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Rethinking it all

May 5, 2009

There’s a mindset out there that believes everything we are going through is just a temporary blip; a freak shower that will go away and replaced by sunshine. The idea that normality will soon return is a pervasive storyline that you hear repeated over again in our media.

There’s simply no alternative expectation of a future other than a return to normality.

What happens if instead of waiting for normality to return, we are lurching forward towards a new normal that looks nothing like the old one?

Can we turn the volume down and still function or is our business infrastructure designed only to work at maximum capacity?

When there’s less demand and new expectations there’s the need for new thinking. As people experience the world that surrounds them their goals, needs, expectations are changing and transforming in significant ways. We don’t quite know yet exactly what that might be, but we can assume that the likely new scenario will lie somewhere between the crazy “must have it all” credit-fueled consumption that characterized the early part of the C21st and the frugal thriftyness that sums up the current zeitgeist.

The challenge here is that it’s not simple binary, it’s not about more or less, but instead it’s about different. There’s the challenge for corporations or the opportunity, if you are so disposed.

The future is not about producing less or more of what you currently make or do, but re-thinking it all.

Now is the time to discover and imagine what those new things could be and there’s probably never been a better time to do this. Across whole categories people are applying a very critical eye and filter to determine what’s wrong and excessive and what feels precisely right.

Familiar concepts like price, value and quality are all in the process of being re-defined and re-thought.

Simply assuming the same old rules apply is naive and misguided. Every single brand should be out there learning and trying to work out what can make them relevant for this new future. For anyone involved in thinking strategically and/or creatively about these challenges, these should be very exciting times.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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