Digital innovation in a world of abundant content

There is an obscene amount of content out there, and negotiating your brand through a sea of abundance is a tough task for marketers.

Mark Adams, a brand expert who has worked with A-list celebrities and CEOs of global brands, points out there that far more content exists than anyone, anywhere could ever get to – and that’s just the free content on social media platforms. 

Then there is the premium content, delivered by the likes of Netflix and Spotify, which is made more attractive by being advert-free. “The consumer has voted with their wallet,” he says, noting the rise in subscription services that shut out advertising. 

“The biggest digital transformation trend of the last 12 months, the next 12 months, and every single month for the next ten years is to a place where more and more of the ecosystem, the internet, is not ad-friendly at all,” Mark says.  

So, if advertising doesn’t unlock the door into the walled garden of content, then what does? Mark says as a marketer you have three jobs:  

Manage the present

Find a growing network of people who are united over a shared love of something and contribute to that.

Read about networks, niches and the age of empathy

Select from the past

Don’t rest on past success, but don’t throw it all out either – take from the past what has worked and capitalise on that.

Learn how to stay true, find a niche, make a contribution

Claim the future

Turn the people who buy your product or service from consumers of the brand to citizens of the brand.

Claim the future, learn from Apple

When it comes to the job of claiming the future for a brand, Apple, as you might expect, has it nailed. It didn’t endlessly iterate on the iPod. Instead it went back into the lab and emerged with the iPhone. Ditto the MacBook Pro – the company has come back with a new virtual reality headset, the recently announced Vision. 

“My point is, you can have efficient or sustainable innovation, which is basically finding smart new gimmicks and tricks and gadgets that push the same product. Or you can go away and deeply consider that product itself,” Mark says.   

“You launch other things that as a brand are in your wheelhouse, that are adjacencies. That’s a very different skillset, that’s not marketing. That’s venture building. And the truth is that every business in the world right now needs to be doing both.” 

Furthermore, you might want to let the most loyal consumers of your brand - what Mark describes as “citizens of the brand” - into being co-creators in some way. “They would love to be part of the R&D process, they will talk about it every day if you give them the materials to do so, and they will do it for free,” he says. 

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