Saturday 9 May 2009
Dylan Jones: 'The problem is that most buzzwords go out of fashion before people get to hear of them'
The fundamental problem with buzzwords is their lifespan – many of them go out of fashion before most people get to hear of them, and usually before they get the chance to enter the vocabulary. In essence, many are called, but few are chosen. Which makes the Future Lab's job even harder.
One of Europe's leading trend, brand and "futures" consultancies, the Future Laboratory tends to be hired by those who want to find out what's going on behind the green door. There are many companies like this, although most of them appear to get by simply by trying to teach their grandmother to suck eggs, or getting new dogs to learn old tricks. I've been to dozens of these consultancy briefings, both here and in America, and I have to say that most of them are pretty useless. If you know nothing about the industry, these sorts of events might have some value as networking opportunities, but then if you don't know anything about your industry then how on earth did you get anywhere near the green door in the first place?
The Future Laboratory is different, and has even won over an old cynic like myself. I went along to a briefing it organised on luxury trends on the internet last year, and was amazed not just at their findings, but also the levels of research that went into them. And this year they have come up with another bunch of demographic buzzwords, everything from "No-Frills Affluents" (luxury consumers quickly reassessing their lifestyle priorities), "Bleisure" (the increasingly blurred relationship between business and leisure), "Embedded Marketing" (a world where everything will eventually be for sale), "Giga-luxe" (the new movements of the ultra-high-net-worth individuals) and many more. My favourite is the "Fifth Scenario", a catch-all term for the way in which the economy, the environment, science and technology and the global balance of power are not only undergoing massive shifts, but also having an impact on the effectiveness of luxury brands. As with everything else at the moment, we have to adapt or we die.
And the graveyard is getting more and more crowded by the hour. Even for buzzwords.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'
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