One Picasso A Day?

If one were to ask what is the most loyal thing in the world, it would be the ‘ bodyclock‘. Time after time, day after day, it never lets you down in waking us up. I guess, that too, is a creature of habit.
 
Being an old schooler, waking up and writing down the ‘ to do task list ‘ of the day is de rigueur. And on the rare occasion, the list falls shy of occupying a full A4 page, disappointment gets writ large. After all, ‘ Men are from Mars ‘. And Machiavellian abilities for Herculean tasks are expected to go hand in hand. How remiss!!
We have been hardwired to think that working is productivity. But, is productivity working? After all, the map is not the territory. Nor is noise, the signal.
 
Distraction is the only constant “. How things have changedIn an on-demand, 24/7 society, where distractions cost millions of people relationships, health , peace, productivity and profitability, it’s time to pay attention to what matters most.
We are living through a crisis of distraction. Plans get sidetracked, family and friends are ignored, work never seems to get done. And that in the wake of first love and passion being firmly put long ago on the back burner, be it music or sport, travel or discovery, reading or writing..not worth it.
To create extraordinary lives, we can (re)learn to “unplug” from the constant barrage of disruptions and “plug in” to the tools, strategies, and mindsets that will allow us to harness our attention to reach our highest potential. 
You sit down at your desk to work on an important project, but a notification on your phone interrupts your morning. At home, screens get in the way of quality time with your family. Another day goes by, and once again, your most important personal and professional goals are put on hold. Story of our distraction fueled, notification driven lives.
 
If we can prepare ourselves to be as indistractable as possible, zero in on distilling the vital few from the trivial many, and be prepared to look in the ugly mirror, we can stop running on the treadmill of mediocrity. Not just that. With high focus, extreme prioritization and unflappable emotional labour, we can all get to producing our ‘ one Picasso for the day .’ What do you uniquely do that matters the most? After all, you can only do one thing really well at a time. SIP by SIP. Engage in some Mutual Fun!
Most big, deeply satisfying accomplishments in life take at least a few years to achieve. This can include cultivating a loving relationship, writing a book, getting in the best shape of your life, raising a family, building a business, and more. A few years is a long time. It is much slower than most of us would like. If you accept the reality of slow progress, you have every reason to take action today. If you resist the reality of slow progress, five years from now you’ll simply be five years older and still looking for a shortcut.
 
Where’s your paint brush? The canvas and the easel awaits. And your version of the Guernica.
So, time to offer a serenade to life, in all its terrifying and transcendent uncertainty, sung in ink, watercolor, and wonder.

Demographics is dead. Long live demographics!!

Historically, brands and marketers have sworn its allegiance to demographics. Like the proverbial Tweddle Dee and Tweddle Dum. But there just might be a twist in the tale. As quoted by Trend Watching: “You’re not the only one who’s confused by consumer behavior. Consumers themselves aren’t behaving as they should “.

 

In a post demographic era of consumerism, is it time to throw out the traditional (and tried, tired, trusted and rusted) demographic models of consumer behavior?

 

Let’s look at some really interesting snippets that break all molds of convention:

 

In the US, women now account for 41% of the universe of video game players-STATISTA

 

Asilo Padre Cacique, a retirement home in Porto Alegre, Brazil, hosted an activity day for its elderly residents a few years ago, featuring a skateboard exhibition and graffiti artists. Yes, you read right: skateboard exhibition and graffiti artists.

 

“If you look at the list of the 1,000 favorite artists for 60-year-olds and the 1,000 favorite artists for 13-year-olds, there is a 40% overlap.”-GEORGE ERGATOUDIS (HEAD OF MUSIC, BBC RADIO 1)

 

All the above may seem disconnected but it does give us a peep into where consumerism is headed. And it is not at the happy intersection of demographic centered models which brands have comfortably honed over the past several decades. This is a new path to tread. Consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and more. In this era of post demographic consumerism, brands are realizing that people across all age groups, across multiple markets are constructing their own identities and that too more freely than ever before.

 

Yes, we still do have our usual suspects: the early adopters of products and services that brands love: Young, affluent, influential, loves experimenting and burdened with lesser commitments. This (as is empirically proven) the ideal scenario.

But as more and more brands and marketers wake up to the new reality: that any and all revolutionary – or simply just compelling – innovations will be rapidly adopted by, and/or almost instantly reshape the expectations of, any and all demographics. Without bias or prejudice. One size need not fit all or it just could!!

The always on Society is now too fluid, ideas now too easily available, the market now too efficient, the risk and cost of trying new things now too low (led by the digital world, but increasingly the case for physical products too) for this not to be the case. Let us understand why.

 

Today’s consumers – of all demographics and in all markets – increasingly buy, source and use products and services from the same mega-brands: Apple, Facebook, Amazon (the technology sector is especially universal), IKEA, McDonald’s, Uniqlo, Nike and more.

 

The ubiquity and collective familiarity with these global mega-brands, when combined with the global reach of consumer information, has also created if not a shared consciousness then certainly a new level of POST-DEMOGRAPHIC shared experience for consumers, from 16 to 60 and beyond and from Boston to Beijing, Capetown to Melbourne, Mumbai to Miami.

 

So what should executives and brand marketers look at doing to come to speed with this new reality. Well, there are a few innovation opportunities waiting to be grasped:

 

-Fall in love with the new normal (which is not normal): Embrace and celebrate new racial, social, cultural and sexual norms.

 

-Let heritage not be a baggage: Be prepared to re-examine and even overturn your brand heritage.

