Empty Jar Marketing

“Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.”

-Frank Gaines

What do you see when you look at an empty jar?  Some people think of what used to be in there and wonder how to re-fill it, others simply see nothing and lament at the emptiness, and others see an opportunity to fill the jar however they want.  Which type are you?

There is a great post about the possibilities of an empty jar at from Julie Road in her Writing Roads blog and it can be found here.  If you are unfamiliar with Julie’s blog, I suggest you do yourself a favor today and read through her writing.  Her post is about a “Fear Jar” and would it would be like to live life with an empty fear jar; a wonderful thought, yet not what I’m referring to here.

Another wonderful “jar story” is the analogy of filling a jar with your big rocks first and then moving on to the smallest to teach about priorities.  Another good story (even though I’m not sure of the usefulness of filling a jar with rocks), but again, not what I’m talking about here.

Introducing, the Empty Jar…

I want to start a movement: let’s call it my Empty Jar Movement.  The basic idea behind the movement is that we need to approach every day and every situation as we would approach an empty jar.  There are no rules, no presidents, no right and no wrong; there is only opportunity to fill our empty jar.

Please feel free to apply this idea to any area of life you choose, I am going to be applying it to my life and interests in marketing.  More specifically, the practices and advances of integrating Brand Communication Management in an online arena.  That includes interpreting reputation management as well as brand personification online for those who need assistance.

What does the Empty Jar Movement mean for your life?  Obviously, I can’t answer that for you, but what would you do differently if you could do anything you wanted today?  What is the rest of the day was empty and you were told you could work on anything you choose, what would you do?  Would you start that novel that’s been bouncing around your head for the last five years or would you finally take a pottery class?  Would you work diligently at one area of your current job to increase your productivity?

What if I can’t open the jar?

Now obviously I know that it’s not that simple.  You have a job or priorities that must get taken care of, just like I do.  But what if you changed your mindset from autopilot to manual control and started actively looking for those empty jar moments throughout your day?  Here are some suggestions that have helped me get into the Empty Jar mentality:

  • Wake up 10 minutes earlier every day and spend it writing about something you love.  Even if you feel you have nothing to write, just put words down on paper for 10 minutes every morning.
  • Actively look for moments in your day that you could fill with something personally productive.
  • Schedule 30 minutes a night, 4 nights a week, and use mind mapping software like FreeMind, XMind, NovaMind, or many others and just see where you mind takes you.
  • Go into a book store, walk to a section you’ve never been in, and pick the first book that grabs your attention.  Sometimes you just need something to jerk you out of that rut.

Whatever your method, take baby steps each day that lead you in the direction of living the Empty Jar.

YOU are the Empty Jar

That’s right, you heard (read) me.  You are the empty jar.

Now, I’m not talking about some insulting “Monica is the empty vase because she’s dumb” trickery here, I’m simply saying that your life isn’t set.  Your destiny is what you decide it will be.

If you empty yourself and start with the empty jar, you can choose to fill it however you want, and that’s what I want to do.  I want to help people see that there are no limitations to what can be done to strengthen a marketing campaign or a brand.  I want to pull those individuals back to show them that the jar is actually empty and we are free to move forward how we choose.

I very much respect Scott Stratton and his Un-Marketing approach, if you aren’t familiar with his work, look it up.  That’s what we all need to strive to do, find ways to UN-do what we know.  It’s time to UNlearn some things and start with an empty jar.

Who was the first person to look at a jar and think, “I’ll bet I can build a ship in there,” or who first put a message in an empty bottle (it’s close enough, shut up) for someone else to find.

What is your strongest empty jar moment?  What might be holding you back from emptying the jar and exploring the possibilities?  Forward this around and let’s start a movement together because if I truly hope to help, I need to know where it is most needed.

As the quote that started this post implies; if you can’t imagine it in the jar in the first place, how will it ever become a reality?


About Joey Strawn

Digital marketing sociologist and public relations specialist with experience on national and local campaigns with a love for film and the things it says about our culture and business. Joey is the Senior Social Media Strategist at ISM in Nashville, TN and is in the business of helping people and companies deal with the new universe of social media in their marketing and PR endeavors.
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2 Responses to Empty Jar Marketing

  1. Audrey Hunt says:

    Joey –

    You are awesome! This is an incredibley uplifting read. I love the “empty jar” analogy. Brilliant!
    Sharing on my facebook and twitter.
    Your new Nashville friend,

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