In pursuit of the new normal!

It is said that change is the only constant. And the speed of change is actually accelerating in these times when a technology gets obsolete even before one has had the time to master it. Just think about it, we are the generation that has seen so many things come and go in terms of technology. Things are changing so fast. So, what is normal is a constantly changing goal post. The new normal of yesterday which was the printed newspaper, is now substituted by the new normal which is the app based online news. Television used to be the new normal, today OTT and Podcasts have become the new normal. As communications people, to connect with our TG, it is essential we keep a tap of the new normal even though it keeps changing constantly. But, before we get any further, let’s see what is the definition of normal.

What really is normal?

As communications professionals, I think it’s very important for us to understand what is normal. As the word normal keeps changing its meaning, it changes the things we do every day which in turn affects the products and services we consume.

Normal according to age:

As the father of a teenager, I see the normal changing quite frequently right in front of my eyes. A few years back, teddy bears used to be normal, then came the Barbie which became the new normal, now it is BTS and Anime. Earlier pink used to be the normal, today black is the new normal. I am sure the cosmetic companies must be going through so much just to keep up with these trends which are normal.

Normal according to generation:

My father’s generation thought credit was evil, today I can’t step out of my home without carrying my credit cards. For my father’s generation, a car was a luxury – he always told me why you don’t buy a two-wheeler as it is more economical. For his generation, economy was the normal. For our generation comfort is the normal. May be for my next generation, luxury will be the normal. I can see this trend already in the cars we buy -what used to be the 800 twenty years back is a mini SUV. Everybody thinks buying an SUV is normal today. A few years back sedans used to be luxury, today sedans are okay to have but SUVs are what normally people are looking to buy (well, I am purely going by the sales trends and figures I seem to read about in the media today).

Meditation and wellness is another thing that is impacted by generation. For my father’s generation, you started looking for spiritual salvation when you reached the wrong side of forty. Today you are joining meditation in your late twenties or early thirties to live a more meaningful life. Meditation is a way of life today and has nothing to do with materialism.

Normal according to region:

As a Bengali, it is normal for me to eat rice. It is my basic instinct to go for rice if it is available. For my friends in the North, rotis are normal. I still remember that when we used to be children and lived in Kolkata (I was in Kolkata for a very brief period of my life) whenever we felt sick, we were told to have rotis and when we started to be better, we were offered rice again. So somehow, in the back of my mind, I still associate rotis with being unwell. So, the normal for me tends to be stuck with rice. Though I must confess that as a Mumbaikar, I am equally excited to have South Indian Breakfast and Marathi food as normal. For many in the east and south, eating fish is seen as normal for brain development. There are many in the north and west who think it is absolutely normal to eat vegetarian and have nuts & other vegetarian substitutes to make up for lost nutrition.

Normal according to gender:

This is the mother of all I think. For women having a matching pair of footwear is normal. For men, two pairs of formal shows that probably goes with everything. Smoking is another habit (though I don’t smoke and don’t encourage smoking in any way) that I find is very gender specific. Men smoke to blend in where as women smoke to stand out.

So how do we keep track of this new normal?

I think it is not as hard as we think it is. As communications professionals we have one quality that we share with Sherlock Holmes – that is the power of observation. If we are keeping our eyes and ears open. If we are able to connect the dots with the media coverage and draw our own conclusions, if we are able to observe the people around us and also introspect, I think we can very well stay on top of the new normal. May be even predict it quite accurately.

The festive time is the best time according to me to observe the shifting of the new normal. It’s the food we eat, the places we visit, the dress we wear and the lingo we adapt, everything is changing. Everything is in flux. There is definitely a method in the madness. All we need is to be mindful of these subtle and some loud changes around us. Who would have thought twenty years back that Bryan Adams could be replaced by Black Pink & BTS? Or that Chinese mobiles will rule the world of telecommunications? But it is happening. And happening really fast. The socio-economic changes around us are impacting everything we see around us. Geopolitics can be another indicator. All we need is be the sponge and absorb. And we will have a great time with the quest of the new normal.

Wish you all happy festivities and a great year ahead!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Tilak Chowdhury
Tilak Chowdhury – Associate Director – Client Relations and Communications at DPNC Global.

DPNC Global is a lead multidisciplinary business consulting firm focused on Tax, Assurance, Regulatory, FEMA & Family Office Services in India.

He has more than 20 years of experience working with large multinational companies – both agencies and corporates. He has held senior communication profiles in French engineering major Egis, Indian Pharma MNC Jubilant and listed auto ancillary company Sharda Motors India Limited, before joining DPNC.

He has worked with some leading advertising agencies from WPP network and with some leading public relations agencies. He has extensive experience in internal and external communications that includes - employer branding, advertising, public relations, corporate communications, marketing communications, events, exhibitions and corporate & product branding.

He has worked on brands like Ambuja Cements, Taj Group of Hotels, Kinetic, Mahindra, Indian Oil etc in the past.

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