Time to Re Imagine Business! And the time is now. As they say, ” The future is already here, but it is a tad unevenly distributed ‘.
It’s a new world of business. So, isn’t it time to ring out the old and bring in the new? A new mandate has to enter the fray.
Can we shake free of the past? Including(yes definitely) past successes! Can we re imagine an entirely new way of doing business?
Could we stop using these two traditional phrases( I will tell you why):
” Push the envelope “
” Think outside the box “
The problem with both the above(other than their gross overuse) is:
Both suggest that there is an intact envelope or a sturdy box from whose known (and identified borders) we can step out from. But remember:
The envelope is already torn and crumpled..and
The box has been run over by a speeding trailer truck.
So, the task at hand is to:
Think “Weird“, however weird it may sound..be wired for it!
(Re)think ” excellence “
Re-Imagine ” leadership “
Get strange. Did you know that the No 1 source of innovation is ‘ pissed off ‘ people ? People who just cannot tolerate the mundane, the silly, the mediocre that is happening around them. That’s the origin of the best innovation you can ever lay your hands on. So, go ahead and seek pissed off people! HR, are you listening?
Fire the planners. Hire the freaks.
An “excessive cult of the consumer“- ” customer driven” also means being slave to demographics, market research and focus groups. So, ‘listening to customers ‘ might just be the No 1 sin in marketing...
Turn the cliched phrase on its head. ‘The customer is always right‘ to ‘ The customer is always late ‘-
Who wanted Post It Notes? Nobody for a dozen years till 3M ‘ wrote ‘ history and we still keep ‘posting’.
Who wanted Fax Machines? Nobody for the longest time till a ‘ critical mass ‘ of users came along.
Who wanted CDs? Nobody or atleast none of us who had just been through the transformation from phonograph records to tapes. Then the kids started using CDs and the awesome quality of sound made us go Ka-boom!
In the words of Doug Atkin, a partner at Merkley Newman Harty: ” These days you can’t succeed as a company if you’re consumer led-because in a world of constant change, consumers can’t anticipate the next big thing. Companies should be idea-led and consumer-informed”
It’s time to re-imagine. At ISD Global we are constantly trying to be as future ready as possible, driven by the weird, motivated by the untried and fuelled by no fear. To generate ideas that can transform businesses and thereby quality of human life.
Your time starts now. The clock is ticking!
Marketing the New ‘Terms’ of Endearment
Over the years, tried and oft used terms in the world of business and marketing have transcended convention. We seem to be in a perennial state of having to come to terms with these terms. Here is the term sheet on that.
Brand Owners, Advertisers and Marketers were once cosy with ‘ Mass Market ‘. Try and reach the maximum audience numbers through mass media. A lot of the times it was about Spray and Pray. Mass Market transitioned to ‘ Mass Customisation ‘ which went beyond one size fits all to one size fitting some. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science, we are now in an era of the ‘ Customer Segment of One ‘, where one individual as an audience is targeted with high degree of precision and success.
The disclaimers have been turned on its head as well. What used to be common place was a term going as ‘ Caveat Emptor ‘ which essentially was to say buyers beware. The entire onus and risk on buying a product or service was all on the buyer/end user. Now, in an over commoditised world, where we have moved on from push and control to pull and engage, where top down has given way to bottom up marketing, what is evident is ‘ Caveat Venditor ‘, where the accountability and responsibility rests fully on the seller. The wheel has gone a full circle.
Not until long ago, brands and their marketing plans were etched out keeping demographic groups in mind. A pre decided age group with a certain buyer persona was carved out and communication was created to influence and impact that community. The universe has changed dramatically. Brand marketers have now started addressing mindsets which throws conventional wisdom out of the window. As they have now begun to chant, RIP Demographics!
Consumer aspirations have taken a twist as well. Yesteryears we had all marketing and communication created to induce brand ownership. With so much millennial consumption happening, the entire paradigm has now shifted to owning experiences. The new brand mantra for marketers is CeX(Customer Experience) and the City. Ownership is passe, experience is the new aspiration.
Remember those days when the quintessential manna from heaven was ‘ brand loyalty ‘. Coveted, treasured, revered. Loyalty was royalty. In an era of surplus of goods, information, choices, services and a deficit of trust, attention and resources, ‘ customer infidelity ‘ has replaced loyalty. Cheaper, better, faster? Here we shift loyalties!
We were just coming to terms with the ‘ knowledge economy ‘ as it moved on from the ‘ Industrial Economy ‘and before we knew it we were bang in the middle of the ‘sharing/collaborative economy‘. The dust had hardly settled on that and now the entire attention is rooted on the ‘ attention economy ‘. In an age of perennial distraction, attention is the new premium.
Since advent of marketing, and the quest for differentiation, the narrative has revolved around a USP(Unique Selling Proposition). That feature or benefit which makes your brand distinct or unique from other competitors in the eco system.Then came the not so holy communion onslaught- the SOS- Sea of Sameness. Nothing unique, nothing distinct, the herd mentality, the also ran, the me too. Which prompted our research at ISD Global to discover what we have come to label as UFP- Unique Feelings Proposition– where state of the heart is what brands are appealing to win trust, loyalty, mind and wallet space.
Am sure we will have more to chew on as the intersection of consumer behaviour, rapid evolution of technology and the ever changing socio economic landscape will throw up more perspectives that we have to come to terms with. Till then, au revoir.
Technology and Wisdom: In marketing, the twain can’t seem to meet!
To say that we are at the very forefront of cutting edge technology would be an understatement. Considering all the spectacular advances we see today in space travel, driverless cars, artificial intelligence, IOT, robotics, digital health, augmented reality, laser guided missiles etc, technology surely has motored along at more than a furious clip. Technology is ubiquitous, omni present, in the face and as they say, ‘ always on ‘.
Wisdom on the other hand is very much under the radar not because it cannot be droned up into the spotlight but there seems to be a tangible scarcity of it around. Most definitely in marketing.
In marketing, technology and wisdom are at two opposite ends of the spectrum. And, unlike magnetic forces, these opposites don’t attract. On the contrary, they repel. Technology is always moving in linear progression. Wisdom, on the other hand, with all the associated ammunition of insights, experience, maturity, just does not. Cannot.
Not all technology is the domain of the young and not all wisdom comes with age. But, as a general rule, tech is the territory of youth, wisdom the territory of maturity. Though there is strong perception that technology equates wisdom, nothing that we see today in the world of marketing or advertising at least backs the argument even remotely. We are in an era of ‘ technology overload ‘ that causes ad frauds(US$16 Billion), intrusion of customer privacy, manipulation of public opinion, colossal wastage etc etc. And there is no wisdom in that.
We seem to have moved on from what the very wise advertising greats of the past including William Bernbach, Howard Gossage etc preached and practiced. With a great degree of success. Without any technology at their disposal.
Technology digs into collective bias. What is called for is a balance of technology with the scaffolding of wisdom, without which, sauce for the goose is not exactly sauce for the gander!
As T.S Eliot said ‘ Where is the wisdom we have lost in all the knowledge? Where is the knowledge that we have lost in all the information? And where is the life that we have lost in living? ”
Image: ISD Global