Tuesday 27 September 2016

Hit the Pause Button…and Just Think For a Minute, or an Hour

The following post is an excerpt from Edelman Consumer Marketing’s 12on12, a compilation of essays from some of our consumer marketing leaders around the globe. This is the second in a series of essays from the compilation. To read more essays from the 12on12 series, visit the Edelman Scribd Channel.

I promise not to go all Mayan on you, but it is 2012 and time to make some predictions… none of which are about the world ending (sorry, “Melancholia”). However, some endings and new beginnings would be welcome. Here come the predictions - “Cross a New Time Zone,” “Renew Your Senses”, and “Act Up and Act Together”:

Cross a New Time Zone
  • Time Reconsidered: It’s high time for “time” to make a comeback, too. Not the 24/7 work week, but quality time to think, plan, contemplate, and ruminate. The Pause button on all our devices will be rediscovered, and will become the valued feature over fast forward. Some will even opt out altogether. A recent Roper global study found that people in the Western world were opting for money over time and in the fast-growing economies of Asia, time was being valued over money.Wherever you live in the world, time will be viewed as a precious commodity, and perhaps become the new gold standard of living well. IDEO, the world-renowned design firm, has even traded traditional vacation time for what they call time to “rejuvenate and relax,” giving more color and depth to the use of time away from work.

  • Substance Returns: It certainly must be time for depth to make an elegant entrance and the easy, short-term fix to make a graceful exit. Depth doesn’t come easily. It requires insight, a strategy, an idea, long-term planning, and even longer term delivery. A conduit to substance in 2012 is what my colleague Robin Bruce calls “Slo-comotion.” The principles of Slo-comotion include a return to thought, exiting through the iPad into real-life experience, and an anti-microwave mindshare movement; instead of brands facilitating micro actions that last for a hot second without lasting affinity, brands, companies (and maybe even governments?) return to “baking” ideas that last.

Public forum thinkers of yore like Aristotle, Mark Twain, and Martin Luther King will be re-examined and emulated, setting the tone for a new public discourse that values the quality of the idea and the richness of the content over the quantity and the pithiness of 140 characters. A Return on Substance will ensure a longer term return on investment.

Renew Your Senses
  • The Arrival of ARR (Attention Renewal Remedy) and the departure of ADD. Twitter sections in movie theaters will be deemed unconstitutional and/or hazardous to our health. “Pay attention” will no longer be an elementary school command and “listen up” a military imperative. Both will become cultural imperatives at home and at work as we see 12-step programs designed to revive attention. According to artist and author Ed Schlossberg, “paying attention to anything will be the missing commodity in future life. You think you’ll miss nothing, but you’ll probably miss everything.”

  • 1 and a half D”… it’s 3D… minus the clutter and minus the frenzy, so we can connect with real meaning (back to substance again). As we debate and struggle how to communicate best in an email-only culture (and the increasing phenomenon of unanswered emails), we are increasingly forced to sacrifice quality thinking time for quick, and sometimes shallow, shortcuts. The following passages from Maureen Dowd’s column, and the new silent movie she refers to (The Artist), are worth contemplating and reflecting on:

    • “The sounds of silence are a dim recollection now, like mystery, privacy, and paying attention to one thing – or one person – at a time.”
    • “There will be fewer and fewer of what Virginia Woolf called ‘moments of being,’ intense sensations that stand apart from the cotton wool of daily life.”
    • “In the case of The Artist,” silence is not only golden; it’s a reminder of how much you can articulate without words. If you take away the language, green screens and 3-D glasses, the feelings – pride, vanity, envy, fear, and love – can be more primary and fascinating.
    • “Hazanavicius (director of The Artist) recalled that at a French screening of the movie, a group of teenagers approached him. They thanked me for letting them hear the silence, he said. It was touching to discover that these young people, always with their iPods, could like real silence.”
Act Up and Act Together
  • Passion Rising: Time Magazine names the protester as person of the year. I think this says a lot about the return of “passion.” Brands will need to tap into this passion factor… not expecting people to be passionate about their brand, but serving as a catalyst for people’s individual passions. Passion in the last few years has been overlooked, due to struggling bottom lines and fear of change, but it is passion that creates loyalty, increased usage and longevity.

  • Asian Values Infusion, not just Asian economic strength. When we think about the potential of Asia today, we seem to focus solely on the economic progress so rampant in the last 20 years. In 2012, the Asian values of community, compassion, and inter-connectivity will be recognized by the West as ideals to be emulated. Add on the Asian respect for elders, experience, and artisanship and you have quite a triple threat. In Japan, an artisan, whether a mask maker or basket maker is considered a national treasure.

  • Collaboration will become the new competition. Look for more collaborative consumption, collaborative capital and collaborative capabilities to emerge. Collaboration will become the competitive edge that helps reboot our economy.

And one last thing to ponder as you wander…

A sense of humor finds its place again. Mayan cuisine will become all the rage in 2012 as will Mayan fashion and architecture. I predict a Mayan X Factor, a Mayan Macarena craze, an all Mayan Glee episode, a Kraft Macaroni and “Mayonnaise” product – and a new Woody Allen film shot on location from the Mayan ruins. No Mayans protest.

Image credit: JobotDaRobot

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