What a brand enables consumers to do has become more important than what it actually does in the post-recession world, according to marketing guru Peter Fisk in his keynote speech at UTalkMarketing’s inaugural Marketing Innovation Expo.
Fisk, the author of Creative Genuis, told a packed audience that the turbulence of the economic meltdown has created a new, exciting world with new consumer attitudes and behaviours, and significant challenges and opportunities for brands and products that understand the need to think in new and different ways.
“What will it take to drive future growth, to engage people, to deliver real innovation? Being brave, bold and brilliant,” he said, before pointing to pop phenomenon Lady Gaga as the “epitome of the ideas world in which we live. “She provokes, she makes people think.
The changing nature of her – a different costume for every act that is never worn again – is a message for us about the way we present our brands. It is no longer about the quality of our products, the size of our factories but about the quality of the ideas you deliver.”
He also pointed out that the mark of a good brand is one that gets people talking. “Lady Gaga, do you love her or hate her? A great brand polarises people,” he said.
Fisk also outlined the shift from big brands and companies to demand for smaller, niche products, the shift of power from businesses to consumers and from placing importance on the volume sales to value.
“We are still focused on market share, which is a silly measure and only really valuable when we made things ourselves and we needed economies of scale. Volume is no longer valid, now it is about the value of that special product developed for a niche market.”
According to Fisk, Nike is a leading example of an “enabling” brand because it is no longer just about clothing manufacturing but through its core brand, its sport technology brand Nike+ and running social network Nike Grid it enables people to think they can do more.
“It enables you to run faster; to play tennis better. What a brand enables you to do it is more important than what it does. That is the market that it actually operates in.”
Fisk also outlined the innovation habits that he believes marketers can learn from Leonardo Da Vinci, which he explained in his recent interview with UTalkMarketing.
“Redefining your business, being a visionary, being a border crosser and a game changer will become more important to how we drive innovation. It is ideas that should be at the heart of our brands.
“It’s about enabling, not products, redefining the contest rather than pricing, it’s not about promotion but the holistic way we engage the consumers – the pull rather than the push.
"It is about place and the partners that we develop and the communities that we choose to be part of.”
Fisk outlined some key dates in the history of innovation by naming the creation of some key brands in the technology sector - including the founding of Hewlett Packard in 1929, IBM in 1965 and MTV in 1981.
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