‘Zeitgeist’, literally translated from German as ‘spirit of the time’, is an incredibly useful concept in PR and marketing as it presents opportunities for brands and organisations to ride the wave of popular mood.
Strictly speaking, zeitgeist refers to the ‘spirit of the age’, but in today’s fluid world of moods, politics and fashions it is often more practical and useful to think of zeitgeist in briefer terms.
As an example, BBC’s Planet Earth II series, which recently drew to a close, has been incredibly popular TV, watched by millions and generating regular trends on Twitter every Sunday evening. It is widely regarded as the BBC at its best and has further cemented Sir David Attenborough’s place as a national treasure.
The series concluded by looking at our cities and the influence they are having on the natural world, including how some animal species are adapting to take advantage of the riches on offer. During one section Sir David talked about new techniques for introducing greenery into cities, including living walls and green roofs. These techniques have been around for some time and are slowly, but surely, entering the public consciousness as more examples appear within our towns and cities.
However, this section of the programme will have done a huge amount to give that awareness a boost. If you weren’t aware of the idea of installing plants onto the sides of buildings, you certainly will be now if you watched the programme.
Judging by feedback on social media, the mood of the viewer throughout the series has been be one of sympathy and amazement for the wildlife we share a planet with. Following the final programme it is safe to assume viewers will be favourable to the idea of making our cities greener, healthier and more wildlife friendly. This mood will help to influence developers and city planners, who will in turn look more positively on these green techniques and systems.
If you are a supplier of such systems now is the time to ride this wave of awareness and positivity. Reach out to the market and the media to remind them of the importance of the issue and the solution you provide.
Also look to use social media to reach out to the online world of the general public that, although not necessarily clients, will be crucial in driving expectation of a greener future for our cities.
This idea of riding the zeitgeist can be applied to many fields, but to do it effectively you need to keep one eye on what is happening out there in the ‘real world’. Being too insular and industry/market focussed can result in missing these opportunities when they arrive.
So don’t be afraid to blur the distinction between work and private life. Things you see during your downtime can easily feed into your work/business life to your benefit.