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Brand Management

3 Disruptive Shifts Require Brands To Think Different

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 3 Disruptive Shifts Require Brands To Think Different

For brands to succeed in the next decade, they will have to realign their thinking and operating model so that they can not merely function, but actually matter.

Here are three of a growing number of new requirements to earn a place in the future.

1. Employee Advocacy Instead Of C-Suite Spokespeople – In old models, the highest ranking officials at a brand or company spoke for that organization. But there’s a problem that has now surfaced for brands. The most vocal and influential employees may not be VPs or SVPs but simply managers who have built up an effective social media influence. These employees can now be advocates on behalf of brands as subject matter experts if those brands move toward a flattened matrix model and give up on the hierarchies of the past. There should no longer be one defining voice for a brand but many. Brands that align their organizations in this way no longer have to rely on one voice but can rely on hundreds if not thousands of employees to help carry their conversations to current and potential customers. Software like Sociabble and TrapIt can come in handy in these scenarios. What also can be handy is how you hire and retain employees. The most successful brands have talent that are interchangeable. Put emphasis on who you hire and seek those that can be generalists and understand a lot of areas rather than specialists who only understand one. This is important in case business pivots and your brand needs to shift with it.

2. Contextual Conversations Instead Of Managed Narratives – Narratives are dead just like managed public relation programs. Customers are asking for transparency, authenticity and open honesty from every company in which they do transactions. As a result, managed perception is now a thing of the past. Customers can see that brands are simply trying to get people to think or feel a certain way and will move toward brands that are real than those who are simply corporate by design. As a result, you should be figuring out what matters to people and how you fit contextually into that conversation. You should also be able to develop points of view in real time based on what is happening in the world. If you plan everything, what if the world drastically changes? Also you don’t have to be everything for everyone. If your brand doesn’t matter to people around cultural events, then you shouldn’t be trying to insert yourself into those scenarios. Brands that did this the past three years have been ridiculed due to the fact they were “trying too hard” to be something for everyone. You don’t need to do any of that anymore. Just be you, and people will love you as a result.

3. Behavioral Experience Instead Of Channel TacticsBrands still do marketing in silos and this is detrimental to how humans behave. Humans use a variety of different methodologies to find out information. If you are going to invest in a better way to measure effectiveness in the next year or two, align your marketing around the design experience of humans, not channels. This means you no longer should be doing digital or social marketing, but marketing where digital, social, email and mobile help people with decisions based on what they are doing at a point in time. This “point in time” scenario is more relevant to how people behave and marketers and brands must adjust to this fact. The most agile brands that are aligned around how people behave will perform the best over time because they can see where they need to invest or divest based on how their customers really behave. Right now, most brands are just piling cash into areas because they are bright shiny objects. Such thinking will bankrupt them in the short run and may not reach people in ways in which they truly interact. People aren’t shaped around marketing channels but around the world at large. Each person’s world is different from another person’s but we still share experiences as social animals. Brands that realize this will perform better because they will align around the complexity of what motivates people rather than how people are motivated by tactics.

Learn how to keep your brand relevant in the 21st Century in my new book Disruptive Marketing.

Don’t let the future leave you behind. Join us in Hollywood, California for Brand Leadership in the Age of Disruption, our 5th annual competitive-learning event designed around brand strategy.

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