Interesting assessment for all designers and managers out there. Makes us think twice before assigning a specific color to our brand.
"Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: 1- It's completely impossible. 2- It's possible, but it's not worth doing. 3- I said it was a good idea all along." - Arthur C. Clarke
Our history has been significantly marked by the revolutions that have taken place in it. These are events that transcend in such a way, that diluting its effect could ever be achieved - at least for short periods of time. Whether political, ideological, technological or moral, revolutions stir the waters of a status quo that may seem to be comfortable for many, but also harmful and obsolete for many others.
A revolution is a part of society’s natural evolutionary process. It is a sharp manifestation of a radical change of thinking and acting in a collective entity, victim of its own methods and systems. Revolutions represent the excitement of a repressed dissent, but nonetheless always fed.
As culture changes, marketing and brands are not immune to these events. Consumers are increasingly rebelling against traditional brands, which they ignore with a more strident disdain in their primitive forms of communication and offerings.
Nowadays, in order to be successful, a brand must create its own revolution. It needs to alter consumers' view on the market, and therefore, the way they communicate. A brand must be self-critical in order to find a way to be truly transcendental and live up to it its expectations. It must establish trends, break paradigms and rediscover itself constantly if it wants to be at the head of the game.
The only way for brands to do this is by rebelling against old traditions and ways, and by questioning its practices and decisions. It means it has to be in a constant state of discomfort, and not establish roots with any method.
Here are some variables to consider when carrying out revolutionary ideas. This exercise is not intended to establish a "law" or final parameter. The reader is free to add, replace or correct any mentioned variable:
Brands must be willing to take calculated risks. Most of current strategies are based on previously known ideologies and roads already traveled. Revolutions demand certain risk though facing uncertainties and the capability to implement corrective actions immediately.
Fundamental practice of discovering new forms of communication and bonds with the consumer. The brand that does not experiment is headed for obsolescence, halting it from developing things beyond what its always done. Making it not able to embrace its possibilities, innovate and stand out in the marketplace.
Every brand effort should represent a true value to the consumer. People do not buy products if they do not perceive value from it. Whether its stems from the characteristics of the product itself, its communication strategy or promotional offer, every variable must be designed to generate a higher perceived value far above even the actual one.
A revolution is not synonymous of waste. Resources should be optimized and targeted towards the strategies that create more engagement and impact. Communication should be timely, accurate and relevant. Simplicity is certainly a an aspect to consider.
Brands must inspire love to the consumer in order to create a strong emotional and irreplaceable bond. A revolution doesn’t take place without a considerable number of followers convinced and in love with an idea.
Brands must become something unique and a symbol for the individual who uses it. People like to think they are one of a kind and products need to reaffirm this sentiment.
Try, and try, and try, and try…
Brands cannot only perform monologues during these times. Customers should be involved in every effort set forth by organizations. They need dialogue.
A revolutionary idea cannot progress without optimism. This is the main fuel and inspiration to take action and implement strategies. It's also the boost that keeps us standing and making things happen.
Don't being frightened!
Marketing as a recognized profession has a brief, yet significant history, stemming from a company's need to set itself apart in a crowded marketplace. Fascinated with the events that led up to what we know today, here's a post that I've been wanting to write ever since that Marketing 101 course in college...
In a lot of ways, Marketing is as old as civilization itself. From Ancient Greece to our modern days, culture has based its trading and selling upon communication in order to move products faster than the man next to him. I've always seen it as a concept much like Darwin's "survival of the fittest" - or what we will call in this case - "the act of persuasion." Man is undeniably always trying to outshine others, and when it comes to selling, the concept is not far from it.
Nevertheless, much of the philosophies we know today are rooted in techniques and developments from the Industrial Revolution. Mass production coupled with advancements in transportation and technology meant that businessmen needed a better strategy when it came to the movement of goods. With nations applying laws against monopoly, how exactly does one sell something when one's competitor is producing the exact same thing? Ahh, enter the marketer. This is when our profession is officially and truly born.
Corporations became aware of the need of induviduals that would study markets and consumers - it's behavior patters and steps to be ahead of the game. What started out as a resource that determined what an organization would produce, has transformed into a science that coordinates why, when and how much of a good will be manufactured and where it will be sold. Companies went from inward to outward thinking, and our contribution has never been as clear as it is today.
There have been major stages in the history of marketing, which are:
The Trade Era: Production consisted in handmade goods that were limited and generally traded through exploration.
The Production Orientation Era: Enter the industrial age. Since goods were scarce, businesses focused mainly in manufacturing. As long as someone was producing, someone else would want to buy it. This orientation rose to popularity due to shortages in the market, hence creating the foundation of Jean-Baptiste Say's famous remark: "Supply creates its own demand."
The Sales Orientation Era: After the Industrial Revolution, competition grew and focus turned to selling. Marketing, branding and sales became an important pillar as outputs surpassed demand, and companies competed for customers.
The Marketing Orientation Era: From the second half of the 20th century onward, the saturation of markets led companies to bestow upon marketers the opportunity to perform on a more strategic level. Through a profound knowledge on the customer, these professionals were involved in what the company would produce, its distribution channels and pricing strategy. Employees within an organization were also motivated to acquire marketing knowledge, which set the grounds to clients obtaining a general brand experience.
But wait, there's more... According to recent publications, two new eras have been added to the list:
The Relationship Marketing Era: The focus of companies shifts towards building customer loyalty and developing relationships with clients. Authors such as Don Peppers, Martha Rogers and Philip Kotler were instigators of the importance of creating bonds, considering that "the cost of attracting a new customer is estimated to be five times the cost of keeping a current customer happy." (Kotler, 1997)
The Social/Marketing Era: Concentrates on social interaction and a real-time connection with clients. Businesses are connected to current and potential customers 24/7 and engagement is a critical success factor.
Consider how much marketing has changed in the last century and will continue to shift as channels of communication, production levels and a society alter. As markets expand and new marketing platforms emerge, the science and practice of this profession is being transformed by the minute. What we consider today to be the fastest way to reach our customers might be obsolete tomorrow. Therein lies the beauty of this profession... change.
In light of our topic, here are the major developments that have influenced marketing, especially when it comes to communication mediums: