I watched a bit of Ken Burns’ Unforgivable Blackness this morning about Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champ at the turn of the last century in America, (it’s really good). Johnson was a part of the “New Negro” movement; blacks who opposed the segregation theories of the day espoused by people like Booker T. Washington, and who rejected the idea that blacks should be submissive. It was radical thinking for the time that instantly made everything else look and feel old. Watching, I got a sense of what a revolution it must have been at the time.
I got the same feeling watching Germany demolish Argentina. The tactics and play of the “new” German team felt so fresh and revolutionary that, by contrast, Argentina looked old, sluggish and predictable. New Germany were, in fact, so good that they sent two of the greatest footballing nations in the world home to rethink how they play the game.
I think “Being New” has infiltrated a broad spectrum of business and culture. There is a fresh aesthetic, and a fresh approach that can often be identified in the most unexpected places. Often it’s still too new to have been named or classified, but it is unmistakable because it instantly shines a harsh light on being old.
Adrian is founding partner of Zeus Jones a branding company believing actions speak louder than words and that modern brands are defined by what they do not what they say. He speaks (and writes) regularly about non-communications based models for marketing & branding. @adrianho