doing here is connecting with the core of why you’re doing this work, and when you can really do that in both a genuine and strategic way, abundance will sprout in more ways than just your bank account. If you're a soulful entrepreneur then I have no doubt you know what I mean.

So here we go, questions to help you connect with the heart of your brand…

1.     Clarity.

What is the mission of your business?

How will this make the world better?

WHY are YOU passionate about the work you do?

What are some words that describe your personality and personal style?

How might others describe your personality? If you're not sure, ask 3 people.

How is your approach to this work different from someone else who has a similar business?

2.     Customers.

Who do you want to serve?

What does this person really care about or value in life?

What is a challenge they have that you are uniquely qualified to address?

In what ways is your ideal customer an incredible person? How might they not even realize their immense gifts?

If you could boil down the result you’d deliver for them in one word, what would it be?

What are some words to describe your ideal customer's personal style?

3.     Communication.

What kinds of content do you most enjoy creating and are good at?

Where do your ideal customers get their information most often?

What kinds of communication do they most enjoy? (Visual, written, digital, tactile, detailed, quick? etc.)

How would they like to be spoken with?

How would they like to feel?

What kind of time do they have for interacting with a business like yours?

Ok, so how was that for you? Easy? Challenging? If you didn’t struggle with at least a few of the questions above then you must be a branding wizard with your business all figured out, in which case congratulations! But if you did struggle a bit, it's still a good thing because it means you're working through it and there's room to grow! 

Usually these answers don’t come easily, but asking the questions (repeatedly, if need be) plants a seed of awareness from which a brand will ultimately grow with thoughtfulness, care, and patience. It’s truly a process of unfolding from the inside out.

Also, please note that these questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding brand clarity. I usually go through these and many more when getting oriented with new clients in order to connect the many relevant information elements that need to come together to form a cohesive holistic brand identity. And depending on where you already are in your business, this may require a graceful pivot rather than a ground-up re-launch.

Hopefully this is enough to get you started, or to reconsider your existing brand more thoughtfully.

Next step:

After you’ve answered, take a nice deep breath, eat some walnuts to feed your brain, make a cup of tea to nourish your soul, and then take a step back to review and brainstorm what your brand is really all about. I’m talking about the BIG PICTURE, not selling more stuff or growing your bank account, but what your individual or organizational contribution is to this big beautiful world in need of progress and healing. How are YOU and your brand elevating human potential, creating more joy or wellness, or leading us all towards higher consciousness or empowerment?

If your brand doesn’t speak to the core of some aspect of universal humanity then it’s not fully cooked yet. That’s ok, just know that, and keep working on it.

Creating a brand isn’t just about sitting in front of your laptop and coming up with a brilliant business strategy. It’s about forging into the brave unknown of your own soul and extracting from that a precious nugget of greatness that will illuminate the collective good.

From there you can craft your mission statements, headlines, logos, web presence, social media strategy, colors and visuals, etc. and you’ll find that these things all fall so much more easily into place than by going the other way around.

So what do you want to have, a business or a brand?

Thoughts? Takeaways? Additional questions I should add above? I welcome your comments :)

Client Experience Core Values: A Freelancer’s Manifesto

Diana Chaplin

Balance, mindfulness, and abundance are my core values in all areas of life, and it is no different in my freelance work.

Even before I began working independently with clients I had a certain work ethic that permeated my career journey from humble beginnings as an ice cream shop server, all throughout my administrative and waitressing jobs in college, my 5-year stint in publishing, and ultimately to being a Health Coach and a Content Manager at a wellness school before starting my own business as a copywriter and content strategist.

These principles have guided my path forward and made me a welcome colleague, coach, and writer. I just never thought to write them down before!

So in case you might be wondering just what guides my sense of purpose and what kind of experience you might expect as a client, here is my manifesto…

If this sounds like it's right up your alley,   let's talk.

Name *
Let's make some magic

Marketing in the Time of Internet

Diana Chaplin

It used to be that marketing was a one-way street on a simple country road.

Businesses would take out ads on the radio, TV, or newspaper, showing mass audiences how awesome and fun their lives would be if only they had some product (or better yet, they'd just show the product itself held by a sexy woman, doctor, or rosy-cheecked child and call it a job well done). They could say whatever they thought would make you buy it, and it usually worked.

Research or oversight to ensure products did as promised was minimal, competition was scarce, and if you were dissatisfied with what you purchased there was really no way to provide feedback in a relevant way.

Crappy brands had it made.

Fast forward to present day and things are a bit more... complicated. We've gone from country road to information highway to a multi-dimensional, time-and-space-bending virtual reality since the internet reached critical mass in the first few years of this century.

Immense competition, quality standards, and social media have revolutionized how people interact with brands. Now there are websites to tell a story, there are analytics to show what's working and what isn't, there's e-commerce so you can get whatever you want, whenever you want it, and if you don't like it, you can not only return it but write a terrible review and damage that brand's reputation.

The power has shifted to the masses.

It is no longer adequate to simply describe the benefits of a product, show it being used, or even get fancy endorsements from celebrities or professionals in the field. If the product, message, or presentation sucks, most consumers will see right through the hype and sales will suffer. 

These days, marketers and brands must engage with potential customers, nurture them, cultivate a relationship, incorporate their feedback, and pull them towards something truly great rather than push them towards poorly-made junk.

With a dynamic like that you'd better believe the products and producers themselves have had to step it up. Few things are just things now. The best things offer a feeling of transformation, health and happiness, a better world, a more fulfilling life. They create an entire world around their products and make you want to be at the center of it all because it will actually make you a better person. 

The key is not simply creating something you (the creator) think is great and then investing  a whole lot of money into stuffing it down the throats of consumers, but developing a customer-centric idea that fulfills a need, putting it out there to test the waters, launching and learning, and continually improving based on real-time feedback from the actual people who use it.

Google does it, so does Apple, Facebook, PayPal, even Subway, Starbucks, and McDonald's. Countless more are getting on the bandwagon and realizing that the younger generation stepping into financial power has a new set of standards and expectations.

The ironic thing is that while most consumers feel uneasy knowing that companies are constantly storing our personal information with every keystroke so they can sell us things, we've also internalized these practices to the effect of being annoyed when we are promoted something clearly in conflict with our preferences.

I mean, if you're a health-conscious foodie and see an ad for KFC on Facebook you're more likely to feel violated, gross, and annoyed at Facebook for subjecting you to such an obvious lack of insight than if you were to see an ad for a yoga retreat or a new chia-coconut kombucha drink. Am I right?

Change may be slow for companies that have been around for a long time and have a hard time making shifts in their business model, but new companies are taking off and succeeding quickly by using these practices, just look at Kickstarter, Twitter, Toms, and all the countless artisinal food labels having breakout sales because they're smart about using Instagram!

Furthermore, there is greater specialization. Gone are the days when companies made "great clothes" or "sturdy backpacks" now if you're looking for black sweaty yoga leggings with butterfly patterns there's a business for that, if you're into patent leather tech accessories you can find it on Etsy, if you want Fair Trade raw dark chocolate with superfoods there's a biz for that too. It would have been unheard of to cater to such a niche market years ago but now the internet has united consumers and businesses who sell one-specialized-thing-but-it's-the-best-that-thing out there have flourished. 

Since the dawn of the internet, both marketing practices and the customers themselves have changed and we're not going back. Personally, I like it. It is a more authentic, fun, creative, and effective way to sell things that people genuinely want or need.

Goodbye commerce as money for goods, hello commerce as goods with value!