Out of the Woods? Branding the decade that was.

So what do you call a decade like that one?

So far Beg to Differ has resisted the urge to comment on the Tiger Woods scandal. But a friend posted a story on Facebook today that seemed like a great way to wrap up the year, advice and the decade. Her four-year old asked her out of the blue if he could take down his Tiger Woods poster – after two years on his wall. When asked why, he said “it just seems like time.”  Indeed.

As they say: it's hard to see the tree for the Woods with a driver in the rear view mirror: just one of the many brands that have decided not to invite the Tiger into their new decade.
As they say: it's hard to focus on the tree - or the Woods - with a driver in the rear view mirror: just one of the many brands that have decided not to invite the Tiger into their new decade.

The rear-view mirror: out with the old

The end of the year, or the decade, is of course a great time to reflect, dream, plan, concede defeat, or maybe just take a break from whatever little white ball you were chasing.

But one question burns brighter than any faded Tiger in my mind right now: what do we call the decade that was? Other decades have great names like “the Dirty Thirties,” “The Roaring Twenties,” or my favourite: “the Eighties” (the teenage rugby-pants, new-wave, drama-geek decade doesn’t need another descriptor – at least for me).

A few suggestions for branding the decade just past:

The Woods

Or “the Woodies” if you prefer. Oh those halcyon days when the Tiger was young and seemed infallible. Before we learned the awful truth: that he was all too human… er, actually a major sleaze-ball in his private life. And while that shouldn’t matter, we learned that when you build a brand empire around yourself, that brand is vulnerable to all the same failings that you are – particularly if your brand is built on a false perception of super-human purity.

But the thing I like best about “The Woods”, is that it implies we’re out of them now…

The Naughties

Or “The Naughts”, “the aughts”. Of course “aught” or “naught” are words for zeroes.  My blog-buddy Nancy Friedman favours “the Naughties”. But apart from the Woods, there wasn’t really that much decade-defining naughtiness when you compare it to the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and the “Bill Clintons”. Martin Bishop tallied some more here, but I’m not convinced.

The Zeros

Or the “nothings” Nope. Just too depressing.

The Ohs

Not bad. Positive spin on the zeros, with a touch of surprise and wonder, and perhaps a nod of the head to my old Denim Blues cast-mate Sandra Oh – but that was the eighties again…

The Terror Years

September 11 2001 cast a massive pall over the decade – as did the subsequent war-faring, drum-beating, and hysteria.

The O-amas

This one has a nice hopeful ring to it: we went from the evil of Osama to the fresh hope represented by (and hopefully fulfilled by) Obama. Time will tell on this one.

The Bloggies

Surely the emergence of social media and the democratization of the news cycle – for better and worse – is one of the defining themes. Or at least to the millions of us who blog about such things.

The Happies

Okay, this may just be for me again. But I have to say that this decade – whatever we call it – has been the happiest of my life. I started my branding business in 2000 and have had the privilege to help many dozens of companies, charities, and government organizations humanize their brands. I also got married to an amazing woman, bought a house, had three incredible kids (the diaper decade?), and started a little blog called Beg  to Differ.

It wasn’t all sunshine. I made some people angry, and didn’t always dot all my i’s or even deliver 100%.  But as I look back, I can’t help but feel great about the next decade – whatever we call that.

So as you take down the old posters from your wall, think carefully about what the next decade could become for you, your brand, and your tribe.

My four-word prescription for the next decade:

Keep making it better!

Happy New Year!