Do brands need flexible friends?

Study: Brands Need Flexibility Adweek 09 Feb 2009.
“Sixty-three percent claimed traditional brand-positioning approaches don’t work as well as they did in the past. Why? Rapidly shifting media habits and the advent of new technologies require brands “to tell a bigger story,” said Verse Group managing partner Randall Ringer. “The brand-positioning model was designed for a world of 30-second commercials. It doesn’t work in the world of new media. It’s like a square wheel.”

Okay, for this US survey for Forrester, all respondents’ companies had revenues of $250 million or more, and we could argue that this is something smaller brands have know for some time.  Ask any agency or consultancy dealing with medium to large clients below this revenue slice and pressure to demonstrate improved ROI has been at the top of the agenda for quite some time.  Flexibility of approach has been in the blood of any brand communications organisation servicing this market – if it hasn’t been they have probably already disappeared.

I would caution against the danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, however.  Even though most of my work is in digital media, I don’t believe it is a case of, ‘New media good – traditional media bad’; there are tasks which manifestly traditional media can achieve better than digital media. ‘Flexibility’ means just that… and having an open mind to strategic planning.  And don’t assume traditional media is static: media owners also have the capability to be flexible, so keep a close eye on their responses to tumbling revenues.  This is maybe where some of the most exciting opportunities may present themselves.

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