Monday Musings 31 July: Barbie or Ken – are you your everything?

If you go down to the movies today, no doubt you’ll see one of two flicks: Barbie or Oppenheimer. The simultaneous release of these two highly anticipated blockbuster films sparked the Barbenheimer phenomenon sweeping the world wide web and social media. (Fun fact: did you know that the word Barbenheimer – a combination of the two movie titles – is called a portmanteau?)

Barbenheimer ruled the box office again in the second week of their collective release. Barbie came out tops, raking in $93 million of ticket sales between Friday and Sunday this past weekend, the seventh-biggest second weekend in silver screen history. Oppenheimer pulled in a still impressive $46.6 million.

Today, however, we’re musing all things pink. Without spoiling the movie for anyone, the Barbie movie trailer reads as follows:

To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you’re a Ken.

In Barbie Land, awash with so much pink paint, the world almost ran out of it, Barbie is everything. She is the decision-maker, the main character, the protagonist of her own story. In this revolutionary fantasy world, matriarchy is everything, and Ken is relegated to the sidelines. Ken doesn’t have his own car, house or job and his wardrobe is sparse – he is just Ken, Barbie’s companion/playmate/friend – an accessory. The tagline on the movie poster is: “She’s everything. He’s just Ken”.

In fact, Ken sparked a dizzying array of memes and “Kenergy” has become part of pop culture vernacular. Like everything in the movie (and one’s life) it’s all open to interpretation. While Ryan Gosling himself isn’t sure how he would define Kenergy, Barbie movie director Greta Gerwig explained it in an interview like this: “I think there’s self-actualised Kenergy, which is where Ken gets to at the end of the movie. Men in their sort of strength and confidence, supporting women with an open hand. There’s a feeling of, like, just that good Kenergy.”

Forbes, meanwhile, got a psychologist’s take on Ken’s supportive role: “Ken might be the butt of all jokes, but smashing a gender stereotype without even trying is a sign of true strength.”

In the movie, whether you’re a main character or an accessory, life in Barbie Land is perfect. In the real world (spoiler alert) life is anything but.

Surprisingly, for a movie based on a plastic doll, there are so many interesting and thought-provoking take-homes from the movie. Here are just a handful:

  • It’s good to dream, and you can be anything you want to be. (Fun fact: Barbie even sleeps on a shell-shaped bed, as in: the world is your oyster).
  • Having it all and actually doing it all – with the expectation of perfection – is a myth.
  • Having questions is ok. Everyone goes through an existential crisis from time to time.
  • You don’t need anyone else to complete you.
  • Life is not perfect. But perspective makes a huge difference.

We can’t all have a perfect house (with a slide from the bedroom to the fake pool, nogal!) and not every day is “the best day ever!” – but life is what you make it. Whether that’s in a plastic pink world or the real world.

Mindful Musings

Monday Musings 31 July: Barbie or Ken – are you your everything? 1

Marketing Musings

by Babajide Olowookere

Navigating the rise of voice search: implications and strategies for SEO

Voice search technology has grown rapidly, revolutionising the way users interact with digital platforms. The implications for search engine optimisation (SEO) are profound, making it imperative for businesses to adapt their strategies to stay competitive in this rapidly changing landscape.

At the outset, understanding the mechanics of voice search is critical. Unlike traditional text-based searches, voice search relies on natural language processing (NLP) to interpret user commands. It’s more conversational and usually involves long-tail keywords. Given its convenience and increasing precision, voice search usage is escalating, with predictions that more than half of all online searches will be voice-based by 2025.

This dramatic shift presents both challenges and opportunities for SEO. One significant change is the type of queries. Voice search queries are often phrased as questions or commands, typically longer than traditional searches, and tend to focus on local content. Therefore, SEO must evolve from short keyword phrases to more conversational, long-tail keywords and locally relevant content.

Semantic search is another vital aspect of voice search. Google’s Hummingbird update placed more emphasis on the meaning of phrases, interpreting context, and user intent. As a result, content should be designed to answer specific questions or provide solutions to problems rather than merely incorporating keywords.

Position zero or featured snippets also become crucial with voice search. Google Home, for instance, reads out the featured snippet in response to a query. Websites that occupy this position can significantly boost their visibility, and providing concise, relevant answers to commonly asked questions can help achieve this.

One must also consider the role of schema markup in voice search SEO. Schema markup, a type of microdata, helps search engines understand the content better, increasing the likelihood of being featured in a voice search result. Speed is vital; voice search devices and applications favour fast-loading websites. This underscores the importance of website optimisation for speed.

Businesses must also recognise the increasing prominence of digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, which often provide only one answer to a user’s query. This creates a competitive landscape where ranking first has never been so important.

As this new frontier of search technology continues to grow and evolve, businesses must adapt and innovate to stay ahead. With the right strategy, voice search can offer opportunities to reach users in new and more personalised ways, providing value, convenience, and engagement.

Monday Musings 31 July: Barbie or Ken – are you your everything? 2

What the world was musing over this past week

Monday Musings 31 July: Barbie or Ken – are you your everything? 3

Which doll are you? Barbie or Ken?

We don’t all want to be Barbie. Ken is enough too. Take the quiz.

Monday Musings 31 July: Barbie or Ken – are you your everything? 4

Four lessons from the Barbie movie

The movie revealed 4 things we can learn about resilience and leadership – lessons for home, the office and life.

Monday Musings 31 July: Barbie or Ken – are you your everything? 5

Find your “Kenergy

Here are 6 ways to find your “Kenergy” to live healthier and happier. The health experts weigh in.

Monday Musings 31 July: Barbie or Ken – are you your everything? 6

Are you eXhausted?

Thanks Elon. Twitter is now renamed X. Tweets are now “x’s” and retweets – well that needs a rethink.