“Change is the only Constant”
Anyone aware of what the business world has been like over the past two decades (and who reading this hasn’t!) will have a hard time arguing against this. No question we’ve seen some amazing, inspiring changes over the past few years!
It also can be said we live in a world where are most fundamental assumptions of what we consider to be right and true are called into question everyday. Supposedly rock solid institutions have folded. And what’s become of the American dream of prosperity for millions of people during the latest economic downturn? . . .
So change can be encouraging. Or perplexing. Probably a little bit of both.
You Must Choose Adapt
For brands, change has seemingly turned conventional marketing wisdom on it’s side. Social media gurus are shouting for brands to abandon the old way of doing things and “Join the conversation”. Yet the traditional approaches to brand building and campaign development are alive and well⎯seen as easy to embrace because they are “proven” or because senior management is comfortable justifying success through the familiar metrics of GRPs, reach and awareness etc.
I believe that the worldviews of social media led marketing and traditional media led marketing are not mutually exclusive. Rather, traditional communication development approaches need to be brought into the 21st century, embracing the engagement tools, technology, mindset and behavioral codes of social media, while reviving the purpose-driven passion and focus that have always allowed great brands to do great things.
Let Our Purpose be Our Guide
Mark Earls spoke about purpose-driven brands being rooted in a kind of idealism–a view of what the world should be like. A company has a collective view on what sort of world they want to create through their business, and trying to create that world is part of how they go about developing, creating, producing, marketing, selling, managing relations etc.
Having that kind of focus should keep an organization from falling for the hype of shiny new tools, yet that same pupose-driven focus should also keep an organization from clinging to old approaches. Having a clear sense of purpose will allow us to better see how we can use the most appropriate social media tools to drive our business. It can also help us to understand whether traditional advertising mediums have lost their effectiveness. A clear sense of purpose may even help us envision new uses for traditional mediums such as TV, billboards, bus shelters. At a minimum, it should force us to question what sometimes passes for “tried and true”.
With purpose comes better collective clarity of thinking. And with that, smart, innovative marketing decisions can follow.