“Flock and Flow” neither flocking nor flowing


The poor copy editor! She took a look at the manuscript for my new book, Flock and Flow, and slashed it to ribbons with a sharp red pen. I returned parry and thrust as best I could, but finally I was obliged to call the executive editor and explain that a book that attempts to describe how trends work and how we, as marketers, may work with them, must be written in a manner that is a little liquid, nay, delirious. Write a Preface and explain yourself, he said. So, I did.


Trends come up like a squall. Brands must respond or capsize.

There are two ways to respond: short term adjustment or long term strategy.

This book takes the second approach. It asks, "how can we read trends better?" How can we proceed strategically? How do we this systematically?

Systems do not come to us "off the shelf." To build a trend system, we have to invent things and assemble them as we go. If you are looking for something elegant, you can stop right here. This book is experimental. It is sometimes inelegant and frequently wrong.

My defense: these are early days. New, intellectual appliances are always a little bit out of kilter. To make matters worse, I offer no warranty and the operating manual, as you are soon to discover, is sketchy in some places and sheer surmise in others. There will be moments when the ideas look odd, or the prose turns delirious. Please, if you would, bear with me. Better still, consider yourself a co-investigator. If you can see another way to solve the problem, send me an email (grant27@gmail.com) or drop by my web log (www.cultureby.com).

Also, consider this your "mixed metaphor advisory." In the manner of marketers everywhere, I will deploy metaphors as and when they occur to me with scant regard for whether and how they speak to one another. For this book, I am writing out of the "short, sharp, shock" school of rhetoric. It isn’t pretty. I’m hoping it’ll be effective.

Clearly, the problem of the explosive dynamism, the "perfect storm," of consumer taste and preferences isn’t going to go away. It is time for marketers to stop responding with ad hoc adjustment and get in the game long term.

end of preface

I will let you know if this does the trick. 

4 thoughts on ““Flock and Flow” neither flocking nor flowing

  1. Francesca

    I completely agree with the flow thesis. I am an account planner in advertising and apparently schooled in trend analysis, and it is never a clean and clear process, this however should not dissuade people from attempting to analyze the systems at work in order to better forecast in the future. Rip a page from the past, and make it better.

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