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Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Real Revolution


Merriam-Webster defines revolution as ” a sudden, radical, or complete change” … “a fundamental change in political organization” … ” activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation” and a fundamental change in the way of thinking about visualizing something: a change of paradigm”.  All of these definitions can apply to Tobacconist University (TU).  
When TU certifies a tobacconist they accept a professional code of ethics and standards and learn the fundamental as well as technical knowledge they will need to be extraordinary professionals.  This foundation of professionalism is important to our customers and our industry.  But, more importantly, as we grow our ranks (140+ today) and forecasted to triple by year end), we will be able to turn our credibility outward and start to carve out a sustainable existence in our society.  Tobacconists and our industry need to move beyond the taxation and legislative nightmare that is currently usurping our freedoms and beating our industry to death.  There is no sustainable future for retail tobacconists or the luxury tobacco industry in the current political, social, and cultural climate.  We desperately need a revolution!  A paradigm shift. 
In the short and medium term, the CRA (join now) battles on the legislative and political fronts.  But, we will need to do much more to create a sustainable industry that will be able to thrive for years and generations to come.  The real ‘war’ is global, political, economic, and social in nature and there are no small or easy solutions – it is a culture war. 
The most fundamental and first thing we need to do is prove to the world that we are indeed valid and credible professionals* … and that process starts with certification.  If you want to join a real revolution, not just pretend**…. Get Certified!   We are proactively fighting for our survival and we must do everything possible to change public (mis) perceptions and earn respect.
*Most people don’t even recognize or know that Tobacconist is a profession… much less one worthy of preservation. 
**Marketers throw the word “revolution” into their marketing mix to evoke satisfying emotions/thoughts and motivate you to bond with their products.  Just because you smoke an oddly shaped cigar or chat on a particular forum does not make you a revolutionary.  In fact, the word “revolution” has been diluted and emptied of its true meaning for far too long.  If you really want to be a revolutionary, it will take work, focus, and commitment.  Otherwise, it’s just an empty word propped up with useless actions…. Don’t be a fake revolutionary. 
Leave a comment and tell us how TU can make the biggest contribution towards changing public perceptions of tobacco and tobacconists.  

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