Many years ago I was setting up a digital team within an agency and a great brief came across my desk. It was a make or break opportunity. It came from our largest client and it took quite a deal of negotiation to even be included – and all eyes turned towards what was then, a fledgling capability.
The brief asked clearly and simply – “should we build our own site or should we just advertise on other sites?”
My response at the time continues to be my mantra for digital (or even business) strategy:
What I was arguing for was the creation of a platform where the brand and its customers could co-create value. It did take some time to flesh this out in practice, but it proved to be a winning strategy for that client – and for many which followed.
These days, as technology not only invades – but becomes an essential part of our business and brand strategy – this guiding principle “share the message, own the destination” resonates even more strongly. And it does so, because our work as marketers and as business leaders, happens well beyond the bounds of our enterprises. We are always on. Always connected. And always running.
Running towards brand infrastructure
Because we are always running – always seeking new value (or should be) – we also need to be thinking ahead for our own businesses and clients. We need to not only out-run competitors but to out-think them. And to do so, we need to look for accelerators. Which is why I am excited about this presentation from Zeus Jones’ Adrian Ho. They have been consistently ahead of the agency curve for many years – taking an innovative approach to solving clients problems with new approaches to strategy AND execution.
Pay particular attention to slides 19-28 where Adrian explains the three different kinds of platforms that connect brand infrastructure:
- Growth platforms – operations as marketing and marketing as operations
- Loyalty platforms – for managing relationships with current users
- Mass platforms – earned media at scale
Now, platforms are challenging – but they can deliver massive upside. They also provide a way to truly differentiate from your competitors while also creating new market (and marketing) opportunities.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is – “how am I out-thinking and out-executing” my competitors, my industry, my disruptors?