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MISCELLANEOUS RAMBLINGS

October 25, 2010

For a month now, I’ve been struggling with a short attention span and have jumped from one thing to another – seemingly accomplishing nothing. Maybe that is because I have no major pressing project to keep me focused – or maybe I just don’t recognize that perhaps I have returned to “normal”. Or maybe it was simply the distracting wonderful Minnesota October that signaled – don’t waste this time – it will soon change.

This morning, with the courtyard filled with withered brown leaves but a noticeable absence of summer birds not yet replaced by the wintering friends that choose this space to survive the harsh cold; and the gray skies and forecast of rain for a week merged with piles of beginning thoughts all over my desk. I am determined to “clean house” and get my thoughts organized. And that first step is to address that disorganized pile of paper to my left which I optimistically call “future blog topics”.

So, motivated by my “cleanup mode”, here are some thought-starters that have not yet been developed into anything meaningful – although I sense there are important thoughts here!

Trend Followers vs. Trend Setters: Maybe I am too harsh in my on-going criticism of our industry’s take on trends. I am beginning to think the question “What are the Trends” mean for many in our world, “What are your clients asking for?” Perhaps for many event professionals the philosophy of “give them what they ask for” is the guiding principle – and so, they think of trends as being driven only by their customers- who generally are 2-3 years behind emerging trends. They want to copy something successful or a“wow” they have seen in a magazine, or heard about, and thus they request it be done for them as well. And it is. Sometimes, very expensively. And is that so bad – to be the source that fulfills a wish or a dream?

Perhaps I am simply a member of a smaller group that due to my nature always questions why? That my curiosity drives me to ask about cultural and learning trends that can be expressed in Event Design – and thus, I care less about what the latest color is than I do about how can I use color to facilitate the message, help people learn, and most of all, engage. And is that so bad – to be at the forefront of a changing world? Someone has to be – or we would still all be doing theme parties rather than marketing events.

I expect there is room for both approaches in the wide audience of those needing assistance with their event.

Bling is Back: I read this morning that luxury shopping after an 8% decrease in 2009, has soared. Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Hermes, and others have experienced double-digit increases in the first 9 months of 2010. And who is leading the pack as the consumer? A few days ago, I wrote about Lederman’s “Brand New Day” and the economical upswings of the BRIC…and yes, you guessed it, CHINA had a 20% increase in luxury purchases last year, and is expected to grow by 30% this year. By 2015, China is predicted to become the third-largest market for luxury goods.

And immediately following that article, I saw another sign. A book review of “Three Stations” by Martin Cruz Smith included this description: “Here is Moscow, bingeing on capitalism, greed and lust…and the image is unsettling. The rich and famous rub elbows with the down-and-out and the infamous in this superb performance. “

It is unsettling, isn’t it? To think that the BRIC countries are replacing the USA in so many areas we measure for success and importance. I need to spend more time processing this…how do we turn that emerging trend into something positive rather than threatening?

A New Economy: Two years ago, as we realized our folly and saw our worlds as we knew them crash, we recognized that we had falsely created something that was not sustainable. We understood that women entering the workforce in the 70s and 80s generally fed an economic growth within families and for our country that allowed an increased in our standard of living. And then by the 90s, still looking for sustained growth, we had another cultural shift, and second jobs and long hours pushed that economy forward. By the 2000s, we no longer had those untapped resources, and turned to borrowing on home equity to continue the perception that we were still growing. And for many, the local, national, and international ponzi schemes were the only way to achieve status and reputation.

Two years ago, the politicians and pundits alike talked about a false economic standard that was not sustainable and that we were experiencing a needed adjustment. What happened to that truth and how did it get buried in the rebellious dissatisfaction that in the 2010s, we are not perched on the precipice for another “feel good” ride?

And finally, the last thought for the day.

Tax increases vs Tax Cuts: Can someone just explain to me why with state and federal taxes cut in the early 2000s, the only way to realize economic growth was to encourage false hope through the borrowing against home equity – the very thing that caused our current issues? Even the tax cuts included in that maligned “stimulus” package, did not work as planned. Business cut staff because they could, and saved money PLUS received the stimulus tax cuts. Were we to cut taxes again, why would it this time encourage business to spend their money and create jobs – if that did not happen for the Republicans nor the Democrats the last two times it was tried? And what about the related fact – we all expect the Federal Government (whomever is in charge) to solve all the problems we can’t, but do not want to pay taxes to facilitate that help? Where do we think the money comes from? What am I missing here?

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