Basic Arts speaking at Shoreditch House

_1030452_ss

On Monday 24th of October at 1pm Basic Arts will be hosting an event at Shoreditch House, covering advice on how to build an interesting company.  Here’s the synopsis:

We all know that today great brands are the ones people talk about, not those who talk about themselves. The problem is, most brands aren’t worth talking about. They save their creativity for their ads whilst the real business underneath remains dull, confused, or worse. This session will introduce you to a simple technique you can apply to any business to make it inspiring for the both its customers, and the people who work for it.

If you are interested in attending, drop a line to contact@basicarts.org to be added to the list.

Basic Arts to speak at the Marketing Forum

titanic-captain

From the 5th to the 8th of October Basic Arts will braving the high seas as speakers at this year’s Marketing Forum.  The event takes place on the good ship Aurora, ensuring a memorable occasion, and, more importantly, a captive audience 😉

The topic of discussion will be “How to build a business for the post-advertising age”.  We’re looking forward to a great few days and want to extend our thanks to Richmond Events for the invitation.

Why tomorrow’s CEO will come from marketing

146210396

This piece first appeared in Management Today.

Marketing and finance are generally seen to sit at opposite ends of a spectrum. From the substantive to the shallow. The vital to the optional. The intelligent to the facile. The wise to the foolish. The big-picture to the small. Basically, the grown-ups to the kids.

There’s no need to spell out which sits where is there? Heck, I work in marketing and I agree with you. Every marketer has had the humbling experience of exposing their work to the common sense scrutiny of a non-marketing observer – finance director, CEO, or just the man on the street – revealing the general triviality of what we do every day. Meanwhile, the real business carries on regardless. Let the marketers have their fun. We’ve got a company to run.

Set against this backdrop, it’s little wonder that marketers rarely rise to the very top of an organisation. They account for just 8% of FTSE 100 CEOs. They are somehow just too detached, too isolated in their own spacey little world. They rarely muddy their hands in the other less glamorous parts of the business – the supply chain, the manufacturing, the distribution, the personnel, the property, heaven forbid the finance – leaving them ill- equipped to take on roles that claim responsibility for all these and more.

The money men and women, on the other hand, they need to know this stuff. The bottom line is affected by everything, so they need to ‘get’ everything. It is this attribute that gives those with a financial background the advantage when going for the top job. They aren’t just prudent, they’re knowledgeable. They can make a wise call on, say, forklift inventory, as it’s not completely foreign territory to them; just another place where they’ve had to cast a watchful eye. That’s why they account for 52% of CEOs, not 8%.

How is it then that marketing could be set to flip these numbers on their head?

Let’s stop and think about what marketing really is for a moment. Every company exists in the context of the wider world, the world to which it provides value in some way or other. If the value it provides is desirable, economically viable and in some way unique (at least within its local market), then essentially the company will be successful. Customers will flow to it, almost more by natural design than by brute force. It will be doing something worthwhile, and will reap its rewards.

This is real marketing – simply making a company worthwhile. It is the defining of what a company ‘is’; knowing that if you get that right then all else flows from there.

This understanding is very different from the way people often see marketing today –i.e. defining what a company ‘says’ rather than what it ‘is’. This is the side-effect of 50 years of mass media, which has allowed floods of generic businesses to create ‘pretend’ differentiation in the form of hollow statements and slogans.

This model is now starting to crack, as the internet and democratised communication begin to reveal the vacuum behind the slogans. For the first time since the 1960s, the businesses that are winning are those that deserve to; those that do marketing by having an interesting, unique, and worthwhile business, not those that shout loudest.

The effect this shift promises to have on marketing as a discipline will be seismic. It is already changing advertising where a technique called ‘basic’ is emerging to work on the insides of companies, not just campaigns. Beyond this, if marketing is now about ensuring a business fulfils its purpose, then that means its voice will become relevant in every part

of it. Imagine for instance marketing not as an isolated department, but rather as a role within every other department. They would be there to ensure that as well as running effectively, each element would also run in harmony with the organisation’s unique mission. This would produce, quite simply, better companies with genuinely meaningful brands, for which increasing transparency would be a weapon, not a threat.

There’s nothing more integral within a business – not even finance – than simply knowing who you are and what you’re here for. It is by becoming masters of that simple idea that marketing will move from the periphery to the heart of business, and from the cubicle to the boardroom table.

