Industry ‘must adopt biology’

Language is the biggest potential barrier to realising great ideas in the 21st century, according to Imagination marketing director Ralph Ardill.

Ardill argued last week for the need to replace the language of physics – the driver of both the agricultural and industrial revolutions – with the language of biology, within design and marketing in general.

He was speaking at Where? The Future Starts Here, a conference organised by the Royal Society of Arts on the context in which the creative industries will operate.

“The language of marketing is littered with physics terminology, which we don’t even regard as such. Strength, pressure, momentum, strain, stretch, power and value are all words from the physics vernacular,” he said.

“But our attention is turning from external to internal space. Physics is running out of steam and biology is taking over, and so we need to start thinking in more biological terms,” Ardill said.

“Thinking as biologists could lead us to ideas we never knew we had,” he added.

He sees evidence of biological terminology seeping into the marketing vernacular through the everyday adoption of words like “cloning” and “mutation” and the term “computer virus”.

But he said the language of biology needs to become much more ingrained in our language and thought processes, if we are to come up with truly revolutionary ideas in the next millennium.

Ardill welcomed the recent decision by two Imagination clients to speak of “brand DNA” instead of brand value, and “brand mutation” instead of brand stretch.

The two clients have also decided to view their corporate structures as “eco-systems”.

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