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
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.
1 Benj Edwards, “The birth of the iPod,” Macworld (23
This article was first published in the BrandLaureate
Business World Review (21 April 2014).
© 2014 The BrandLaureate. All rights reserved.