An introduction to basic

milky-way-984050_960_720

This meaty read is a great place to start to exploring basic, the process of creating interesting companies for a post-advertising age.  It is an extended version of a piece that first appeared on WARC.com.

The secret behind the world’s best brands

What is it that connects the great brands of the internet age? The brands that are constantly referenced by marketers as benchmarks of performance. The inspirational usual suspects from Red Bull, to Apple, to Google, and beyond. What is the behaviour they all share – no matter their market or position in it – that allows them to capture public imagination and escape cynicism and indifference?

Put simply these great brands don’t win fans by creating interesting advertising; they win fans by being interesting companies, full stop. People don’t admire their campaigns, they admire them. They admire the boldness of Google’s HR policies, and their future-building experiments. They admire Apple’s lack of compromise, innovation, and the vision of their founder. They admire Red Bull’s commitment to pushing human limits more than pushing their actual product.

In essence all the things that most brands use advertising campaigns for – creativity, differentiation, insight, and fun – they actually have built into their fabric. If and when they do choose to run a traditional advertising campaign, it comes across more as a reflection of their business than an embellishment on it – the very essence of authenticity.

When we recognise this characteristic, we can see that advertising in its current form is not well placed to assist brands which fall short of this standard. It has found itself creating external proxies of brands, rather than simply improving them and amplifying the facts, and as such is not equipped to replicate the success of the very best – no matter how creative or brave the work may be.

In order to address this issue we need to create an accessible path which will allow brands and agencies alike to replicate this behaviour on a mass scale. In short: we need a new discipline.

Basic

Basic is defined as the technique of brand building through altering or extending the internal elements of a business, rather creating external campaigns. It uses the identical strategic approach employed for traditional creative advertising – the identification of an ownable and desirable position for a brand to promote to its customers – but simply activates it through creative amendments to the business itself, rather abstract media ideas. Having undergone this process a business should be inherently more interesting and differentiated than it was before, allowing itself to be promoted and amplified in an authentic manner.

Defining this process as a discipline, giving it a name and some rigour, is essential for it to gain industry-wide traction. Only then will briefs for this kind of work begin to flow, as currently it is very rare for agencies to be granted an internal remit with their clients. This is why almost all examples of this practise to date are generated in-house – limiting it only to those brands with the most visionary of leaders. If brands are able to outsource this thinking to agencies, then it will become far more accessible.

The path for basic as a discipline could be rather similar to that of “social”, which upon becoming a standardised approach spawned a flood of briefs, and a rapid development in agency expertise – having been a rare and experimental practise only a few months before.

Let’s look at an example of how the discipline might work in practise.

In Amsterdam there is a well known hair salon called Bubblekid. They, like any other business, have a proposition to differentiate themselves – in this case “In Creation We Trust”. The idea behind this is essentially for consumers give themselves over completely to the creativity of their stylists, to trust them, and let them do what they will with their hair. With this proposition in place the question they had to answer, like all brands, was how do we bring this to life?

If they’d been like any other business they would have probably thought about some local advertising, perhaps some social media outreach – leaving the proposition as essentially a piece of colourful posturing slapped over a fairly generic salon.

Instead they looked internally, and asked themselves if they way they operate their business was really in accordance with this idea. The result? They removed all the mirrors in their salon. Now, if you go for a haircut at Bubblekid, you will sit opposite another client, have a chat, and not see the stylists work until they are finished. Through this they inherently communicate the nature of their salon, without even needing to say it.

Just like Apple, Google, or Red Bull, their brand and business became synonymous.

A step by step guide

Let’s explore how to activate basic in a bit more detail.

Step 1 – Purpose Identification

This step is simply the creation of a strong brand strategy. What is it that only you offer that people want? What exactly is the point of your business? Equally you could call this “proposition”, “message”, “brand strategy” – there are many acceptable ways to define it – however the strength of “purpose” is that it implies concrete action, rather than simply communication.

Broadly this step is one which the industry is already comfortable with within the traditional model, however there are a couple of additional points to consider when applying it to basic.

The first is that there should be no distinction between an internal purpose and a consumer facing purpose. This is common sense if you want your internal business to act as an external draw. It might be that your internal one is a little more clunky for extra clarity (for instance Red Bull’s is “giving wings to people and ideas”) but the thrust of the two must be identical. This will make ideas flow more easily, and increase your overall clarity.

