Sometimes modern technology gives us a phrase which at the same time ring true but sounds hilariously pretentious. Exhibit A: Personal Innovation Lifestyle.
It’s easy to give PIL a glossy iStylized definition, but here’s my take on it. A desire to learn new things, about yourself and the world around you.
Before the digital world revolutionized everything, learning something new (like a language) or something more in depth (like gardening) was “a hobby” – which in itself was something you did when you weren’t at work, taking care of the kids, and had some time and a bit of leftover cash. Now, thanks to Mark Zuckerburg’s desire to learn Chinese, or Gwyneth Paltrow’s display of jumping from acting to singing to cookbook writing, we now have PIL.
It’s easy to make fun of this ‘new’ concept, but I have to agree with Haydn Shaughnessy in one respect. (Shaughnessy wrote the linked post, and whose posts are always thought-provoking). Call it whatever you want, but PIL will have a powerful impact on so many aspects of what we’ll be reading, doing and sharing with our family and friends over the next few years, particularly in marketing and communications.
Here’s an example from Duncan Hines cake mixes. According to an article in The New York Times, Duncan Hines is shifting from ‘mom making foods for her kids’ to ‘making foods which challenge her own sensibilities.’ Another example is The School of Life program in the UK. I’ve seen a number of these concepts, but this one is best. Go here to see more.
My take on making PIL work in a communications campaign:
- Authenticity. How can the idea resonate genuineness?
- A connection to personal values. More so than ever before, ideas need to connect to higher aspirational values. How can the idea me or my world better?
- Sharability. How can I connect to the people I care about?
If nothing else, PIL is one of the best ways to keep yourself creative. There is ample research to show that you need to keep the brain refreshed, and one way to do that is to keep learning – by new information, by trying new things, and by challenging yourself with topics in areas you normally wouldn’t give a second glance.
So. What new things are you learning?