General Motors - fresh from yesterday's Chapter 11 bankruptcy announcement - unveiled a new 60 second television spot titled Reinvention. The spot is full of Americana images - baseball, big cities, folks hugging, sports fans, a tattered American flag, some familiar product shots, and the now, also cliched, nod to going green: plants growing, solar panels, windmills. You get the picture. And in case you don't, you'll see the spot, along with newspaper ads, radio spots and the like soon in your market.
Nothing about a 60-second television campaign says reinvention, except for saying the word "reinvention." You know and I know nobody watches television commercials anymore, and for a company in bankruptcy to spend our money (yes, we own GM now) on image advertising seems, well, business as usual. We all have a stake in seeing GM succeed now. How about a little reinvention here? (For more on the traditional campaign tactics being employed read this AdAge article.)
Which got me to thinking about entrepreneurs and how we must constantly reinvent ourselves and our products and services. Especially now, in these tough times. We know a federal bailout isn't coming our way. Instead, we need to rely on good 'ol American ingenuity. Creativity. Teaching ourselves new things - like twittering, and blogging. Pushing ourselves out of our own comfort zones to network, to pitch our business, to learn new skills everyday.
We know reinvention isn't a word you try on - it's a way of life. It's not taught - it's felt, it's born through struggle, and worry and yes, from fear of failure. Can a huge company like GM ever really get it - get the true meaning of reinvention - if there is never a true fear of failure? I'm not sure.
But I am sure about this: women entrepreneurs are helping to reinvent the way business is being grown across the U.S. and beyond. They are helping change companies from within (although not enough are there yet) and they are launching companies that are defining success in a whole new way. I hope the "New GM" has some women inside helping it reinvent itself. The chair of the board of directors is a man, the CEO is a man, and well, you get the picture.
And speaking of the picture, the images I see on the new TV spots are all of men (I think I saw a female hand, but I'm not sure), and the voice over artist is male. But GM's customers are female. Women make or influence 85 percent of all car buying decisions. A reinvention without taking women into account - internally or as customers - is really no invention at all.