The immense cultural shift brands must confront

Posted by Chloe Della Costa on February 10th, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Culture, currency, human behavior, and marketing are all being rewritten, and only experimentation and innovation can keep brands afloat. In an insight presentation at the iMedia Brand Summit in Amelia Island, Florida, Leonard Brody, founder of GrowLab, charted a path for marketers through this intimidating landscape. According to Brody, "almost everything we do on this planet is being rewritten from the ground up." The fast rate of fundamental changes within the public and private sectors, in large and small companies alike, is affecting people, culture, and business in ways we can hardly grasp. And this certainly means majors changes in marketing.

Brody claims the "plummeting cost of technology is the driver behind this rewrite," and he predicts digital devices will rise to 2 trillion by 2018. "Money used to follow safe bets," Brody said, whereas now we have companies like Tesla and Uber redefining the allocation of funds to drive innovation. And the shift is not just affecting brands and consumers, but governments as well. Brody said November 2012 was the first time military action was announced via social media, when Israel announced its army was entering Gaza. Israel even used Facebook to announced eliminated targets. Brody also cited Bitcoin and Coachella's recent 3D holographic performance of deceased rapper Tupac as more evidence of undeniable cultural shifts.

Brand are turning to agencies for help, but Brody warned attendees that this is not their expertise. He also cautioned against tackling the issue internally. (Though he did encourage hiring one responsible person solely to watch the shifts in modern culture and report back.) So assuming your brand decides to partner with an "accelerator" of some sort, what should the end result look like? Brody asserted that Hollywood is a prime example of an innovation system that works by not staying isolated within its own walls creatively. But this is certainly debatable.

Ultimately, we can all agree with Brody that the shifts that are happening can't be ignored. After all, even Obama has a digital advisory board. Brody closed his thought-provoking talk by encouraging attendees to allocate 10 percent of budget to serendipitous innovation, as well as 10 percent of your time.

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