Monday, 4 May 2009

Slow brands - part two (slow events)

In the last post I wrote that the slow movement and its values are particularly attractive in a time of recession and environmental challenge, and that brands are starting to respond to this.

Is there though such a thing as a slow event - a live experience that reflects the craft and thought and time that goes into producing their goods? Howies' Do Lectures achieve exactly this. They take place over a weekend at a forest campsite in Wales, and feature a line up of 'Doers', designed to inspire us all to 'do' something. The event has a reflective pace and setting that sits well with slow movement.

It is worth noting that events that facilitate conversation, debate and reflection are ever more popular. The RSA's event programme, the School of Life and the hugely popular TED talks are all examples of what Simon Jenkins refers to as the 'boom in public discourse'.

Last summer's outdoor drawing-room, created by the National Theatre featuring giant astroturf furniture to clamber and relax on felt like a slow brand experience. The Guinness Storehouse is a different type of slow experience in that it draws the visitor into the heritage and quality that sit at the heart of the brand. Perhaps the ultimate example of a slow brand is Penguin, who in the past have created relaxed reading areas at events with books to borrow and deckchairs to relax in.

I'm not suggesting that the slow movement is going to change things overnight (another unavoidable pun), but I do think we're going to see more companies actively communicating the slow aspects of their brand. Live experiences, as the above examples show, offer really interesting opportunities for brands thinking in this way.