Door: Mabel Nummerdor*

Part One of Future Consumer Languages

The spirit of this age is and will be dominated by the velocity of technological progress: AI, block chain, graphene. Technology will undeniably impact daily lifes, it will affect our cultural values and eventually change our natural habits. One of those natural habits that is currently being torpedoed by all thinkable sorts of innovation is “conversation”.  In 3 trend blogs I will talk about future consumer languages that will shape the way we talk with our consumers now and after 2020.

Why we need brand poets?

When Twitter introduced its 140-character service in 2009, at first it appeared to be a handicapped tool. Who would ever be able to make an appealing message, tell a compelling story or even worse build a fabulous brand with 140 keyboard clicks?

Well, we turned out to become pretty good at it. Ever since our devices started to shrink, so did our lengthy messages towards eachother. And now we come closer and closer to a future where the written word will be in decay. With shortening our communication, we started to lose to the ability to produce and process written language. Many studies have shown that our attention span has almost reached the size of a paperclip. We are so immensely info-obese, that in the near future most people will refuse to sit down and read full articles,  letters or emails written by relatively unknown senders. Already many email newsletters anticipate to this reluctance by making use of time indicators: “this email is a 3 minute read”.

I once worked for a fabulous entertainment company, where we in the early millennium wrote passionate direct mail letters (full 2 pagers on paper)  to our gold, silver, and bronze musical visitors. It seems unbelievable, but the booking responses we got to those love letters frequently reached double digit percentages. Now, it is most certainly not my intention to dwell on the past (shame on me), but what I wish to point out is the fact that in the future our consumers will become more unwilling to read or write an extensive amount of words and that requires new verbal mastery for those working in marketing. Let’s be honest with each other. We marketing people in all sorts of companies and organisations, we still thrive on ridiculously long emails, 50 page strategy documents and endless briefing letters, and oh yeah and on my account: we also write blogs that do not come to the point fast enough. (my sincere apologies) When we want to stay connected to the way our future consumers communicate in life, we will have to challenge ourselves to diminish our word count as well.

Writing with less and less words, surely is more challenging, than the verbal overflow we used to poor out over our consumers. ( and yes I know it wasn’t just me) In a famous quote the influential French scientist Blaise Pascal, once apologised for writing such a long letter, explaining that he didn’t have the time to write a shorter one. Carefully choosing a very limited amount of words, but still staying in line with your verbal identity will ask for language experts and that is the exact reason why in the near future we are in need of brand poets.


The counter effect of the decay of the written word, strangely enough is the growing interest in poetry. Poetry starts to pop up almost everywhere you look in the cool urban scenes. In fashion, during events, in the rap music, even young celebrities choose to launch their portfolio of poems over their personal life stories. Poetry has the ability to capture the essence of things in life, in a very powerful way. By letting go of the official language rules, by putting a tremendous amount of dedication in the choice and combination of just a few words.

Poetry will therefore be a new source of inspiration in marketing. A new way of expressing the brand essence, or the why of an organisation. And when you feel very uncomfortable by rhyme and metaphors you might want to install a new corporate policy that officially limits your company emails to 140 characters. Or you can choose to depict your strategy document in a catchy infographic.  However you choose to do it, you do it, as long as you understand that this trend predicting the decay of the written word, will profoundly affect our marketing communication tactics in the future.

Next Communication Trend Talk: Speak Emoji Please

*Mabel Nummerdor is Bestuurslid bij NIMA en trendwatcher| Embedding Trends in Brand Strategies. Deze publicatie verscheen eerder op haar Linkedin-domein