Having spent the last ten days in the sunny Caribbean, (please don’t stop reading, I’m back in decidedly freezing London now so no room for jealousy) I have had ample opportunity to observe and partake in a different way of living. Life in the slow lane, as it were.
Coming back to London it struck me just how different the pace of life can be in a country where the sunshine and heat slow just about everything down and yet the locals couldn’t care less.
69% of Brits agree that the stresses of modern life mean that people are less happy than they used to be. 50% would like to better manage their stress levels and this is higher amongst those who live in an urban area (source: Future Foundation, 2015).
With average commutes of 54 minutes (source: ONS) vs 45 minutes in 2003, average living costs spiralling and technology making us available 24/7, it doesn’t come as a great surprise that our nervous systems are pretty much at the edge of their abilities.
Cue the overwhelming desire to live S…L…O…W…L…Y.
This is perpetuated by stories of young, upwardly mobile urbanites moving out of town; the emerging trend of digital detox holidays, the appetite for mindfulness amongst Gen Y – 56% have done or are interested in doing it in the future (source: Future Foundation, 2015) and increased scrutiny on mental health issues – particularly amongst the younger generations.
Working in media, we can’t forget the sheer volume of information consumers have now to process minute by minute and how much of that comes from advertising messages. We are always on – and it’s affecting our ability to make sound purchase decisions.
Therefore, we as marketers need to select our communications (and channels) carefully to ensure what we are doing is appropriate, meaningful and useful to consumers as they speed through their day to day lives. The move in October by RNLI to an opt-in communications policy is a clear sign that responsible organisations are now taking notice of this and giving their consumers – in this case supporters – the power back.
We also cannot ignore the power of services and experiences to enrich and help consumers live full, happy and stress-free lives. On the 9 hour flight back to the UK, I noticed Virgin Atlantic had partnered with Headspace to provide meditation techniques on their entertainment system, a move apparently also mirrored by British Airways in 2015.
Redressing the balance will take time. Until this becomes the norm, I suggest we all wait under the Caribbean sun with a rum punch in hand. I’ll happily lead the charge – but at my own pace, of course.