Why should brands start to be managed under a new vision of the future?

Why should brands start to be managed under a new vision of the future?
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2020 has been a year of great turbulence and with a great impact which we are still analyzing its effects. As the pandemic and social outrage have exposed the flaws in society, the trends of digital transformation have accelerated and consumer modes altered.

It seems that the magnitude of the current social, economic, and cultural turmoil is unprecedented. But the fact is that viruses and the thousands of epidemics that have occurred throughout human history have driven scientific and medical innovations. The difference is what then took decades to evolve, is now happening in years, or even months.

As historian Charles Rosenberg comments, "Diseases necessarily reflect and expose every aspect of the culture in which they occur. " And the same happened in the late 20th century with HIV, which restructured cultural attitudes and social behaviors, forging new forms of activism that provided the basis for a revolution that changed traditional approaches to international health.

Gutenberg invented the printing press in the years to come to the plague pandemic.

For sure, the pandemic is giving us lessons by leaps and bounds but it has not been the only important driver of change of the year, also the outrage has caused movements that are driving a radical change around issues such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and change climate; economies have undergone major changes in a matter of weeks, as has the emergence of new business models and disruptive markets; It is not surprising that the increasingly demanding consumer reconsiders their purchase decisions by being more explicit.

On the other hand, technology has changed - and will continue to change - many aspects of life such as habits and ways of relating to ourselves. Just a few weeks ago, Interbrand launched its Best Global Brands 2020, where reinforced brands from the technology sector appear. Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon are among the ones that increased the most in the ranking, followed by Microsoft, which has placed among the first three, and other new brands, which in the face of a distanced society, have appeared to connect us. This is the case of Instagram, YouTube, or Zoom, who have entered for the first time, increasing their capitalization by 389% in just 12 months.

People are becoming aware of the power that brands have over the world, and our growth expectations as customers are being transformed into something deeper and more emotional, before this, consumers demand more from businesses, seeing their purchase decisions as votes of trust. That is why we are seeing how companies take a more participatory position with their statements unlike in the past because their policies and actions have an impact not only on individual decisions, but on our interconnected global society, and also on our planet.

The most influential brands distance their logos as an action to support social distancing. 

This is the example of PayPal, one of the companies best positioned to take advantage of changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic. In May, this technology giant reached the highest number of transactions in its history, achieving an increase in revenue of 17% and an increase in the total volume of payments of 22%.

As a result, what is relevant to people changes drastically from one day to the next, people's expectations become unstable and unpredictable, so that only the most liquid organizations with a holistic vision of reality can work one step at a time.

The brands with the greatest public recognition have been those that have adapted to the dialogues that people were already promoting and that have found the point of union with their purpose to be relevant. This is the case of Nike, who puffed out his chest and controversially positioned himself before the racist George Floyd incident, changing his slogan from Just Do It to Don't Do It.

Faced with this new paradigm, brands imbue their communication and marketing in a halo of responsibility and sensitivity, and those who have been activating their purposes must continue to do so, but from a deeper perspective. At this inflection point, companies must seek a balance between company and customer to build on a set of shared values. Brands that neglect to envision constantly refreshing customer expectations run the risk of failing.

And it is no less important than leadership also requires alignment with the brand purpose. Social commitment is most clearly manifested when it's translated into the attitude of company leaders, as key figures who, through exemplarity, demonstrate the company's values. In these times, courageous leaders must not only commit to exemplary purpose but inspire others to join them. Brands that thrive in a turbulent world foster dialogue, invite cooperation, and build a following.

Climate change is the next apocalyptic event that we face, philosopher Markus Gabriel sees this crisis as a preparation for the ecological crisis: « The coronavirus is nothing compared to the ecological crisis. We know this because climate models are better than those of the coronavirus. We have more data, we have been studying it for 50 years. We know there will be more viruses and the voices in favor of a new 'Green Deal' can be heard in the EU » So sustainability must become a radical priority for organizations and brands.

It may be that in this crisis we have the opportunity for society to organize itself in another way, for the pandemic to be the alarm signal that moves us to seek a better society. This is what Noam Chomsky believes, who says that it is essential to put in value the "New Green Deal", a great green pact that was born with the double objective of reducing social inequalities and fighting climate change.

For many companies, a quest for survival and recovery is looming. For others, this is the time to imagine something radically new. Today more than ever, we need the most influential brands to start building from perspective. Establishing a purpose with an honest, empathetic, and ambitious direction that guides society towards better habits and taking actions with the vision set on people, but also the planet.

 

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