Red Sky Fuel For Thought
The Red Havas 2021 Word of the Year: Ep. 20 of Red Sky Fuel for Thought Podcast
As communicators, we are absolute nerds about words. We like rearranging them, adding and subtracting them from sentences, and learning new ones. Heck, we even like inventing them (vaccinfluencer, anyone?). That’s why, in 2020, when our agency launched the inaugural Word of the Year, we challenged ourselves to identify one word to describe what had turned into the most unconventional year in modern memory.
To get our one word, we went to people who are generally of many words—fellow comms professionals—and asked them to narrow their experience down to a single word. (Unmute? Unmasked? New normal?) Or, following in the footsteps of major dictionaries, did more conventional options come to mind? (Pandemic? Coronavirus? Lockdown?) In the end, pivot and unprecedented rose to the top and ended up sharing billing as our Word of the Year.
This year, we were eager to continue our explorations—with not only our colleagues, but our clients and partners globally. (Remember: We didn’t intend to produce a statistically precise or significant thought leadership piece, rather, our aim is to foster a discussion to engage colleagues, clients and creators around the world about our shared passion of brand communications.) We asked some 200 of our closest friends: What one word or phrase would they use to describe how communications have shapeshifted in 2021?
And they delivered—more than 170 words were put forward, coalescing around two major themes:
• Adaptability/adaptation/adaptive/adapt, including agility, adjust, evolving and transforming
• Resilience/resilient/flexibility/flexible, including endurance, bouncing back, relentless and overcoming