A geezer's true worth
Geezerland - Exploring contemporary working class Britain. Oliver Murphy reviews a session from this year's MRS conference.
Vegass Ian Pierpoint and Andy Davidson warned us Uni-educated researchers and clients that trends, new ideas and fashions dont always trickle down from the more discerning to the masses but instead explode upwards from the street.
That much-loved target - the young BC1s, the smart urbanites - is apparently a lot less lucrative than yer pack of Geezers. Geezers find Uni-Twats quite incomprehensible - slaving away in penury for three years just to end up with a huge loan to pay back when they could have been out having fun!
So stick to your Geezers - theyre rough, theyre raunchy and theyre usually rat-arsed but theyve got cash and they spend it.
Kjell Nordströms keynote address began with him bounding onto the stage, then talking non-stop for almost an hour without any visible means of support. Charming, enthusiastic, challenging and thought provoking, Dr K was indeed an experience as Ginny (Valentine) the Chair had predicted.
He kicked off with the Bowling Alone phenomenon. Over 60% of households in many big cities (Stockholm, Amsterdam, Moscow) are single ones and yes, even Americans are now increasingly going to bowling alleys by themselves. Do our samples reflect these single households, do our products and services cater for them?
Secondly, a theory that globalisation will not make us ever more homogenised but actually more fragmented as the like-minded cluster together to live out their own particular take on the world. He cited all the tekkies in Silicon Valley or Nokia-land but has obviously never been to Milton Keynes!
Next we must open up those boxes. Communication in the Dream Economy is uncontrolled (by governments or corporations) but is fast, transparent and interactive. We are urged to get into the daily stream of Communication to hear whats happening, and review how we listen within research (well at least groups in viewing theatres are transparent and interactive, but I suspect thats not what the good doctor meant).
Finally, individuals and corporations survive and prosper by using the two key Darwinian tactics of Fit or Fancy, otherwise known as Adapt & Survive and Attract & Survive. Since organisations are now cut to the bone, Dr K advocates that we add on a layer of Attraction to find our next Temporary Monopoly in the market.
And if youre now totally confused about where its all going in your industry, dont worry. He reassured us that "Only Chaos can give birth to a dancing star!"
Come back Eric Cantona, all is forgiven.
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, May 2004
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2004