Take brave steps to reimagine your agency or brand

We heard a really inspiring story today on brand reinvention from R/GA, an agency that we partner with on Verizon. The reason I am writing about it is that it demonstrates principles that any organization or brand can apply.

The Chairman/spiritual guru of the business Bob Greenberg told how at the emergence of the internet in the mid-90s he took the decision to change the direction of his successful production company. At the peak of their powers they took a leap, changed their team and became a digital agency.

This maxim of change from a position of strength is something they have consistently applied ever since. This has led to them become one of the industry’s most fascinating companies. Their offer now includes a venture capital and consulting unit, along with teams doing more conventional work in technology and communications. Their cases were great, ranging from ‘creating’ a bank for young people in Brazil to creating ‘BotBot’, which helps small businesses build their own service bots in a few easy steps.

Lastly they shared more inspiring principles about how to make positive change happen. When you embark on new capability development ,accept you start as an amateur, which is fine as long as you systematically work to get better. Put structure first and people second: don’t think you can make change happen by hiring new people if your organization is not set up for new work.

What should brands do next? Don’t wait until the wins or the ROI go in the wrong direction before making change. Change from a position of strength and keep doing it.

Sean Healy, Global Head of Strategy & Product


Have the courage of your convictions

Five years ago, Facebook was a brand built for desktop. They knew that the future was mobile and that their platform was not fit for purpose. Facebook accepted that a fundamental rebuild was required. They took a big decision – for one year they ‘code froze’ (unheard of in Silicon Valley), delivering no product updates to their desktop platform and focusing all their efforts on building a mobile Facebook from the ground up. For a business to do this when they were on such a rapid growth curve is unprecedented. Today Facebook is a platform built for mobile and has 1.9bn users, 90% of whom access Facebook via a mobile device.

What should brands do next? Have a vision of the future of top-line growth and align the business behind it. Have the courage of your convictions however disruptive in the short term and then stick to the plan.

Martyn Stokes, Group Planning Director


Decisions are top down, not bottom up

Today we saw an excellent presentation from a behavioural scientist, who explained that human decision-making is never based on the reasons given by people, who essentially post-rationalise why they made a certain decision. More importantly, different experiments show that people will experience something differently based on their pre-determined expectations. In blind tests people stated that beer with balsamic vinegar tasted better than regular beer. However, when given the same choice but this time knowing that balsamic vinegar was in the beer, everyone chose the regular beer. This shows us that people’s taste is influenced more by their brain’s preconceptions than their taste buds.

What should brands do next? Behavioural economics and science show us that decision-making is driven by unseen and often implicit forces. Therefore brands needs to view consumer’s claimed responses to questions of why they do things with scepticism. Furthermore, because data signals are normally explicit, brands must make sure that the data does not tell the wrong story, and miss the real reasons behind decision-making.

Ben Lukawski, Group Planning Director

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