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Brand Marketing In The Age Of Abundance


Brand Marketing In The Age Of Abundance

In their sprint to force demand for their products, conventional marketers seem to forget one thing about this new reality: information is abundant. Even physical goods and intellectual property are free. Paul Mason, journalist for the Guardian, explains it this way:

“We’re surrounded not just by intelligent machines but by a new layer of reality centered on information. Consider an airliner: a computer flies it; it has been designed, stress-tested and “virtually manufactured” millions of times; it is ring back real-time information to its manufacturers. On board are people squinting at screens connected, in some lucky countries, to the Internet. Seen from the ground it is the same white metal bird as in the James Bond era. But it is now both an intelligent machine and a node on a network. It has information content and is adding “information value” as well as physical value to the world. On a packed business flight, when every- one’s peering at Excel or PowerPoint, the passenger cabin is best understood as an information factory. But what is all this information worth? You won’t find an answer in the accounts: intellectual property is valued in modern accounting standards by guesswork. A study for the SAS Institute in 2013 found that, in order to put a value on data, neither the cost of gathering it, nor the market value or the future income from it could be adequately calculated. Only through a form of accounting that included non-economic benefits, and risks, could companies actually explain to their shareholders what their data was really worth. Something is broken in the logic we use to value the most important thing in the modern world.”

In other words, since the advent of the web in the early 1990s, and the social web in the early 2000s, as well as the Internet of Things, which will arrive in the next ten to fifteen years, economics has been centered on a condition of scarcity. Yet the most dynamic force facing the modern world is an abundance of information and solutions. This is a curse to brands that think they have the only product worthy of a customer’s attention. And it’s a curse to brands that still believe they need only a handful of channels to promote their products, solutions, and messages.

In 1960, there were only five marketing channels, but as of today, there are more than seventy. If we apply Moore’s Law to marketing channels, this number will double or triple every two years.

The Impact Of Loss Of Control Over Marketing Channels

The other underlying issue—the bigger one, in fact—is that corporations are not structured to endure these ongoing changes, especially in marketing. Brands have little control over these marketing channels because users will interact with one another before they will interact with a company. The corporation along with the conventional marketing mindset is designed to avoid radical shifts and to incrementally deal with these scenarios. Their DNA is not built on a double helix structure that contains the elements of transformation and reimagination found in startups.

As a result, the majority of corporations miss out on the opportunities that exist in the creative economy. They wouldn’t even know how to program a music channel for their brand on Spotify, or how to engage in any cultural marketing because—to conventional thinkers—activities like this don’t drive revenue.

Corporations Are Risk Averse. This Is A Disadvantage In The Creative Economy.

If corporate brands were the only players in our global economy, I would tell them not to sweat it. But the economy isn’t made up solely of multinational corporations. Small and startup businesses, which drive the most economic growth, are ever more capable of taking advantage of the creative economy. Their DNA isn’t wired like a large company’s. They may have issues of their own—scarcity of financial resources, for example—but that can be an advantage in a world filled with an increasing number of “freemium” growth empowerment options, software to scale, and attention-grabbing nurture streams.

We know that the brands of the future will look a lot different from the brands of today. However, many brands are taking a long time to figure out exactly what they will look like. And all the while, the clocks are ticking and the business models are being burned to the ground. We know that over the next twenty years, machine intelligence will play a much larger role in value creation. Mobile devices and the Internet of Things will change how we engage with others. The question facing you is simple, will your brand exist in this future?

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

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