The second point to consider is whether the purpose is practical. That it sounds like it “does” something. This is where a key distinction can be drawn between a modern “purpose” and an old fashioned “tag line”. For instance Finisterre, a UK apparel brand is known as a “cold water surfing company”. This identity is clearly very practical, and gives you a strong idea of how the business may be adapted to serve that purpose better. If we compare that to a more traditional brand tag line (e.g. Coca-Cola’s “Taste The Feeling” or L’Oreal’s “Because Your Worth It”) we can see that these are relatively hard to work with because they are more emotional than actionable – they do not allow so clearly for business differentiation and innovation. This is fine for such established brands, but would be a weakness for more contemporary challengers seeking to make an impact with basic.

Step 2 – Business Alteration

When armed with a strong purpose, a business can then conduct an audit to check if everything they do is aligned with it. We already explored one example of this process with Bubblekid. These tweaks can be anything from small (even quite superficial) up to a wholesale rethinking of the core product. For a small example we might look to the US clothing brand Patagonia, who run a policy known as “Let My People Go Surfing” time – essentially flexible hours so that if the surf’s good, employees can come into the office late. This rather small innovation caught the imagination to such an extent as that it was the title of founder Yvon Chouinard’s book.

A more dramatic internalisation of purpose can be seen in the German supermarket chain, Original Unverpackt. They, like many other retailers before them, sought to own the space of “green shopping”. They realised that for many stores this was in reality a rather hollow claim, because of all the packaging waste they produced. Therefore they built their supermarket to feature no packaged goods at all. Shoppers must bring their own containers for everything right through to cereal and ketchup, meaning that whilst their purpose is rather unoriginal they were able to undercut their competitors through living it more authentically.

Naturally the extent to which changes can be made at a business vary wildly depending on its individual circumstances, however often the things that really bring a purpose to life can be quite non-invasive, easy to create, or even simply a spin on an existing practise such that of Patagonia.

Step 3 – Business Extension

As well as tweaking existing business operations, basic can also be employed to extend them. This is the technique most commonly employed by Red Bull, who constantly branch out into different relevant spaces, leaving their core drink operations relatively untouched.

The question to ask here is simply “if our purpose is x, what else should we be doing to achieve it?”. The answers to this question can be activated without too much encroachment into existing business functions, and as such may represent an easier entry into basic for traditional brand than business alteration.

For instance when Pedigree in New Zealand created their lost dog app “Found”, it appeared that rather than doing an advertising campaign they had in fact produced a business innovation to better serve their purpose to “make the world a better place for dogs”. In truth the model was closer to that of an ad campaign, but the feeling was different – a simulation of basic that carried with it an air of authenticity.

For more ambitious brands, business extension around their purpose can mean more than great marketing; it can mean new business models. Airbnb for instance revolve all of their marketing and innovation around their purpose to help people “belong anywhere”. This allows them to branch out well beyond the bed-rental space into areas such as dining at people’s houses, using locals as tour guides, and more – blurring the line between marketing stunts and new business lines expertly. Quite simply they are seeking to live up to their purpose, so every action they take is inherently marketing – the very core of basic.

In summary whether you are tweaking your existing business or adding to it, the result is the same – namely a new, more interesting company that reflects its advertising strategy inside and out.

Where to from here

These are early days for an idea which has the potential to make marketing a more integral and constructive process within business and wider culture. Should the industry (brands, agencies, intermediaries) start to align their conversations around this shared language, then opportunities will start to arise in the shape of new budget streams, briefs, awards, trade bodies – but above all better, more authentic, more worthwhile businesses.

Why brands struggle with ‘purpose’

shutterstock_130329323

This piece first appeared on CIM Exchange.

There’s only one thing more common than brands talking purpose these days, and that’s brands without one.

Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, made an impassioned call in The Guardian recently for brands to place purpose “at the core of the brand, driving everything it does”. But those of us who work with brands (or indeed, live with them) will know how far that ideal is from reality across the marketplace.

His piece gave us a clue as to why that might be. He advised that any brand thinking about this issue should simply go for it, saying “you won’t know exactly how it’s going to go at first, but don’t be scared to learn along the way”. Now I agree, that’s an admirable sentiment. But it’s not the kind of advice that security-minded marketing directors are likely to base their 2017 strategy around. The truth is that authentic purpose remains nebulous, the kind of ‘you’ve either got it or you haven’t’ magic reserved for Jobs-like visionaries rather than something a generic brand can simply buy.

