If you live in London, like me, you might hear this phrase when talking to family or friends back home: “That’s so London”.
I have recently seen a few posts online that are in the same vein, particularly this Buzzfeed article entitled ‘21 reasons London just needs to stop’. It is very easy to forget that where I live is a microclimate of ‘cool’ that from the outside can look totally and utterly ridiculous.
So I have created a new principle called the ‘yuccie bias’. Yuccie meaning Young Urban Creative, cited from Mashable’s article ‘The hipster is dead’. This bias is created by being young and having a job in the creative industry in an urban city. It is important to know that, and I recently had a bit of a wake up call in the form of dinner with my mum.
A while ago my impulsive nature won out and forced me to do something. I bought tickets on a whim. This has, annoyingly, become more common. Maybe it’s an antidote to routine… or maybe I’m just one of those people. Regardless, it was tickets to something edible and exciting.
I was taking my mum for a meal where the food and drink were not chosen by picking things off a menu, but were predetermined by emotionally profiling us the night before.
We answered around 20 questions that were all photo based: “Which one appeals most to you – the flower, the ball, the sandy beach, the flat white foam?” That kind of thing. Then, apparently, from your answers they could tell what kind of person you are and what kind of food you are more likely to enjoy.
Sounds fun, right? Well, no. I made one big mistake, I didn’t allow for my own ‘yuccie bias’. I thought the evening was going to be a laugh. My mum, who lives in Norfolk, was confused and nervous as hell. It could have been a disaster.
And it was a disaster. The meal was her worst nightmare.
In hindsight, I was wrong to take her to an evening like that. It was intended for the ‘cool’ East London crowd, not my country dwelling, Sunday paper-reading mum from Norfolk.
Not allowing for ‘yuccie bias’ can drop you in some pretty awkward situations, both personally and professionally. Working in a design agency you’re used to living two, three, sometimes even four years ahead. But the need to keep grounded is now more important than ever.
In a talk by Anjali Ramachandran, Head of Innovation at PHD, she spoke about getting out of the ‘London Zone 1’ mindset. She challenged the ‘creative’ and predominantly London based audience in attendance with the question: “What percentage of ABC1C2’s in the UK make a packed lunch every day?” She gave multiple options. The consensus was 20-30%, whereas the answer is actually nearer 70%.
Spending time with your customers or consumers is unbelievably valuable. Getting real insight into the lives of your customer makes creative work more relevant and so much more robust. And, more importantly, it gets you to look around at what’s actually happening and notice the reality of ‘today’.
In any case, if it means spending more time with my dear old mum, I’m up for it.
Written by Jamie Campbell