At the end of 2007 and in the early part of 2008 I watched as a series of predictions hit the web. Some of these posts and articles predicted the end of this or that, or the beginning of something else. Some looked at trends, others at opportunities. Sometimes the focus was observational. And while I don’t normally go in for trend analysis, I felt a strange sort of pressure to come up with my own list of predictions. I began stewing on it … and it became worse with every new, additional post that I saw on trends. But then I realised that the only expectations were my own. I felt released. And now a good two months into the year, the focus on the future has been forgotten — we are, everyday, seeking to define and create it with our words, actions and ideas. We are thinking on the fly, strategically doing and jumping in feet first. If anything, 2008 is more of the same … more blogging, more social media, more connections and ideas, more conferences and meetups. I don’t know if it IS faster that 2007, but it feels it.
As it turns out, I did give into the task of compiling a trends and opportunities document. And to my surprise, I enjoyed doing it — even if I found it difficult. The task of sorting through ideas and organising my thinking took much longer than I anticipated — as did lifting my eyes beyond the next 24 hours. Blogging had made me responsive to events, but I also felt like it had shortened my vision. Rather than thinking big, big picture, I had become opportunistic. It took quite an effort to step outside of this ideation myopia to begin seeking the connections between events, conspiracies, movements and ideas that would form the backbone of my document. I was helped in this by reading some very well structured books — Joseph Jaffe’s Join the Conversation and a review copy of Michael Port’s upcoming Beyond Booked Solid (reviews coming I promise), and came to the realisation that when it came to insight I needed a little more focus, not less — I needed to zero in, not fly at 10,000 feet.
Out of the haze I settled upon two meta-trends — the trends of trends:
- Micro-transformations — Micro-transformations refer to the miniaturising of consumer behaviours into ever smaller discrete steps. This fragmentation of direct experience is driving a range of sub-trends that are, in turn, being facilitated by economic, technical and social changes.
- Infatuations — In a globalised world, our infatuations are taking on new dimensions. No longer is infatuation one-way, but it is bi-directional … what we love now returns that love in an equally idealised form.
By forcing myself to work through these elements, I began to also consider the nature and future of advertising and marketing. I started to wonder not just about the trend, but the IMPACT of these things on business, on leadership, and of course, on brands. Where would it all go, and how will it change the workforce, our society and the way that we interact with each other? How does this jigsaw fit together?
Now, after a couple of months, these ideas are starting to take shape in my own mind. But rather than writing small posts on this, I felt like I needed a more expansive format — so I am embarking on a blog topic series — entitled The Future of Your Brand Is …
Over the next few weeks I will be interrogating the future of brands — and at the end I may even pull the pieces together in an eBook. Let me know if you think this would be useful.
For my first excursion I will be walking in the footsteps of Sigmund Freud and going back to childhood — for it seems to me, The Future of Your Brand Is … PLAY. Join me later this week for the first instalment — or make it easy and subscribe to my feed.