Thursday, December 13, 2007

Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It

Over at Waking Vixen, Audacia posted Seeing straight ahead: the porn industry’s sexuality blinders, a discussion of the reluctance in the porn industry to make real bisexual flicks. Reading it, and all the comments, especially those of Tony Comstock, I am again reminded of the fine lines between types of missions.

While activism certainly employs marketing (or at least good, effective activism does), and business certainly has a mission, mixing activism and business can be tricky.

Sure the business papers like to play up Anita Roddick and Ben & Jerry's as models of business models with activism mentalities, but the truth is both companies are more models for ethics than activism. Both made tough value-centered choices, and both spoke out for other companies to do the same, but neither went up in arms or published tirades against the people and organizations which they needed to use to peddle their wares.

Activism isn't (typically) about being quiet; it's about making some noise. And while that can be good for your business, when you attack (or are seen as attacking) de rigeur, 'the man' with the hand that feeds you, you can burn some bridges which then cut-off your main avenue to move product.

AVN's publications are considered (by many) to be porn industry bibles; the organization itself rather like a god. They are The Powers That Be. And The Powers That Be are, despite the 'great equalizer, the Internet, control your service or product by refusing to cover (or panning) your product or service (or refusing to finance/invest in it).

Sometimes, these powers mull over your ideas & claim them as their own, using their power and clout to broadcast, sell and profit from them. In the case of true activism, this is change and it is good; in the case of business, this cuts you out of the profits & may be the end of your business.

I know because I've been in situations like these.

This doesn't mean your business can't or shouldn't be trying to activate change; quite often there is good money there. But you'll either need very deep pockets to ride out the cold shoulder of the establishment, of you'll need to speak softly and hope your fans are the ones to carry the big stick (and yell loudly).

Your marketing, done right, can do that. And if you don't believe me, look at non-profits.

However, today's environment is more hostile towards sex activists. We in adult businesses know that even though our market share or customer base isn't shrinking (shifting about, certainly; but not shrinking), our avenues of distribution and sales are. It's simply a reflection of the non-profits and organizations which (marketing fear) have placed their mission squarely on the shoulders of their fans (followers) who have happily grabbed clubs and are willing to speak loudly.

Here again are lessons for us.

You remember how Momma used to say, "You have to pick you battles"? Well, sometimes you have to pick a side or a method of battle: Business or Activism. And if you choose business, then be prepared to either play ball with The Powers That Be, accept the consequences when you don't, or be careful in the construction & actions of your mission.

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Blogger Amanda Brooks said...

This is an issue I've been struggling with for a while, particularly since my arena of the adult industry is still seen as taboo (AVN isn't going to want to touch me until I'm on Oprah).

We all have to find what works for our wallets and our conscience, but it's not easy.


December 13, 2007 11:07 AM  
Blogger Marketing Whore said...

It's a tough road for this ho, I'll tell you that. There are many days my values ~ my mouth ~ gets in the way of business.

December 14, 2007 3:19 AM  

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