The creative economy and the new aspirational economy by Ana Andjelic

In our new series, 'Weekly Supplement', we explore what's happening in culture. From new signals on our radar, to stories making us hopeful, to our latest obsessions, it's a regular serving of culture news and brain food.

This week, we’re highlighting Ana Andjelic recent piece, "The Creative Economy: How brands exploit time to make money," in which she offers a fascinating insight into the contemporary landscape of brand storytelling. She unveils how the allure of the past has become today's currency in the creative economy, pushing brands toward celebrating their heritage rather than producing new items.

→ The Value of Heritage in the Creative Economy

Andjelic explores how brands today are increasingly mining their pasts to create value. She points out that in the creative economy, the past becomes a currency. Brands like Tiffany & Co.Fendi, and Gucci have tapped into their heritage, using historical motifs and stories to enrich their present offerings and appeal to consumers. A strategy that leverages a brand's storied past as a key differentiator in today's market.

→ Exploitation of Time as a Resource

Unlike traditional economic models that might deplete physical resources, the creative economy exploits time. By reusing and repurposing what worked in the past, brands can monetise time itself. Andjelic highlights the notion that the past is a reliable means of monetisation, as demonstrated through reboots, sequels, and the resale market. This approach suggests that in the creative economy, historical relevance and storytelling can significantly enhance a brand's value and appeal.

→ The Necessity of a Brand's Narrative and Cultural Currency

For a brand to successfully exploit its past, it first needs to have a notable history or the ability to invent one. This narrative enrichment and embellishment are crucial for creating cultural currency, where creativity becomes the mode of production. Andjelic argues that the most successful brands are those that can tell the best stories, thus owning time and shaping the narrative and history.

As Andjelic highlighted, "The past that the creative economy exploits had once been the future. Originality was such that it broke the confines of its present. To make creativity immortal, we need to give it a future by bestowing on it enough time to unfold in the present"

Ana's broader work through her newsletter, "The Sociology of Business," further explores how the shifting paradigms of status symbols - from commodities and social metrics to taste, curation, and environmental consciousness - are redefining brand strategy in what's termed as the modern aspirational economy.

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