Friday, August 17, 2007

The Everywhen

One of the characteristics of Mystery that fascinates me is the power to connect past, present and future. That’s why I jumped on a terrific word used by anthropologists to encapsulate this idea – the Everywhen. The indigenous people of Australia have their own inspiring way to describe this confluence of time – the all-at-once. It always amazes me how few businesses take an interest in the past as a way to shape their future and inform the present. Most of them behave like sharks: keep moving forward because if you stop, you’ll drown. Connecting with the past, present and future of your customers does not mean doing some data mining and sending them a birthday card. It does mean understanding them in a profound way and having the foresight to do something real and meaningful about it. An outstanding example is the way Prada used the unlikely venue of the Central Market in Valencia for their America’s Cup party. They left intact much of the Market’s everyday functions and simply added a few of their products among the salami and cheeses, as well as party pleasing DJs and dining tables. In this way they captured the elegance and sensuality of the market and wrapped it up as a wonderful surprise for their guests. Intuitive combinations can be very powerful. Prada turbans and Parma ham may not be what logic dictates, but this is the way we live. Families keep their family photo albums alongside today’s newspaper and brochures for next year’s holiday. We live our lives in the everywhen, and businesses, if they are to attract us, need to understand it.