This Week in Business and Brands: Paring Down to Beef Up, Strategy From a Selfie, and More

couple taking selfie while laying on grass

Here’s a modern chicken-and-egg quandary for you: with all the daily breakthroughs in science and technology, are we the ones driving that innovation or merely adapting to it? No matter which way you slice it, there’s certainly no stopping the relentless change in our modern world – but here at Vivaldi, we’re always excited about what that holds in store for businesses and brands of all kinds. This week alone was rife with evidence of that evolution across all industries, so there’s plenty to cover – let’s dig in!

The Young and the Tech-less

When it comes to the demographics behind that demand for the latest and greatest in tech innovation, there’s no doubt about it: millennials are still the most powerful players in the room. As a result, marketers themselves are now adapting to their own evolution – in an age where a blog post baits better than traditional ads, coming up with truly new tactics is more important (and difficult) than ever. And that’s not only the case for retailers – even nonprofits like the Red Cross are shifting their attention away from older donors, finding success in campaigns that capitalize on the digital and the viral. Evidently, the clout of that young, connected consumer reigns supreme across all cultures – even in China, marketers find themselves catering to tech-heads instead of homeowners, as showing off now trumps settling down. What other new tricks have old engagement dogs yet to learn?

Strategizing Food for Thought

According to some, there’s only one new tactic left for real innovation in brand value: offering a truly unique customer experience, “speed to market” be damned. But while that might get your foot in the door, how can you then keep a finger on the true pulse of your consumers? ”Start with their selfies,” suggests HBR, as anecdotal, actual-use cases can often provide more insight than big-data algorithms and surveys. That said, there’s still plenty to be gleaned from mass-market trends, which apparently gave the fast-food industry something to chew on: as healthy-minded diners continue to shun sweets and salt, purveyors like McDonald’s are now paring down their portions in the hope of beefing up their business.

Change Within = Success Without

Here at Vivaldi, we’re certainly all for putting the customer first. But sometimes it’s easy for brands to forget that the same innovation applied to consumer-facing projects can hold as much (or even more) value when turned back upon their own internal business needs. Just ask the CDO-cum-CMO whose revamped digital strategy created a new company culture for the benefit of the entire firm. Or take a tip from our good friend and Vivaldi-alum Denise Lee Yohn, whose Seven Habits of Highly Engaged Organizations will surely help cut the fat for a meatier Monday meeting. And it definitely can’t hurt to learn from the CEO that oversees 160 ad/marketing services with 190,000 employees and still manages to remain undisrupted.

There’s no denying the real risk that accompanies real innovation. But that can actually be an encouraging factor, since mistakes only make for bigger and better breakthroughs in the future. On the other hand, there’s value in entertaining doubt as well, according to the professor playing devil’s advocate about the (un)importance of brands in the digital world. And she’s not the only one – as native advertising loses its luster, others are also wondering: could the real future of branding be…debranding entirely? Only time will tell exactly how much less is truly more…

Innovation Across the Nation

That’s all for this week! We hope the weekend leaves you ready to innovate again come Monday, wherever you are – though maybe it’s time your firm moves to…Massachusetts?

Massachusetts, Fall, Autumn, Colors, Sky, Clouds, Road