A central reason for this is that true purpose tends to come from within, whilst most brands outsource their identity to agencies. Patagonia never had to hire a consultant to tell them who they are, and that’s why they get purpose; the average brand has no idea and their agencies can’t change that. This isn’t to say that agencies are incapable, it’s just that internal change is never part of their remit. And if it’s not internal and integral to the brand’s operations, then it’s not purpose.

So what can we do to change this?

We can’t rely on every brand to do it themselves, for every CMO to become a mini Steve Jobs, orienting their whole business around their vision. We have to come to a solution which works within the current paradigm of brands and agencies working together – where the output is not ads, but business change.

The way to do this is to speak the language of the industry and create a new discipline. This means identifying what, on a practical level, creates ‘purpose’, and then allowing this to be sold as a product like social or shopper marketing.

The ingredients of the discipline would be simple – brand identity manifested through internal company change, rather external campaigns. The creation of an interesting business, rather than interesting ads. It would need a name, as only then could it get traction in the market the way ‘social’ has over the last decade or so. I would suggest ‘basic’, implying the crucial truth of this approach: that it’s something fundamental – something that should be nailed before other types of marketing, not an afterthought.

This crucial service could spawn specialist agencies, budget lines, award categories, even trade bodies. In this world, a sound purpose could be as accessible to a brand as a Facebook page, only far more important for both the brand and the world around them.

Powerful voices like Keith Weed and others like him have the ability to align and create this new reality. Only then will purposeful brands become the norm, not the exception.

Basic Arts vs The News Media

THE_NEWS_HUB_LOGO_RGB-01

 

Basic Arts latest project sees us team up with the disruptive media startup The News Hub. Their unique model allows readers and journalists to take editorial control of the news leading to an unpredictable collision of topics and opinions.

Following a period of beta testing our two companies are working together to analyse the usage behaviour of The News Hub’s community, and translate the findings into a powerful purpose for the platform – helping to craft a new and provocative way of consuming news media.

Find out just what that is in the next few weeks…

The View From BA’s Office

IMG_3062

Basic Arts is delighted to be working with luxury tour operator Hartley’s, not least because it involves working together in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

We’ll keep you posted with more details on our first consultancy project, but in the meantime enjoy the view whilst we enjoy a couple of sundowners.

Forget 2016, Here Are The Trends of 2028

we-still-dont-live-like-the-jetsons-but-heres-how-close-we-are

This piece first appeared in Marketing Magazine

It’s predictions season. And as we read once again that this year really will be the “year of mobile”, we’re reminded trends don’t run on a 12-month cycle. Big cultural shifts tend to emerge gradually, over a decade or more, forcing trend spotters to confirm that things are pretty much the same as they were last January.

In fact, if you reckon that something’s going to take hold over the next 12 months, it’s probably already here. Let’s face it, none of these things we’re talking about are really ‘new’.

If we really want to talk about tomorrow’s agenda then we shouldn’t be looking ahead 12 months; but rather 12 years. Like gardeners studying the soil, the light, the humidity, the temperature, the neighbouring fauna, and predicting what might grow before the first shoots emerge, we too can look into the future through today’s market conditions.

So what are the trends we won’t be seeing in 2016 but just might have arrived on the scene in twelve years time?

Anti-marketing

Any time a seismic event occurs in the market, the ground shifts beneath our feet, and the changed conditions pave a way for something new. Last year’s Protein World scandal was just such an event, and as discussed on these pages before it accidentally revealed a whole new marketing strategy – working through your brand enemies rather than your fans.

To deliberately go out and identify the people with the exact opposite opinions of your target audience and attack them requires a ‘robust’ constitution. Even Protein World balked at this with its relatively soft new campaign. However, in an age where bad news has 10 times the traction of good, we may start to see a few more brands discover that making a few enemies isn’t such a bad thing. We may not see Peperami launch an all-out assault of vegetarians tomorrow, but such a tactic doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it once was.

Fundraiser products

As more and more brands start to elevate ‘purpose’ in their identities, a strange thing will start to occur. The centrality of the core product in their business will start to diminish, and in turn the sensation of buying it will take on a whole new meaning.

Take The Tate. Among other things, it sells postcards. You would, however, never describe it as a ‘postcards company’. You can buy postcards from it, but in doing so you get the feeling that the proceeds are going to something quite cool as a bonus.

