Helping brands move quickly and efficiently

June 26, 2014
Dominic Twyford
Country Director,
based in Landor Kuala Lumpur

The world is moving faster; consumers have less time and more choice. Consequently, brands and their custodians are under more pressure to deliver quick results. In short, marketing departments are difficult places in which to work.

There is external pressure and internal pressure. From the outside, brand loyalty is becoming harder to earn, the market is becoming more dynamic, competition is increasing, and there are a myriad of communications channels to understand. Internally, CEOs are demanding to see the effectiveness of marketing and brand building—accountability is becoming key. Marketers need to generate more revenue in less time. Their challenge is to move with speed and certainty, and there is an obvious tension here—be quick, but get it right.

Moving quickly and efficiently

In our brand-laden world a consumer sees choice, but in contrast, brands see competition. One thing unites both groups—they both see clutter! Cutting through the clutter with relevant, fresh product and brand ideas is increasingly difficult. Even when a great idea is identified, you can be sure that your competitor isn’t far behind you with its own version.

Being first to market has advantages and disadvantages. Being first and getting it right guarantees kudos and provides opportunity to capture market share. Being first and getting it wrong means your competition benefits from watching and learning from your mistakes. There really is a fine line between cutting edge and bleeding edge.

Brands need a mixture of speed and efficiency, and creative agencies need to start facilitating this requirement. Traditionally, the creative process has been linear. Projects are handed over from department to department—insights, strategy, design, and implementation—like a baton in a relay race; the risk is that ideas become disconnected in the same way that a baton can be dropped mid-race.

The linear approach does little to promote speed and efficiency. First of all, it takes time. Clients must wait patiently to see ideas come to life. The second issue is efficiency—there is a lack of collaboration when teams work in isolation.

The power of prototyping

Game changing ideas come from prototyping. Think about how the iPod came to be. Apple identified an insight: The interfaces of the personal music players on the market were inconvenient and impersonal. This insight provided a single focus for the company. Steve Jobs established a working team consisting of hardware engineers, designers, marketers, and software developers to solve the problem so that Apple could go to market with a superior product.

Within six weeks, the team had developed three prototyped ideas and brought them to life in model form. One route was favored and further developed, and the rest, as they say, is history.1 Apple redefined not just personal music players, but also how consumers interact with technology. The iPod set the tone within Apple for future game-changing products.

A market problem quickly became an Apple opportunity. The iPod was developed from an identified market need; the prototyping process provided the means to quickly test hypotheses, disprove them if need be, and refine thinking so that Apple could draw conclusions based on something that could be experienced.

A new approach to brand building

Given the market demand for speed and certainty, lessons can be learned from Apple’s experience, especially in Asia where brands have big plans that need executing quickly.

Taking our lead from the world of technology, Landor has developed a new prototyping approach to brand building. The focus is on creating business and brand tangibility earlier, and establishing confidence that is based on market realities. Cross-functional Landor teams of strategists and creatives collaborate from the get-go, ensuring thatour strategy is creative and our creative is strategic. The mix of skillsets means that silos of thinking are avoided and the increasingly irrelevant linear process is no more.

From a client’s perspective, there are a number of practical benefits to prototyping. A combination of words, images, visuals, and mock-ups come together quickly, giving client teams something palpable to react to. Prototyping removes the need to fill in the blanks or make a leap of faith; instead, client teams can feel and experience what is possible. This in turn breeds confidence and galvanizes internal teams around a united vision.

Increasing speed and improving the way our clients engage with our ideas ensures that conversations get very real, very quickly—which ultimately means that clients are finally in position to make decisions faster and with increased confidence. 

 

Read more:

  

1 Benj Edwards, “The birth of the iPod,” Macworld (23 October 2011), macworld.com/article/1163181/the_birth_of_the_ipod.html.

 

This article was first published in the BrandLaureate Business World Review (21 April 2014).
thebrandlaureate.com

 

© 2014 The BrandLaureate. All rights reserved.

 

 



Industries: Technology
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