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Congrats! Your Brand is About to Become Obsolete.

In a time where prototypes are rendering business plans useless and start-ups are hammering goliaths, I can’t help but wonder how many more of the brands I know and love will become obsolete, and why. Needless to say, I have been looking forward to this session since setting up my SxSW schedule months ago…and here are my thoughts post-panel.

The R/GA duo did a great job of explaining the shift that has happened- noting that the days of big brands blocking channels with big dollars are gone- and that now the smaller, more nimble and innovative companies have the edge. And I think there are many reasons for that- startups are hungrier, they have less fat to chew, and they are less concerned about failing. Big brands, on the other hand, are typically slower by nature, they’re tied to what they’ve done in the past to become successful, and because of that they’re more often than not, terrified by the idea of innovation. They’re fat, and sitting at the top of the grid, they’re happy.

And by the time they start to grimace with a bit of discomfort, it’s already too late. Ring pointed out that it is on the way to success that brands need to begin to worry. Worry, plan, then innovate. The future of brands will lie in the hands of those that are forever restless, forever seeking innovation, and forever thrilled by, or at least driven by fear of, the need for innovation.

Nike + was the perfect example that the R/GA crew ended the session with. Nike realized early on that what Nike + was at launch was not going to be what it was further down the line. The need to continue understanding users, in real time, and responding to them, again in real time, would always be there. And while this realization sounds like a no brainer- this changes the structure by which agencies have to operate. The notion of months of research and testing with people paid to respond is yet another thing that is going to become obsolete…and agencies need to realize what that means will soon be required of them.

For me, the key takeaways were this:
1) Today isn’t yesterday.
2) Iterate. Iterate. Iterate.
3) Shed the fat

Great session. My favorite so far. Will write more later about how R/GA talked about Purpose.

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