Brands are the sum total of varied interactions and experiences accrued over time. We believe that well-managed brands have the ability to drive incremental business growth. There-in lies an inextricable link between brand, business and marketing, so we have done away with puff terms like ‘brand equity’ and ‘brand love’ that cloud the clarity of purpose; to drive incremental growth through a well-managed brand. However, brands are built for and by those who consume and interact with them, so although our definition of brands and their value stays fixed, the Zeitgeist will determine the methods and techniques that generate leads and ultimately translate to increased revenue. With our fingers on this pulse we have through research and experience come to our organisation’s raison d’être based on these beliefs.
At Bamboo we grow brands through incremental innovation, substantial innovation or transformative innovation. This is why…
In the web 2.0 hyper-connected world consumers are the new brand custodians…
Social media has ushered in an era of vocal consumers who will be your greatest advocates and simultaneously your harshest critics. From Time magazine naming ‘you’ the person of the year, to Obama’s re-election, to the Kony protest, and Gangam Style becoming the world’s number one song, the power of consumers is irrefutable. According to many savvy marketers and business leaders have acknowledged this, and have been rewarded handsomely for it. ‘s move to Content 2020 (a strategy to achieve double digit volume growth through storytelling), is a bold move in a direction that empowers consumers to follow and share stories centered around a big brand idea. In reality, the majority of businesses and marketers have latched onto buzz keywords like ‘digital’, ‘social media’ and ‘viral’, with little understanding of the seismic shift in paradigm and its underlying causes. Hence in practice it ends up being a billboard featuring a icon or a catchy handle, or a TV advert uploaded to YouTube, or truckloads of money spent on paid online advertising with the hopes that they’ll become ‘viral’. In truth, if one spends time uncovering the reasons and patterns that underlie 2.0 consumer behaviour we can harness the potential of these empowered and connected consumers. At Bamboo, we have worked tirelessly to understand this not only by studying these patterns, but immersing ourselves in them as well. We have come up with a few key concepts to understand and live by:
“They know more than you think.”
This is not known as the information age for nothing. Trillions of bytes move around the world daily. One of the most important things to realize about this is that information does not follow the linear institutionalised flow of information. “MIT computer programming” and you will find free lectures from the world’s foremost technological university. Perhaps you could “Strategic Marketing pdf”. The point is people are learning what they want, where they want, when they want, with man’s insatiable appetite for knowledge, what makes you think he won’t?
So remember that people know about brands, marketing, business, ethics, etc., we are not magicians, the public wants to be fooled, and they choose when to be. So never make the mistake of underestimating the intelligence of your audience.
“Don’t tell them to feel something, make them feel something.”
What do all of these have in common?
They all stir emotion. These images are some of the world’s most viral. How come? Well it’s simple. Some behavioural studies have shown as much as 90 percent of our decisions are made emotionally. This is very important. We act based on what we feel. Which makes complete sense; cute kittens, fails and porn, all share a similar characteristic – they illicit a physiological response, a “ncaww”, or laughter or sexual arousal, so the acid test for virality or success can no longer be what we want to say and how we want to say it without considering how the audience will feel when they see it. We chase “aha” moments, tears, laughter, awe, fear, etc., because this is what sticks and what ultimately influences decisions.
“Innovation is viral.”
The new world is hungry. Reddit, has proven that the world has an insatiable appetite for the new and novel. Visit 9gag.com which has become one of the most popular sites on the internet – it’s a home for user-generated content. What makes it different is that innovation is at its heart. Innovative toys, to costumes, perspectives and humour, it is simply a content feast! And this content is shared worldwide by millions. Innovations are viral. On the right is an example of this; one of the hundreds of thousands of “Harlem Shake” versions (Youtube “Harlem Shake” and see what the fuss is about if you don’t know already. It’s even funnier when you see the original “Do the Harlem Shake” to give you context of how it all started).
Memes are a biological unit of cultural information transferred, resulting in shared behaviour. The phenomenon of Harlem Shake proves that we live in an age of consumer innovation, and consumer driven virality.
A study on global leaders by IBM shows trends in outperforming organisations. Their study indicates that to drive outperformance, CEO’s are doing the following: [threecol_two_first]
Empowering employees through values.
For CEOs, organisational openness offers tremendous upside potential – empowered employees, free-flowing ideas, more creativity and innovation, happier customers, better results. But openness also comes with more risk. As rigid controls loosen, organisations need a strong sense of purpose and shared beliefs to guide decision making. Teams will need processes and tools that inspire collaboration on a massive scale. Perhaps most important, organisations must help employees develop traits to excel in this type of environment.
Engaging customers as individuals.
The pursuit of customer knowledge is as old as business itself, but where and how those insights are found and used, are radically changing. To effectively engage an individual, consumer, client or citizen, organisations must weave together insights about the whole person – from sources they likely haven’t consulted in the past. They will need stronger analytics capabilities to uncover patterns and answer questions they never thought to ask. Client-facing staff and channels must be equipped to act on those insights. And since customers are increasingly mobile, organisations must be active there too, ready to engage in the context of the moment.
Amplifying innovation with partnerships.
Rising complexity and escalating competition have made partnering a core innovation strategy for many organisations. But to enable sustained, fruitful innovation partnerships, organisations will need deeper, more integrated relationships. Partnering organisations will have to share collaborative environments, share data – and share control. And even when the organisation is performing well, CEOs must occasionally break from the status quo and introduce new external catalysts, unexpected partners and some intentionally disruptive thinking.
Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, Genzyme, General Electric and Intel are examples of how one can attain market leadership through open innovation strategies. They tapped into knowledge that resided outside their own structures and thus out manoeuvred and outperformed their competitors with in-house approaches to innovation.
“This is some of what global leaders have to say about how to lead in this interconnected world:”
“This is now a continuous feed-back kind of world, and we need the organisational nimbleness to respond.”
“We are focused on empowering employees to be more creative and active in creating the company’s future. We need to mobilise our collective brain power for innovation.”
“Of course we need better information and insight, but what we need most is the capability to act on it.”
“Each customer has distinctive traits we need to understand. To manage this complexity, we must be a digital cheetah.”
“Social Networking has and will continue to significantly change how we do business. The way we collaborate with our customers will be transformed.”
“We recognise that innovation is also happening outside of our organisation, and we need to align with the right partners and thought leaders.”
“We are not as good at innovation as efficiency. The HR function should help to build an innovative culture, create forums, develop leaders and find ways to measure and reward innovation.”
“The HR function should be taking a leadership role in identifying tools for collaboration. It should also set up and facilitate ‘communities of practice”.
Traditional agency stuctures aren’t built for the 3.0 world
When you look at this picture, you realise how traditional agency structures are not built to respond to this new 3.0 world. This is why Bamboo goes a step further by having at its heart a social network of consumer innovators who feed us information, help us solve problems and push us to create better work. To take it a step further; our network is also our pool of skills, information and insight. This gives us the edge.
So while the core agency remains small, the organisation could rival the biggest in size and talent. We also create groups within the network that clients can be anonymously a part of, not only watch their ideas come to life, but also to contribute to the group their own valuable insights, knowledge and expertise. Delivering true open innovation for incremental growth.