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My Analogue Heart

November 27th 2013

Anders Sorman-Nilsson is a Sydney-based global futurist and innovation strategist whose clients include Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and the Commonwealth Bank, as well as his mum's local bricks and mortar menswear shop in Sweden.

In this insightful excerpt from his new book 'Digilogue' Anders reminds us that whilst the world is going tech crazy, there is still very much a place for the traditional; from the analogue Christmas card to the time spent creating a holiday feast. The perfect balance between the past and future is where enduring businesses & brands will prosper.

As a special offer to celebrate the close of 2013, when you confirm Anders to speak at a conference or event before 31st January 2014, you will receive 50 copies of his book 'Digilogue: How to Win the Digital Minds and Analogue Hearts of Tomorrow's Customer' complimentary.

Our emotional hearts are in a constant battle with our rational minds. We buy on emotion. And then we post-rationalise the decision, to make ourselves right.

In other words, if we connect to something with our hearts, we want it and, often, we buy it.

Occasionally (sometimes by procurement's force), we also run the decision past rational filters in our minds. This is why love brands, or "lovemarks", have to win both the hearts and minds of their clients, so that when we are about to make a decision to part with dollars, we feel good about it and can intelligently rationalise our decision to ourselves and others.

Increasingly, the latter process is one that takes place digitally. We browse, compare, download, flick through charts, get digitally educated about specs, and we punch data into Excel spreadsheets, often before we decide to have a face-to-face conversation with an analogue human being.

Our rational minds have gone digital, but our emotional hearts have remained analogue. It's absolutely critical for business survival today to win the analogue, emotional: hearts and the digital, rational minds of your clients and prospects.

Think about the analogue environment for a moment. Do you remember your first digital download? Let me remind you, it was probably an illegal act. But there's no shame if you don't remember it. Most likely, it was a fleeting moment in time.

Now contrast that with this. Do you remember the first record, tape or CD you ever got given or bought? I can vividly recall running around at our modest summer house on Ingaro Island outside Stockholm for an entire summer in 1987 singing The Final Countdown by Europe. And I didn't speak a single word of English. Nobody really remembers their first digital download, but vinyl is forever. I still have the record. The computer on which I first downloaded from Napster has long been digitally discarded. No wonder analogue vinyl sales are on the rise around the world.

My iPhone, iPad and Macbook Air - even my kitchen stove - give me a more accurate digital indication of true time than my analogue Swiss Movado watch that I inherited from my grandfather Per.

I regularly have to take this watch in to get it fixed, and have to manually wind it up so that it will keep going. But I do this gladly, and with love. Perhaps not surprisingly, this 70-year-old piece was designed by a company with the motto of "The art of time". Notice it is not the science of time. The language is precise, the watch is not. My analogue watch contrasts sharply with digital clocks that actually know the accurate time. But I keep wearing Per's Movado. Why do I keep wearing it? Is it just an expensive piece of man jewellery? No. We all want a little piece of magic ticking away on our arm.

The analogue watch is also about story. The marketing for these luxury brands picks this up, and encapsulates the communication of timeless (excuse the pun) wisdom. In Patek Philippe's words, "You never truly own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation."

It sets the watch apart from the idea of ownership and moves it into the space of legacy and guardianship.

Smart move. We wear analogue watches because they connect with our hearts, not our minds. A digital Casio or my iPad could never speak to my heart like my grandfather's Movado does. There is a need for things we don't necessarily and rationally need. Accessory brands thrive on this.

Now, we too must learn from them. Analogue wins hearts. They speak the same language. Digital may rationally be the way to go, but analogue stays in the fight. Digital may democratise, but the analogue still intrigues. Digital is fast, analogue is slow. Digital gives you a snapshot preview, analogue is the film. Digital enables instant access, analogue requires physical effort.

And remember-our rational minds may now be digital, but our somewhat irrational hearts are still analogue.

Ironically, we crave the human connection of a digital Christmas SMS, yet sometimes forget about the analogue people we're actually spending Christmas with. Technology has fundamentally shifted our behaviours, and enabled us to text or tweet someone while sitting next to that someone, and we're becoming push notification stimulus addicts.

But simultaneously, we derive increasing value from analogue escapist experiences like the Burning Man art event, yoga, meditation, holidays, religious groups, slow cooking, farmers' markets, and, yes - cross-generational family time.

The more technology changes our communication patterns and our attention spans, the more other things stay the same -things like our need for touch, for timeless patience, for community and for meaning. 

Today, people around the world connect by disconnecting. Some turn to meditation, some to downward dog poses, some to extreme sports, some to churches, synagogues, temples and mosques.

This is not just about hobbies, it's also about creating mind space away from the 24/7/365 pressures of digital mania.

We unwind by being unwired. We all need to escape the digital and go analogue from time to time.

For further information on Anders Sorman-Nilsson or to enquire about making a booking for your next conference or event please contact the friendly ODE team

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  • +61 2 9818 5199

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My Analogue Heart
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