Busy, Busy.

April 8, 2013

We find many interesting revelations when we go and meet people. Being in someone’s home is a great way to get to know the individual or the family.

People show us things that are important to them and tell us things that surprise. But one thing that has become all too commonplace is the idea of being ‘so busy’.

The modern day’s pace of life

The pace of life today feels unrelenting for many. At an economic level a measure of output is our Real National Income per Capita. Per person we are running at $49,100 real net disposable income.  Only 12 years ago, in 2001 we were at $38,500. So proof we are much busier! Kinda.

At a household level, I wonder if we are doing more loads of washing, more dishes, more meals. More time in the shed, more fixing, more projects. I am yet to find a washing loads measure.

Irrespective of my curiosities, it often makes me think about why we whirl ourselves up into the frenzy of busyness, often feeling like the Warner Brothers Tasmanian Devil character.

If we aren’t busy, what are we?

Lazy? Coasting? Pragmatists? Content?

Imagine someone coming over and when they ask – “How’s it going?” That the response is a proud – “I have not been doing much, and I am really enjoying it?”

In this day of appearances and image what might a response like that say about an individual?

The more I have thought about this, the more I realise it is purely an affirmation to oneself. That when we do stop to think about what we are up to we see themselves as industrious and productive. A contributor. Worthwhile.

Hugh Mackay says the number one thing that drives us is the sense of wanting to be taken seriously. And this response is actually an ode to oneself. A little moment of affirmation.

So what on the surface may have been a fairly benign statement, one of small talk, may actually be laddered with a rich vein of meaning.

The Lab’s cultural mapping work

In The Lab’s cultural mapping work we see life’s different dimensions blurring into one another. Technology is fuelling the pace of transition faster than ever before. Work & ‘life’ are merging into one another. Gender roles are continuing to evolve, and with the prevailing attitude of uncertainty around the future we anticipate that this notion of busyness will ironically grow in importance.

These moments of change are good for brands and we see three directions brands can take to capitalise on this.


The first is to help us run faster, higher, stronger. Brands like Napisan with their line – ‘Trust the pink’ are working to this underlying meaning.

The other end of the spectrum are brands which help people jump off the spinning wheel. Corona is perhaps the modern days best example of this, with their tagline ‘From where you’d rather be’.


The third is the brand that delicately combines these ideals. Kikki K springs out of the blocks as our modern day purveyor of having it all. It's aesthetic and textural prowess convey a promise of ‘enjoy yourself while you're under the pump’.

Brands from all categories can tap into this ideal, and it is a simple yet powerful dynamic to consider about how you are fitting into someone’s world.

Paul