So many brands that were once seen as unstoppable have now disappeared (Blockbuster, Kodak, Borders, to name a few). But what happened? Although individual details diverge, it is arguable that these brands failed to adapt to the changing environment and stopped connecting and providing value to their customers. Staying alive in the modern marketplace requires social connectivity, constant change and adaptation to current trends. If we want our brands to be successful over time, we must truly innovate or die.
Let’s backtrack for a moment and discuss what successful marketing really is. Ideally, marketing should identify and meet human and social needs profitably and create value for consumers. Advancements in technology make it so much easier to connect with clients and engage in conversations in which they may help us cocreate developments. We must put in the effort to engage and truly listen. Ultimately, the goal is to create value for both consumers and the brand, and this cannot be done if we don’t listen and react to demands appropriately. The internet has blurred the lines between usability and insanity: on one hand it helps us communicate and innovate but on the other, the sheer amount of noise can make it difficult to identify what the right course of action should be. It is our role as marketing professionals to tune in and to identify what to listen to and how to proceed. However, we can’t do it alone.
We live in a society in which competition is everywhere. Individual merits and accomplishments are the ultimate goal. Schools and businesses are in the constant lookout for these extremely talented individuals who will help bring in the results and prestige that their organization craves. Nevertheless, it has been studied that this individualistic view of success may be holding us back and that if we truly wish to go far, we must go together. According to Margaret Heffernan, successful groups have a high degree of social connectivity within them. We must extrapolate this idea and apply it to our professional teams. If we want to continue to be successful, innovate and extend the product lifecycle we must be connected to our teams and clients.
According to Phillip Kotler, a marketing strategy should create, communicate and deliver value to a target market. Creating value is all about product management and making whatever we are selling as strong as it can be. In the past, companies used to have top secret innovation departments to avoid competitors from stealing ideas. However, more recently companies have started to appreciate the power of collaboration and corporations like Procter and Gamble have hired independent scientists to aid in the development of their products. Most recently, they collaborated with an Italian scientist to print messages on their Pringle potato chips. Communication in marketing, on the other hand, is also known as branding and brand management. In the past, the brand was the packaging, logo or name of the product. Now, branding is a promise that encompasses emotion, personality and psychology. Strong brands require the collaboration of the team to ensure the resiliency of the message and to appropriately integrate messages across all platforms (Integrated Marketing Communications). Lastly, delivering value is called customer management. In order to best go about this, marketers should collect a database of customers and work at connecting with them either online or in person. The importance of social connectivity is apparent once again as these two-way conversations between the businesses and clients will ultimately make or break brand survival over time.
Innovation is key when ensuring brand survival, yet social connectivity is even more important. It is time to surrender to our egos and desires of individual success and realize that we cannot attain our goals if we go at it alone. Let’s work at building solid relationships, both within our teams and with our clients and stakeholders. Just look at the success of recent collaborations: Travis Scott and McDonalds, Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin’ Donuts, J Balvin and Nike. These brands successfully listened to the preferences of their consumers, connected to key celebrities and reaped all the benefits. Connection breeds collaboration and this is a requirement if we wish to stay alive in the modern marketplace.