Monthly Archives: May 2010

So what difference does it make?

I’m thinking of titling all my posts after Smiths songs. At least, this one is apt. Given that we have a new centre-right government (whatever that means) we should be thinking about how this is going to affect our target audiences. Are we going back to the eighties?

Perhaps that’s a bit of a facetious question but we need to think about whether we can learn from the past or if we’re in an entirely new situation.

The election saw some high turnout figures. Does this mean we’re entering a new era of political, or indeed any other kind of engagement?

Are we heading back to an age of two opposing forces? Is satire or perhaps pop music going to improve because the kids are going to have something to get angry about at long last? Again, I’m being slightly facetious…

In another life I was a historian of the 1980s and I was fascinated by the simple yes-no situation it created, unrelated to a much more complex postmodern assessment of the situation that was irrelevant because no one understood it. That’s the important thing. Most people like straightforward arguments. They like to take sides. Indifference is a bit boring. Here’s an opportunity for everyone to take sides for a change – and we’ve already seen this happening. LibDems are already joining the Labour Party in disgust!

But what of consimption? It could be dire. The predictions are – and we’ve alredy seen the beginings of – public service cuts and the proposed increase in VAT to 20% next year. Goodness knows what’ll happen to mortgages and borrowing. It’s too early to tell. There’s lots of opportunities for people to get angry though: change is in the air.

The thing we all want to predict is how will the change in government affect consumption. What will people want to buy, and where, and also where will they want to consume it? How can we be attuned to this in order to maintain engagement/The Bottom Line?

As a planner on alcohol brands for a long time I’ve always been sensitive to this (i.e. changes in the way the economy fares/is run) because it means that either people want to drink more at home or they see the pub as a realistically affordable night out, or they want to push the boat out because they just don’t care anymore.

You have to accommodate to these changes of attitude, be attuned to them, even if your strategy is not overtly worked around them.

So what difference does it make? A lot? Hey, these are just (quite random) thoughts typed into an iPhone on the way home after a long day, but it’s something I’m keeping an eye on.

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Useful and Beautiful

Yesterday I was trying to explain – I say trying, I always try, things often make more sense in my head than they do when I say them out loud…

I’ll start again. Yesterday I was explaining the content strategy for a website we’re building. We want the site to be different from anything the brand has ever had online before. We want it to be completely great and right in terms of its look and feel, but we are focused on ensuring that every bit of content has a business/comms rationale behind it.

I was trying to explain why we couldn’t just stick pictures or films or articles up on the site. Why it had to have a purpose, and fit the strategy. Why the online strategy should provide direction for the creation of content…

This morning I was in the shower and I recalled the William Morris quote “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”…

Every piece of content in any site should be beautiful and useful. We are not artists or librarians. Everything meets an audience, business or communications objective – but it does it effortlessly, because it is well-designed, engaging, creative.

I can’t wait for the site to go live!

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