The ways in which brands communicate changed. Marketing changed; branding changed; strategic partners and their roles have changed. The concept of what a brand is has changed. Purchase and consumption habits have also changed. The only thing that has not changed is the need to sell, yet, what did change, are the forms of selling.
These certainties are not new. However, these changes bring about fear. Fear of change; fear of doing more than just mere talking; fear of moving from telling a story to doing upon a story; fear of making people experience what brands claim to be. To understand that digital marketing, a commercial, the packaging, an experience, and PR are not separate things but a comprehensive whole and that they may not exist without each other. That a “global” agency may not solve everything; that there are a lot of people that call themselves specialists and that the challenge is to create dream teams for brands, formed by external partners working with each other and with internal multidisciplinary teams.
Today we should understand that a post is often transformed into a spam that drives us away, that organic creativity are memes made by “ordinary” people. That brilliant ideas, such as Oliverio Toscani’s, of which the whole world used to talk about, today would be memes like many of those that we receive. That product companies will have to rethink the way they offer their services so that they are not conditioned by other service companies, and leverage this as a great business and engagement opportunity, even if today that seems to be a problem. That retail will be a pillar of the experience, but value added retail. Everything that lacks value will be replaced by an app (daily purchases in many countries are already being replaced by apps).
That those who generate content, bloggers, influencers, “specialists,” are those who generate products. Cured products, products that are looked for, already valued by their followers; not the other way around, where product brands try to generate relevant content or “stick” to them. And we should continue thinking in the media-advertiser concept. We now have the opportunity and challenge to create our own media to “step on” relevant features for the brand, but not through branding, but producing them, generating content, learning, generating benchmark and observing and developing contact moments. Moments when the brand should be relevant and useful for persons.
Understanding that an identity is not a logo, a typography, a color, but a language. That language through which we can communicate with everyone. That language entails elasticity, personalization, and customization. How this could be done without “exploiting” the brand. Being dynamic and personal, being authentic, and unique, like a Woody Allen movie. How to achieve that without my logo and product a person Identify my brand. That brand that will surely be yours.
That being useful is the basis to connect; interrupting was the previous form. Today the idea is to accompany, to be close, to serve a purpose, to bring value beyond how functional or good the product or service may be.
Changes go on, and they are plenty. Performance versus brand should not be a fight, and this may only be attained if a discursive, identifier, communicational and executional ecosystem is created, a control panel that can convert a new marketing department (I’m not sure whether it should be called that way since it would be larger and more independent than what we currently know) into a strategy, creativity, design, IT and innovation pole. Yet, everything should work closely together as if they were “external specialists” to make the most out of it.
Today we can talk in a segmented way in real time. We know where to find people. Let’s not persecute them; let’s accompany them. Purposes add up, but they are simple commodities. Purpose is an obligation, not a favor.
Opportunities exist, the path to them exists too. We only need to establish new work structures, from inside the companies and strategic partners, and create new functions from the inside and from the outside.
Everything has changed and will continue changing. CMOs have an opportunity, together with all of us involved in the world of branding, ideas, and innovation. We have to think of tomorrow, which has already become today.
Ricardo Drab, Creative leader y founder of Drab™ Brand Agency, a business with more than 20 years of experience, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with offices in Mexico City and Los Angeles, California, developing identity projects at a local and regional level for brands like: Fox, Unilever, Coca- Cola, Toyota, Disney, Powerade, Fuzetea, Cablevisión, Telecom, Sony, Noblex, Bimbo, among others. Creator of tools related to the innovation of the communication and brand identity, and its relationship with people.