Tapping into the zeitgeist

Zeitgeist is a borrow word from German (translated from Zeit meaning time and Geist meaning spirit) which means the spirit of the age and its society. The original German word, Zeitgeist, is often wrongly attributed to the philosopher Georg Hegel. He never used the word but the phrase der Geist seiner Zeit (the spirit of his time).

Zeitgeist has a more established English word-cousin in poltergeist (noise making spirit). Zeitgeist represents the summation of the beliefs of a large group of people with a particular world view during a period of time. George Bernard Shaw summed it up:

What I say today everybody will say tomorrow, though they will not remember who put it into their heads. Indeed they will be right for I never remember who puts things into my head : it is the Zeitgeist.

It is a word that holds particular excitement for marketers. The most common usage of zeitgeist has the subject, mostly a marketing person, tapping into it. No one seems to participate in it, watch it or understand it but everyone is tapping into it.

It is the ultimate objective, and the marketers dream, to get a product to resonate with the ideas of the masses.