 

-Inorganic demographic pollination: Go beyond your comfort demographic zones. Explore foreign demographics hitherto not tapped into for ideas and inspiration.

 

-Borrow from the Long Tail effect: Explore smaller niches of interest. There is serious potential resident there.

As we move into the future, successful products, services and brands will transcend and move beyond their initial demographics almost instantaneously. Brand executives who continue to attempt to navigate using demographic maps, with borders defined by age, gender, location, income will be under-prepared for the speed, magnitude, and direction of change.

 

There is no doubt that understanding consumers’ needs and wants remains critical (Consumer Insight & Market Research companies will go out of business otherwise, isn’t it?). However, it will be those that take a broad view and learn from innovations that are delighting consumers in seemingly dissimilar or even opposing demographics that will succeed, regardless of which ‘traditional’ demographic(s) they serve.

CAVEAT EMPTOR: There is a Great Demographic Reversal: Through Ageing Societies, Waning Inequality, and an Inflation Revival, post the pandemic.

Demographics(as we knew it) is dead. Long live demographics!!

 

The Creative Apocalypse: Preparing your Client

The Creative Apocalypse: Preparing your Client!

There is great, there is good and there is average (ok).

Superlative. Comparative. Relative. Most of us want  (at least there is good enough intent!) to do good work and over a period of time how that transmits to average and below remains an unsolved mystery. Have we ever started out saying; ” Let’s do some Great Work “? No one came into the profession thinking ‘I really want to produce work that’s a bit meh, a bit vanilla, that makes no impact on the world and sinks without a trace.’ So how come we don’t see brave creative work that often? The occasional breakthrough shines like a lighthouse across a lacklustre sea of work that is often undeniably boring, weirdly familiar or just more than a little disappointing.

 

So how is the end game playing out? It’s a whole new world out there. Recession or no recession- there is a perennial pressure on budgets and jobs. The ‘always on shifting media landscape and the move from broadcasting messages to managing conversations. The balancing of brand, ROI and an increasing reliance on data and metrics. There is safety in numbers (metrics reloaded!). Data is the new oil. And that too is now old hat. And how! All of these things have stitched together a sinister conspiracy in the last 10 years or so and made it more difficult for creatively brave work to ever see the light today(with some exceptions of course).  It takes real balls for a client, or an agency, to take a leap of faith in this climate. Till then, it’s a lip of fate! And sealed at that. ‘ Faith accompli ‘ anyone?

Where does the skull drudgery end? What can be done? Selling creatively brave ideas requires an ability to promote the safety of risky situations (don’t miss the contradiction here), psychological management skills and a client that can hold their nerve (while letting go of her purse strings!). Sometimes you have to help hold it for them.

This situation provides both agency and the client an absolutely perfect platform to do creative tango. So here is the brief(in vest in it!): Depart from norm(it’s the mandatory new normal, so no big deal), break free from convention whilst remaining true to creating lasting campaign impact and brand recall. Surprise, delight, coerce, intimidate, purposefully provoke, question and come back to do more of the same. The brain remembers only what it least expects. So, deliver the unexpected. Don’t just hand hold the client, hold her heart and get to your customers’ soul in the process. That soul stirring exercise should be your sole purpose.

 

USP(Unique Selling Proposition) is passe, dead and buried. The time is about creating UFP( Unique Feeling Proposition). 

 

WANTED: Creative Bravehearts. On both sides. Ready to take the leap?

B(r)AGging Rights!

Had some waiting to do upon landing at the airport, so decided( after the usual polite skirmish with sweat, suede and swear words) to be an inno scent bystander next to the baggage carousel as it aimlessly(and somewhat harmlessly) went around in circles. So here’s the 360 Degree on it, motivated, well, by bags of time!
– The absolute nonchalance with each and every piece of baggage gets treated once it finds its (p)ride of place on the carousel has convinced me that the carousel is the only place in the world that is completely agnostic to brands. Tumi, Louis Vuitton, Delsey, Tommy Hilfiger, Samsonite, American Tourister, VIP, BOSS, Echolac, Safari…all came (and went) alike. The message was loud and clear. Rest in Piece…till such time your owner gets a handle on you!
– Nowhere will you see a better study in contrast. The bags taking its own sweet time to get to where it ought to, unabashedly relaxed, clinically unrepentant, approaching arrogance ( I am the BOSS here, you better give me the VIP treatment), do not intrude on my hammockstyle existence..On the other side, the owners: anxious, impatient, irritated, worried, chaos personified.

– The bags I tell you love drama (and some gymnastics as well). Every now and then they bring you to the edge as they salsa, spin and swirl but manage to stay on top of the carousel. That in the process they knock off a few socks from ankles and uncles is a different story. Really edge of the seat stuff! 
– The area surrounding the baggage belt is actually a medical practitioner’s delight. The ideal place to easily diagnose the following including but not restricted to: Slip disc, Parkinsons, Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Colour blindness…is it blue or green? And the real owner sees red in the bargain. If you don’t mind, could you please help me offload the bag – I travelled light this time-it’s just 87 kgs( any more and she would have had to hire a cargo plane).

– Do you think the carousel is an ideal candidate for acute nausea? Imagine going around in circles, hour after hour, day after day- where does it begin? And where does it end? Flight or fight? Methinks its happy to be a spin doctor!
– So the next time you travel, carry XS baggage. Xtra Small. Give the carousel a break…unless of course you want to see some Delsey, all at sea! Boss, it makes no sense Tumi! Wait- I will ask Tommy– maybe HILFIGER it out!

“Life truly is a journey, and the less baggage we carry the easier the ride.” ~ Wally Amos

ENDS