The Anti-Mad Men Era :: Less Advertising, MORE HEART.
Back in the day, brands put out a Request for Proposal and agencies did battle for the work. Then the companies entered a "dating" relationship or a "marriage" with them and knit their fortunes together for months or years at a time, each hoping the other would fulfill the need of propelling the message and the product forward into the stratosphere.
As social media gained speed in the early 2000s, it became clear that the audience wanted to hear it from their neighbors, their peers, or joe-shmoe on some social site posting an unbiased review, with no vested interest except sharing the brutal truth.
Blink! 2015. Opening..... Pandora's box of disruption. Many businesses and individuals aren't sure what to do with the level of interruption happening, and growing. Most definitely don't know how to control it or manage it.
We still need agencies, beautiful identities, and provocative writing + strong campaigns. But they aren't the beginning point anymore. They are the medium of communication the a company who is genuinely committed to change should utilize and maximize AFTER they have dealt with what's going on in their own backyard. The loudest voice, boldest creative choice, and brightest colors no longer WIN. It's clear that most of the audience really wants to connect with how the product is made, and the community of people who buy it. They want to feel the global presence of a brand and "connect" in an authentic and honest way.
Wait! No more beer ads with boobs? Okay, no problem - grab that amazing agency and create a "provocative" ad with community and heart, and attach a campaign to it. Make sure it's got a long tail. Be certain it's beautiful and will win creative awards.
Um...... NOPE. WRONG.
The Immediate Future:
You can't "slap an ad on it" and create community. Businesses must start at the top internally, and authentically live the brand on a daily basis. Leaders have to choose change and personally share this with their teams - let it spread like wildfire through the heart and culture of the company.
Then, they can go to the marketplace. With soul.
Why? Learning structured disruption is the blueprint for long term transition. Culture shift. Sustainability. Once you've done it and done it well, you'll always be able to do it again. Effectively. If brands don't adjust their internal view and connect, they are likely to see their businesses get vaporized. Brands need to lead with a clear, focused, NEW message that resounds with the audience and will initiate marketplace attraction that LASTS.
What have we learned?
Take AirBNB. Forbes said this company owns "the unstoppable rise of the share economy". And they're right. They began with mission-driven change and they back it with great conversational, community driven media.
Communication isn't about persuasion, sexual exploitation, or even bald humor anymore. It's about feeling as if you could be friends with that CEO, and you know how they operate in their daily business. It's transparent. It's feeling confident that you're part of a movement and a shift. It's seeing people want to be around each other, to share stories and connection.
It's a wildly different brand experience.
Actually, it's vastly different road altogether, because as the strongest brands now know, it centers around a comeback story, an interruption, or a soaring start up, and more than anything, a HUMAN experience.
Keep the suit. Change the hair. Ditch the day-drinking and chain smoking. Gather the troops. Turn up the music.
It's time to BEGIN.