The most progressively purposeful brands are starting to take a similar shape. Red Bull, for instance, now gives the impression that its drinks brand is more like a subsidiary of its business than the heart of it. The result is that buying a can of Red Bull feels like fundraising for the next Felix Baumgartner, rather than being the end of the transaction as it would feel with, say, Coke.

The death of pointless brands

The growth of this fundraiser principle will start to shine a light on the pointless brands within our midst of which there are thousands – brands that have neither a unique product (I would say, like Twitter), nor a clearly defined role within their market (like, say, Waitrose). They will be left with a choice: to either rework themselves internally to become intrinsically interesting or worthwhile (like the fundraiser brands), or to be slowly edged out of the market by a more savvy consumer base.

The retailers’ realisation that endless choice isn’t really helpful to customers (as exemplified by Tesco’s delisting spree) is accelerating this trend, so brands are going to have to move quickly to ensure they remain the right side of the divide.

The dissolution of marketing departments

The eventual consequence of this broad drive for brands to ‘have a point’, coupled with increasing transparency and market efficiency, will be for brands’ primary marketing tool to be the way they actually operate, rather than the campaigns they create. This will mean that rather than being just another department in a business, ‘marketing’ (as it won’t be known) will become more of an umbrella approach, with the responsibility held by everyone.

Whether or not this will mean marketing departments taking over businesses or being edged out will lie in the hands of the marketers themselves. Good luck!

Your business doesn’t deserve to exist… probably.

sale

This piece first appeared in freshbusinessthinking.com

Does your company deserve to exist? “Of course!” I hear you answer. But does it really. Because these days most don’t.

There are exceptions of course. That busy little coffee place down the road from you? They deserve to exist. They’ve answered a need. They’ve set up shop in a specific locale where no one else was operating before, people wanted them, and now they’re ticking along nicely.

Apple too. They also deserve to exist. They didn’t really answer any needs of course – no one was crying out for colourful computers, closed music platforms, or tablets – they created them. As Steve Jobs delighted in reminding us, they were ahead of consumers, not behind.

Still, behind or ahead, both Apple and the local coffee shop are exactly what businesses should be: intrinsically worthwhile, enriching the world around them.

Unfortunately, this isn’t how most brands operate. Most brands are founded neither from a specific vision, nor from a desire to answer a need or a problem. Instead they arise from an exploitative mindset; trying to squeeze a profit from a market that’s already amply served.

Punters, of course, sense this. In fact, the famous 2014 study by Havas showing that the public wouldn’t care if 73% of brands ceased to exist is probably a fair estimate of the proportion of brands that are exploitative versus worthwhile.

This would be fine if they could just be avoided, but since they tend to play in highly competitive markets (the cost of unoriginality, alas), they also tend to advertise. Heavily.

Advertising, which should be a wonderful service informing you of things that will enrich your life, has become a battleground where pointless brands fight over Orwellian manipulations like “share of mind”, and try to shave percentage points of equity from their identikit competitors. Agency creativity, something that we instinctively cherish, is in fact often nothing more than a crutch for brands who can’t sell themselves on merit alone.

Little wonder that 84% of millennials “don’t trust advertising”. The more sophisticated it becomes, the more worthless the underlying brand must be.

So what about your brand? Which side of the divide do you sit on?

Here’s a simple test. If you were to make an ad that plainly stated who you are and what you do, with no embellishment or grandstanding, would it be enough to make people buy you?

If the answer is yes, then no doubt you’re doing just fine. You might have a unique product like Twitter, or an expansive vision like Red Bull. You may be synonymous with your whole category like Coke, or you may just be in the right place with the right service like the local coffee shop. One way or another though, you’re doing good.

But if you have any hesitation then welcome to the annoying 73%. You’re set for an uphill struggle with today’s consumer, who know a great authentic brand when they see one – and you’re not it.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom, you do have options. Your first option is to throw money at the issue. If you’re lucky your brand may be the child of a global mega-corp, who have pretty solid track records getting brands to fly by brute force alone. The problem with this approach however, is that if you’re successful you essentially degrade the market. You have the capacity to sink other better brands who simply don’t have the arm twisting power at your disposal. So for the sake of everyone else, this approach isn’t recommended.

Your second option is much better. Simply make your business worthwhile.

