Transformation. It’s a dynamic word. But what does it mean? Maybe it’s best to start with what it’s not: static, unyielding, unresponsive, unwilling. When the poles are presented in such stark contrast, few would admit they’re leaning “right,” per se—especially when it comes to business and communication.
In late March, our media director, Karry Oleszkiewicz, and I had the opportunity to attend the 4A’s annual convention in Miami, Fla. My interest in attending was significantly piqued after we learned of the theme. You guessed it: “Transformation.”
Almost ten years ago, we trademarked the tagline “Transform your brand®. Grow your business.” for re:group. At first, I smiled to myself—we were ahead of our time! After all, our team was part of creating the first automotive OEM consumer website in the early 1990s, and we have been mapping the customer journey and focusing on each customer touch point since the 1980s! Then I started thinking about the world we lived in when we declared such a mission for our clients. We knew change was going to be nonstop for our industry, but I don’t think that anyone anticipated the speed, scale and impact of that change.
Here are some amazing statistics from 4A’s presenters on how technology has revolutionized business communication:
- Stevie Dove of SapientNitro shared some current stats: There are now 3B active social media users, and 2.0B are accessing social on mobile. Advertisers are taking notice with $23.68B invested in social network ad spending in 2015.
- Social media is changing the way we shop: for example, Nordstrom has activated “Buyable Pins” on Pinterest. But the brand didn’t stop there—it analyzes product engagement on Pinterest and extends that into the in-store shopping experience by tagging top products with “popular on Pinterest” signage.
- Media buying has changed dramatically in many ways, including how we are able to target our audiences, speak to them one-on-one, and the complexities of doing so. Panel discussions were dedicated to the challenges of digital advertising viewability, ad fraud and transparency, as well as how mobile devices have evolved from an accessory to becoming mobile-first for both users and advertisers
And that’s the beauty of pledging to transform. When we trademarked our tagline, we didn’t know what was to come, but we were committed to championing change over time. This was a dual-declaration because, when it comes to business, the same technological transformation that is impacting us is absolutely affecting our clients as well.
But no matter the date or the technological advances, organizational and communication evolution needs to occur with respect to the fundamental principle of business: making sure that your brand is relevant to the various target audiences that you wish to serve. Defining your brand and presenting it in a relevant and contextual way has never been more important. I think Stevie Dove described it well when she said, “Brands succeed when they generate cultural relevance. Social media has given rise to a culture of participation and influencers have become an important part of the story.”
While some of that definition comes from within an organization, increasingly, brands must constantly tune into who their clients and customers think they are as well. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the brand and the customer: the brand has a responsibility to provide a product or service to the customer and the customers have more say about whether the product or service fits their life. They can become your biggest advocates or biggest detractors. If you aren’t engaged in that conversation, you put your business at risk.
Because the speed of change is becoming faster and faster, transformation is no longer an option. It’s a commitment—one that re:group will continue to live and coach every day.
How is your organization evolving? How have your clients or customers been a part of that change? I’d love to hear in the Comments section below.