06 Jun STRATEGY IN AN UNPREDICTABLE FUTURE
Did you know 9/10 top jobs of the future don’t exist yet? Imagine professors tasked with future proofing the next generation, creating curriculums that are relevant in the future. Financial experts at an international conference concluded that the banking world as we know it will disappear. This is not the announcement of a new crisis and it has nothing to do with the crypto currency. This is simply acknowledging that analysts cannot see beyond six months. What applies to education and finance also applies to marketing.
THE ONE CONSTANT IS CHANGE
Companies and brands are aware that the world around them is constantly changing and long term planning is not possible, or at least not in the way we are used to.
Market researchers know millennials are not interested in creating lasting relationships neither in their private life nor in their careers. They are materialistic with a growing need for possession. They are not loyal to brands. What they like today, they will forget tomorrow, they even choose Snapchat for communication, a platform with disappearing messages.
How to make plans with those who do not want to plan anything?
When creating a brand strategy with this in mind, you can react in several ways: you can panic, you can quietly sip a champagne while the Titanic sinks, and you can roll up your sleeves and get to work.
I am always for this third, though I have nothing against some champagne here and there.
Strategic thinking about brands is changing, just like everything in our industry. However, the fundamental things have not changed, they simply have a new form and a new role. Communication is one of those things.
THREE POINT STRATEGY
Full service agencies first and foremost, offer communication services. The need for communication will last as long as the human race. Brands will never stop talking to their customers and consumers, with a small community or the whole world. Forms, channels and content will change, but the need for interaction remains. Scott Bedbury, who worked for Nike and Starbucks, says A great brand is a story that’s never completely told.
My advice: help brands get off the pedestal and invite people to participate in creating new chapters of this endless story. The strategy does not show us anymore where should we get, but where should we go from.
THE BRAVE MOVE FORWARD
Brands need help to find themselves in a tangled conglomerate of modern communications, but also to find new development opportunities. More and more clients seek business advice, not just packaging design, TV campaigns or promotional events. In order to be able to respond to such requests, we need to expand our expertise, to look beyond the brief and instead focus on revealing new opportunities for our brands.
This can be the introduction of new products or services, an innovative distribution channel, or entering a new category. If you thought this was a novelty of the 21st century, you are mistaken.
L’Auto, the forerunner of the French sports magazine L’Equipe, launched the Tour de France race in order to boost circulation. This was in 1903. The rest is history.
A GOOD THING
Encourage your brands to find their purpose. This is not a philosophical, but a practical question. Direct them to become socially responsible, to advocate for a current, attractive, but relevant topic that is close to the essence of the brand.
Make this a major communication platform, not just one PR announcement or page in the company’s annual report. Take a step further. Help brands make themselves the change they want to see, to differentiate them from competitors. Consumers will recognize and choose them. Profit is no longer the goal, but rather a consequence.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Martin Lindstrom recently visited Belgrade and presented his book “Small Data” at a one-day symposium. In short: seemingly irrelevant details provide a better insight than large data. Statistics, market analysis and research results are not worth much if not checked by intuition. Instead of looking at the vague future – look at yourself. The fact that we do not see the horizon from the fog does not mean that the horizon is gone. Even the best pilot does not always read the map, but relies on instinct. So think about that analogy next time your prepare your strategy.
Ana Vehauc, Creative Strategist, New Moment