This may sound frightfully ambitious – the business is what it is right? – but it’s actually no more complex than taking some of your advertising budget and creativity, flipping it around, and applying it inwards. Rather than creating campaigns, create tweaks and builds to your core business which help distinguish it from competitors fundamentally and intrinsically; and which in turn make it interesting and worthwhile.

This might mean expanding the remit of what your business does beyond your core product, but in line with your brand strategy. Think about when Airbnb started connecting people to have dinner together, or when Pedigree in New Zealand created a platform to help find lost dogs. These initiatives may have simply been funded by marketing, but to the outside world they appeared integral.

It also might mean tweaking your existing processes. Think about Hiut Denim, who highlight their craftsmanship by having every pair of jeans they produce signed by the person who made them.

This broad approach is starting to crystallise into a new advertising discipline called “basic”. Its arrival is timely, as it’s becoming plain to see that the advertising battleground of the future is not on TV, or on social, or on mobile – it’s in the fabric and behaviours of companies themselves. Those who are interesting and worthwhile will thrive; those who aren’t will gradually, and expensively, die. Make sure you’re on the right side of the divide.

The Strategy For “Cool”

joe-cool

This piece first appeared in the December issue of Marketing Magazine.

It’s common knowledge that advertising has an authenticity problem. As transparency increases and brands lose control of their message, the public is starting to notice the gap between brand ideals and the humdrum reality of the business that lurks beneath.

But what about those that buck the trend? From the inspirational usual suspects, such as Red Bull, to transformative newcomers like Patagonia, some brands seem immune to cynicism.

We tend to dismiss them as outliers; products of visionary leaders, outlandish creativity, or just dumb luck. We excuse ourselves for not reaching their heights. It’s alright for them; they’re ‘cool’, we’re not.
But what if what separates these brands isn’t actually ‘coolness’? What if it isn’t something subjective like creativity? What if it’s actually something quite technical – something as mechanical and accessible as moving your spend from, say, TV to radio?

There is, in fact, a common thread of behaviour running through the best modern brands, as obvious as it is rare: the advertising concepts they create don’t exist only in external campaigns; they exist in internal changes to their actual businesses.

Rather than isolating brand strategy to the marketing department, they extend it across everything they do. They use the kind of thinking normally reserved for advertising to design their distribution models, HR policies, product lines and everything else besides.

Take Bubblekid, a hair salon in Amsterdam with the proposition: “In creation we trust”. The idea is that its stylists are so creative that you should give yourself over to them to do as they will. The proposition itself is not groundbreaking, but the delivery is.

Bubblekid asked: “Is the way we operate, the way we actually are, in accordance with this ideal, or is it just an empty piece of posturing slapped onto a generic salon?”

Its response? Removing all mirrors from its premises. If you go for a haircut at Bubblekid, you simply sit opposite another client, and give control over to the stylist, only ever seeing the finished product.

By doing this, Bubblekid made its brand and business synonymous, in effect rendering the concept of a “brand-building campaign” redundant.

Or take Google. The target audience it needs to impress are marketers. Safe to say it has done a great job. Most in our industry now view Google as the world’s most progressive and intelligent company, but it never launched a campaign to make us feel this way. The primary brand builder for this image was its HR policies. Google’s perks are now almost folkloric, inspiring even a Hollywood movie (The Internship), and have done more to shape brand perceptions than any other single act in its canon.

Google, like Bubblekid, demonstrated that, as far as it is concerned, brand-building is not an exercise of creating interesting campaigns that rub off on the company, but building an interesting company; the brand follows naturally and authentically, and transparency becomes a weapon.

What about ‘normal’ brands? How do they get in on the act? What we need to make this behaviour accessible is the creation of a discipline. Think about social. Initially, only the most experimental brands bothered with these channels. But, over time, this approach developed a name, a definition, some rigour, and suddenly it became as easy to buy as yelling: “Give me something social!” Codification is the tipping point between radical and routine.

The same is now happening with this process. After many industry discussions that circled around it, it is starting to crystallise under a clear definition: communication through altering or extending the internal elements of a business, rather than creating external campaigns. With this definition comes the opportunity to get brands and agencies on the same page, and make progress practically, not just theoretically.

It’s early days and the ramifications of the approach (especially for the expanded remit of marketing departments) are yet to be felt, but brands should dip their toes in the water. Just 5% of their marketing budgets redirected inward will produce profound results – and send ripples throughout the marketing world that will grow into waves of change.