South East Europe
Meetings Industry Magazine
We noted a comment somewhere that your book »The Dream Society« is a book about business and also about life in general, life as it is today and as it will be in the future. Could our future be predicted with the help of the book? What is going to happen with us in the future?
I think The Dream Society can be used to predict our future. It is about small, gradual changes each year but in the long term it adds up to a real transformation. Gradually, we buy products with our heart, with our emotions – not our mind. Just two examples: the price of a t-shirt is determined by what is written on it, not the quality. Quality is taken for granted or is seen as irrelevent. How much money can the Slovenian mountains generate in the winter? A lot you can go skiing and have a drink or two afterwards. Furthermore, we have more and more companies seeing themselves as part of society, not just as money-making machines. But it is a gradual process, it moves like a glacier, slowly but surely.
Society of dreams as you say is the next stage of development of humankind and now we are living the transition from information society into dream society. Do you think that reoccurring global crisis and recession in Europe has slowed down or even stopped this transformation? What is the precondition for the transformation from the material into emotionally rich society?
When the material dream has been fulfilled – more or less – for the majority of the population something new happens. The extra car, the holiday in Thailand –
Yes, we want it, but not as fiercely as when we were poor and it was the first car. We start to think about shorter working hours, more leisure time. This is certainly not an issue in China. They have a material dream to be fulfilled and they are ready to work hard to achieve it. Slovenia is – like South Korea – entering this era. Slovenia is fulfilling the material dream but is waiting for the next dream and the next dream must be emotional, non-materialistic. The definition of the good life changes from money to happiness, to thriving, to family life.
Marketing and advertising are relaying less and less on tangible advantages of individual products and are increasingly relying on feelings. Can we deduct from this that the globalisation also brought increasingly similar products and that the only difference left between them is the emotional component?
Yes, most products are the same, take the t-shirt or the sneakers, the watches. Made in the same factory in China. The difference in price comes from the brand, the story, that’s what we pay for.
Europe is full of tradition and history. Do you believe that we will start to revisit past in order to get good stories or maybe even values?
Europe has a lot of ”gold” – their history. Companies and artists are digging as much as they can – for good reasons. Next month we will read about the sinking of Titanic and the courage and cowardice in this event. About human hubris, about blind faith in technology. In my forthcoming book, The Gateway to the Future, I am suggesting a second renæssance. The first one happened 600 years ago. It was about setting people free – free to form their own opinions and ideas. I think the same is going to happen some time soon although in a more comprehensive way. Let the first renæssance teach us what to expect.
Why should we be using story telling in business communication and also in our personal lives? How do stories affect the listener? What is this process like?
We are moved by stories, we have no defence against a story well told. The strongest stories are about the nation and about religion. Many people are prepared to die for them. The company story is much weaker. Are you prepared to die for your company? (don’t answer if the boss is listening J). Storytelling is well illustrated in any good film. First everyting is fine, then something terrible happens. The film is started – the hero has to overcome the difficulties. In the end he/she succeed and we have a happy end. Normally the hero wins because of honesty, love and compassion. The villian is just after money.
How to prepare / tell a good story that would also interest potential buyers / listeners?
OK! Thank you for the question. A true story: ”My good friend was in the countryside in a small cottage with his wife and their teenage daughter for just a few days. After 24 hours the teenage daughter said: ”Let’s go to the city and do some shopping”. My friend answered (stupidly): ”What do you need?” the daughter said: ”How would I know, then I am not there!” OK, what did we learn from this true story? That shopping for young people is a leisure activity. For older people it is about allieviating a need.
Do certain differences (rules) occur in telling stories in various industries and various cultures? Have you maybe already recognised them?
Basically, we are all human. We have cultural differences, though. A us/me product ( like My Nike, – the Nike brand but with a personal and individual statement about the owner) could sell in the West, but not in Asia. They are less individualistic.
Do you maybe already have an idea what is going to follow the dream society?
I guess the Dream Society is the end. In a 100 years time we are mostly spiritual and artistic– talking values and enjoying the beauty of the lily in the field – to quote the famous Lord keynes for his prediction.