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2010 themes, a brainstormer’s guide…

In yesterday’s post I referred to my guide to themes for 2010 from the December issue of the Lansons Newsletter: here is that guide in full… X Factor watchers will know Simon Cowell’s view that popstars have to be ‘relevant’ as well as talented to succeed. The same is true of marketing communications campaigns, the ones that work catch the spirit of the age and fly, those that don’t, don’t. So, what will be ‘relevant’ in 2010? The recession isn’t over, and January is likely to see others following Dubai and Borders into difficulty with all the attendant collateral damage. The big recession themes of austerity and thrift society remain and just as this year, communication will have to be considered and offer practical guidance. However, escapism is the antidote for many. Just as the Wizard of Oz helped America escape from Depression in the thirties and we turned seventies punk into eighties yuppiedom and shoulder pads – this recession will increasingly need its fantasy, colour and fun, particularly as it nears its end. After every disaster the human desire is to apportion blame and find scapegoats and this will continue in 2010. An equal desire is to introduce rules to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t made twice and right across British industry, particularly in finance, there are Government-inspired consultations and reviews that will result in a blizzard of new rules and regulations. Some of these changes will benefit society and some won’t. To avoid damage from unintended consequences, all companies and sectors need to lobby harder than ever before when threatened. In fact, we’d argue that some should go further and present their own manifesto for the future, particularly in this election year. The election itself is likely to be close enough to dominate the airwaves before resulting in a shiny new leader and subsequent honeymoon period for the Tories. Their theme of responsibility – for individual and corporate citizens – fits a future where Britain has to repay its debts. As does the developed world’s biggest long term theme of sustainability. The fulcrum of the year will be the election and the World Cup (and the attendant focus on Africa) and make ‘Britishness’ one of the year’s key themes. However whether it’s best of British or broken Britain that holds sway remains to be seen. We certainly need to believe in something in these uncertain times, and faith will stay on the agenda and companies that can demonstrate a purpose will prosper. We’re unlikely to fall straight back in love with the City so 2010 will be a good PR year for manufacturing, apprenticeships and the missing technocrats (and even farming?). Britain has remained inwardly focused in the recession and this has determined its view of the war in Afghanistan and its relative lack of interest in the rise of China, it’s hard to see this changing yet. Nostalgia or future? Probably a bit of both, although technology always makes news and the media’s obsession with twitter will switch to something else, probably Google wave. Anniversaries will continue to enthrall us from Dunkirk to the start of the 60s to John Lennon’s murder and many more. Hopefully we’ve kicked off that brainstorm, please add your own themes (and tell us about them) but we’ll leave you with the social observer’s conundrum, what to call the new decade? First judge whether the noughties will take its place alongside the great decades of the modern era, and then christen the years 2010-2019…