Building human connections

42group refreshed and revitalised

So, 42group has finally gone and refreshed the brand. Do you like it? We knocked it up this morning.

Err, that’s not quite true. It’s the result of several months of detailed planning, design, user experience research, and afternoons in the pub.

It’s the embodiment of what we do.

So, what’s changed?

Aesthetically, we’ve gone for a retro-futuristic take. Think Tron updated to 2023 (and conveniently forgetting the remake that sucked the life out of the original as remakes almost always do). It’s old, new, totally modern, and timeless.

And if you hate it, that’s great. Any reaction is better than ambivalence.

The words have changed too.

What does “Building human connections” mean?

In a digital world where we’re told that technology like AI is transforming things, we’re at risk of information overload. Fake news, AI-generated content, and billions of junk pages published every day are affecting our ability to understand what’s important.

Words are losing their meaning – but only if we allow it to happen.

So, what does great content and copy do?

Builds human connections

Writing this article, I’m listening to the old Blue Note jazz tune Speak no evil by Wayne Shorter. The band run through the changes, feeding off each other and improvising over a set of chords borrowed and recontextualised.

Together in a tight and smoky room, they’re using eye contact to encourage each other. Their hands work to find new ways to navigate the chords and find cadences that capture emotions. This is the sound of analogue instruments in the pre-digital age. Behind the desk is Rudy Van Gelder, the savant who defined the sound of jazz and all from the comfort of his suburban lounge.

You’re listening to the mastery of a rhythm section. Drums and bass are engaged in a tussle, pushing and pulling. They’re reacting to each other, totally in the moment. As they play, the needle is etching the vinyl. This session is the living and breathing sound of these men in a room, and it’s magical.

Why would we want to give this up?

AI can access the whole catalogue of recorded music and play something back that’s technically as adept, rhythmically as complex, and with the drums purposefully shifted in and out of time to reflect the imperceptible and 100% human changes in rhythm.

But it isn’t music.

Content created by machines, engineered by algorithms, and assembled in rows doesn’t build human connections. It destroys trust. It devalues professional experience. Every new post damages our industry.

Building human connections isn’t a brand strapline; it’s a rallying call to anyone involved in creating new and original content.

In the end, machines will win, and technology will take over. But until then, we have to fight back.

In 5 year’s time, we’ll probably be gone. Replaced by machines and as culturally irrelevant as an old show tune. But we’re not going quietly.

The answer is 42.

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