Friday 20 January 2017

The Age of Paradox?

Polarities, opposites, tensions, contrasts, paradoxes - whatever you call them, it's my belief that these are the key to a strong brand. I have blogged about how being able to synthesise apparent contractions in human needs and desires (the need for individuality and to belong to something bigger, the need to be effective without causing harm, the need for the familiar and the new and surprising) is vital to being a successful brand - here, here, here, here and here (!)

Nice to know I'm not the only one harping on about this. The 5th Trend Report of IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is entitled The Uncompromising Customer: Addressing the Paradoxes of the Age of I.

The main theme of the report is, especially in this day and age, people don't want either/or - they want the best of both worlds: 'the best trade-off is no trade-off.'

I'm not sure whether this is particular to the age we live in: I can remember endless arguments about Health vs. Taste/Indulgence and Effectiveness vs. Care from my advertising days in the last century. But the authors of the report describe 'The Age of I' as reflecting one huge human paradox - the desire for inclusion in a meaningful group while protecting and expressing one's individuality.

Within this mega-paradox, the authors have defined 4 sort-of-mega paradoxes:

1. The Paradox of Separate but Connected: The new definition of connection
2. The Paradox of Abundant Rarity: The changing definition of luxury
3. The Paradox of Seeking a Better Me and a Better We: Responsible Individualism
4. The Paradox of Do It Myself and Do It For Me in My Way: Rethinking Consumer Control.

These are not a bad place to start in terms of positioning your brand. Think about which tensions or paradoxes exist within human needs, wants and desires associated with your product, service, market or territory. And what is the unique energy within your brand that you can use to resolve that paradox?

That's all folks!

Oh, sorry. Wrong cartoon.

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