Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The bane of boredom through repetition


It happened yesterday. My colleague - let me call him C1 - had a few questions for us regarding a brand we handle (and which now landed in his lap). While addressing his queries, another colleague (C2) and I happened to mentioned the word 'positioning' in our answers. And this person C1 gave such an exasperated expression as if it has now become blasphemous to use this term.

The episode brings out a critical element. Boredom. Boredom treats everything with disdain. So if you've watched a lot of TV and the same ad a lot many times, you might get bored. End of the game. You might want to experience some other kind of entertainment. If you stay with someone day in and day out, you might get bored. So you seek company of someone else.

However, it's important to understand what we get bored with. You can get bored with TV but you definitely want entertainment in another form. Entertainment is a fundamental need, a concept; TV just brings it alive in one form. Companionship is a need; being with different people just fulfils it in different ways.

Language, whether in business or in general life, goes through phases of boredom. Therefore, every now and then, some new words hold sway. There are certain words which are 'in' and some which are 'not'. But it's important to understand that words are only carriers/expressions of concepts or fundamental ideas. I think 'Positioning' is a fundamental concept in communication, marketing, business and life. Whatever word or framework you choose to express that concept, it doesn't matter.

What are you bored with? Are you giving up on something precious just because you are getting bored? Think about it.