Traditional age descriptors such as ‘old, ‘young’ and ‘middle-aged’ seem increasingly confused and unhelpful as longevity starts to make an impact. What do such terms mean now? What is ‘young?’ What does ‘middle age’ encompass? We conducted research to understand attitudes to age and life-stages.
In the corporate responsibility arena companies aren’t just doing more, they’re talking about it much more too. But when you read the actual words being used, the language often feels strangely out of step with the real world. In fact, the way companies talk about reputation runs the risk of undermining the very thing they’re trying to enhance.
‘Age’ has previously been a pretty good proxy for ‘stage’ – with marketers making assumptions about life stages and likely activity. However, as we enter the era of longevity, this is a dangerous pitfall that brands need to work hard to avoid. We are starting to see changes in traditional life paths and so brands need to be more sophisticated in their understanding of longevity. The opportunities for those that can do this successfully are sizeable.
People are living and remaining active for longer than ever, putting strain on systems that were developed for the three stage life - education, work, retirement. In this post, I use the three horizons model of longevity to assess where the future of longevity may lie and how we can overhaul a predetermined life-path that will soon no longer be fit for purpose.
Although we all have a general sense that people are living longer, the actual facts on ageing are powerful and quite surprising. When a child born in the West today has a more than 50% chance of living to be over 105, and two-thirds of the world's older persons currently live in developing countries, what does this all mean for how we approach the idea of older life?