Getting Ready for the Renaissance

It’s been a banner week for media coverage on RenGen theory. The latest edition of AdWeek features my essay. I describe how marketers can apply RenGen thinking to their work and seize the opportunities so rapidly unfolding as this psychographic sets the agenda for the marketplace.

Here is an excerpt:

Products and services that will thrive in the renaissance translate into helping people create meaning when their world is transforming. The idea is less elusive than you might think. Here are three concepts that will figure into how people who crave meaning will devour the brands smart enough to serve it up to them.

1. Fusion, not fission. Fission, the dividing up and segmenting of things, was a way to create energy in the 20th century. The 21st century is moving the other way: uniting things that are sometimes paradoxical to create force. As we shed the old civilization’s trappings, we won’t invent a new reality overnight. We will harvest what is still meaningful and fuse it with the new. Brands that adopt fusion as a point of view will rule in the RenGen. Reebok’s research revealed music, the spoken word and dance were eclipsing sports as leisure preferences among youth. Rather than make its customers choose between the athletic and the artistic, it fused the two identities with the “I am what I am” campaign.

2. Smarten up. New ideas, thought and knowledge are aspirational. Your brand’s teachable moment will be its moment of truth. Allowing the consumer to play an active role in that learning experience is nirvana. That goes for employees as well. Google’s author series brings notable thought leaders to headquarters for live discussions with employees. The events are taped and loaded for the world to see. And they are all managed by employees.

3. Truth is beauty. A renaissance is a period of heightened context. Sights, sounds, smells, textures all have elevated importance. Consumers crave experiences that indulge their senses, not so much as an escape, but as a point of inspiration for those who see themselves as creative and self-expressive. Icons, logos and symbology will be more important, as will elegantly written narratives in the place of blah-blah product copy. Doing things will matter more than buying things, so sponsoring events will bring the two together.