Last week I found out I was scheduled to attend a ton of out-of-town meetings, none of which could be missed. Ordinarily I accept meetings like I accept dental work. It, or they, have to be done and putting them off only causes greater pain later. That said, these meeting happened to coincide with my younger daughter coming home from college for a week and--such is the loveliness of our relationship--we both wanted to spend time with each other.
As an alternative, I took off today (though I will be in focus groups from 3-8) and I'm taking off tomorrow, though I will be flying tomorrow afternoon.
What people, I think, fail to understand is the nature of time spent with something or someone you care about. I had nothing I planned to do with my daughter, I just want to be with her. I wanted her in the kitchen while I cooked lunch, I wanted to watch a great old movie with her (we saw David Lean's little known gem, "Hobson's Choice," starring Charles Laughton) I wanted to walk to Central Park with her and watch the kids and the dogs and the nannies and the trees about to bloom. And talk, just talk and maybe hold her precious little hand in mine.
I think a lot of people don't realize that there's a lot of enjoyment, a lot of value in simply breathing. In our business we talk about creating experiences and "activating" brands. And no doubt such things are important.
But also important, I think, is a brand who is, simply, there for you. It's not always wrestling for your attention or jumping up and down and shouting. It's not always exhorting. It just is.
That's what I wanted to do with my daughter, a whole lot of nothing. And we did. And now, as she should be, she's off with her city friends and I'm about to go to Elmsford, NY for focus groups.
But we had our time together. Nothing outstanding or amazing or memorable or seminal happened. No great belly laughs. Just our connection and time together and conversation.
I think when brands understand that is when they become really important.