‘No one saw an ape turning into a man, so Darwin’s theory is flawed’ said someone providing much fodder for digital chatter and humour recently. There is a meaningful lesson in this conversation, however. Something that we often forget while looking at ‘new, emerging’ segments.
Whether we talk of Gen X, Y, Z or millennials or use any other label, we often err on the side of overemphasizing stark shifts. In looking for ‘what is new’ we get confused when a lot of it does not seem totally unprecedented. Forgetting, perhaps that even as culture shifts rapidly, the process is evolutionary. So the new is always intermingled with the old as it takes shape. In fact, opportunities for brands lie in this tussle between the old and the new, pulling in opposite directions. It would not happen if both did not co-exist.
So watch out for the risk of trying to paint a simplistic, ‘all new’ model of an emerging segment in your brand strategy.
If you look closely enough, you will see, the new man has some monkey fur still attached somewhere.