Last month, I had the honor of being named to Brand Innovators 40 under 40 (Midwest) alongside some fantastic digital "thought" and "do" leaders. As part of our selection, we were asked "to look ahead and identify top trends – things that will influence the market and impact the quest to connect to the ever-elusive consumer." I highly recommend taking a look at all the Brand Innovators' proposed trends as I found the insights illuminating in that they are at once unique yet thematically similar, even across the years that Brand Innovators has been tracking. For this particular post, however, I’ll be speaking only about my submission.
My Brand Innovators 40 under 40 trends:
I’m arguing that it will, it has to. The business/economic world is replete with examples of seemingly non-disruptable, deeply entrenched, and embattled with high fixed cost industries that were, of course, disrupted (music, print, phone, cable, taxi cabs readily come to mind); so why not the agency-advertiser model?
Consumer attention spans are fleeting (and getting flightier); advertisements are being ignored; CPG brand budgets - even the “big dogs” that big agencies typically anchor their contracts to - are tighter and being scrutinized for every penny (nevermind every dollar); retailers are prioritizing store brands and mimicking traditional brands’ go-to-market strategies; mobile, mobile, mobile…this is what is happening now. So while I’m not arguing for the outright dismantling of the traditional AOR model (yet), we need an evolution now (or an accelerated timeline at the very least) to meet the demands of a changed landscape for brand managers. I, for one, don’t want my brand(s) to fade away into the world of obsolescence.
Next: How to accelerate the timeline.
So, what else?
During my brief stint as an adjunct professor many years ago, I recall that half of my students had dreams of one day starting their own business. One of my favorite parts of the teaching night was when I presented a random idea and asked the students to put on the brainstorm lens - "what else could you do with this...". Most of the time we would end up in the realm of the zany. Sometimes, however, we would actually land on something achievable and plant the seed. This is an homage to ideas - zany or otherwise.