permissionPermission: do you have it? Can you get it? Do you foster it? Do you use it or abuse it?

Seth Godin published a fantastic – no, I use that word to often – monumental piece today called A Post-Industrial A to Z Digital Battledore. In it, he lists an almost alphabetical index of ideas that are defining the post-industrial age & the new economy.

I am reading it and rereading it. And I suggest you do the same.

While many future posts will be inspired by this resource, today is brought to you by the letter P

p is for permission

In the past, advertising was obtrusive. We noticed it – it influenced us because it disrupted our routine — a commercial in the middle of your favorite TV program. It’s a pop-up ad on the internet or a door-to-door salesman. Sometimes these ads worked but over time, we began to be able to tune them out. Eventually, regulations & technology began to screen them out. Advertisers got nervous.

But with the dawn of Web 2.0, and certainly before, came the age of permission-based marketing — ads that we welcome into our homes & our lives because they are part of the context. Blogging certainly falls into this category. Product placement ads, Facebook fan pages, email newsletters, Twitter, and brand names on t-shirts those are all permission based too.

Some marketing is done with such style, grace, humor, or usefulness that it becomes a part of us. And we invite it in.

Are you seeking permission – and, better yet, excitement – from your audience? Or are you lambasting them with product pitch after promotion after poor ad?

It’s easy to say “get on Facebook,” “get on Twitter,” “network network network” – but is your brand message one of usefulness & style or one of self-promotion?

Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch aren’t just words on a t-shirt. Those words are a brand message that says cool, stylish, hip, sexy. The brand says, “If this kid is cool enough to wear me on his chest, certainly you’re cool enough.”

Does your brand speak to the people who give you permission to talk to them?

Or does it remain a silent distraction from the goings on of daily life?