Reading time: 2:30 min | Many people tend to divide strictly between professional work and private life and do so too when it comes to public relation and communications in general. There’s B2B and B2C, with B meaning business and C meaning consumers. According to the playbook, in communications, B2B needs completely different strategies than B2C.
It doesn’t. At least not anymore.
In the years before the pandemic, the term work-life balance was the catchphrase of the day, the life-philosophy of a whole generation, the Generation Y or Millennials. The idea of work vs life made the divide of business vs consumers even more plausible. There’s work and there’s life, there’s the business and there’s the consumer. From a Millennial’s perspective, it’s clear which of the two has more value: life. Or consumption (if you tell that Millennials, many would heartily disagree).
From Generation X’s perspective, that’s my generation, the idea of work-life balance is a non-issue. Although we do distinguish between leisure time and work time, we consider both being a natural part of life. Thus, business life and consumption/spare time have their place (depending on your preferences or circumstances), are different in rules and impacts but interact in many ways.
Forced to work from home by the pandemic, and with the spreading of social media into the business world, the line between business-time and life-time is blurring inevitably more and more, and thus the concept of life-work balance isn’t working anymore for many. As Millennials grow older and start raising children, the idea of life opposed to work is even more questionable. The principle of life-work balance is in tatters, it seems. So, what’s next?
For sure, we won’t go back to the baby boomer’s holy grail of business life and family life (both very much separated), and after retirement, the well-deserved leisure time until death. We must write a new life script on a personal level and a new societal model on a business, community and society level.
I suggest calling this new script balanced life. It will embrace everything we want to achieve: success in work, success in family life, success in sports and hobby activities, success in whatever we are engaged in. And we want our employers to acknowledge that. And our employers will benefit from that too. They will understand that our personality, desires, and special skills can be of great worth to the company, beyond the skills were are employed for in the first place. In an ideal world, we (the workers) and them (the employers) are on one page appreciating the life we are living together.
That way, B2B and B2C as categories for communication concepts are a thing of the past. We should bring C2B, B2B, C2C and B2C into one formula. Let’s call it what it is: balanced life.
In public relations, we shouldn’t bother much of our audience’s profession, heritage, gender, and age. We should worry about their lives, their well-being, their desires, their fears and their success. To use another catchphrase from pre-pandemic times: we should approach communication holistically. We should understand that life isn’t a schizophrenic experience of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, divided into work and life. Life is everything around us. We are a whole human who wants to be taken seriously as a consumer and as a professional, as a family woman and family man, and as a creative human being of many skills.
B2B and B2C can never picture that. We should let them go.