Good Marketing helps others become who they seek to become by giving them a place to belong in.
Marketing, since its inception, has been making great use of status, which is humans’ constant effort to move up and down the ladder. And there are essentially two fundamentally different ways to do this. The first is by tapping on people’s need to dominate: to be smarter, prettier, more powerful. The second is by giving people a place to belong. Which one will you choose?
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Status in “Las Meninas” by Velasquez
This is Diego Velasquez’ painting “Las Meninas”.
What you have in front of you is considered as one of the supreme achievements of western art, a calculated demonstration of what art can achieve. And this achievement has nothing to do with Velasquez’ painting skill, but with the fact that it demonstrates the depths of the human soul. I will let you observe for just a moment.
We find ourselves in the royal palace, in 17th-century Spain. The girl is the 5 year old Spanish princess, the “Infanta”. She is surrounded by her maids, Las Meninas.
Now, what you do not know is that this is a time where painters have a very low social status, because painting is regarded as a craft, not as art.
As we explore the painting for subtext, we realise that Velasquez is creating an overly laborious composition. On the left side is the painter himself facing us. We do not know for sure what he is painting, but we can guess. Because in a distant mirror in the back of the room we can vaguely see the reflection of the royal couple.
And this scene is filled with hubris, because Velasquez, a low-status craftsman, managed to place a portrait of himself surrounded by the entire royal family. This is not a painting of the Infanta nor Las Meninas! This, is Velázquez claiming status for both the artist and the art.
And Velasquez, my friends, is the perfect starting point because we cannot talk about marketing unless we talk about status, because the constant pursuit for it is one of the greatest motivators of every human behaviour.