Over the past decade, it has become resoundingly clear that the world is moving from an industrially driven economy where machines are the heroes toward a people-driven economy that puts the consumer in the seat of power. A recent New York Times article says that, “Over the last fifty years the economic base has shifted from production to consumption. It has gravitated from the sphere of rationality to the realm of desire: from the objective to the subjective, to the realm of psychology.”1
...Speed has replaced stability; intangible assets have become more valuable than tangible assets. The traditional supply - demand economic models are being completely reevaluated. Corporations have realized that the new market opportunities are not based on squeezing costs and increasing profits around a set business model but are above all in growing entirely new lines of revenue with innovative ideas.
OLD ECONOMY NEW ECONOMY FACTORY BASED CONSUMER BASED Capabilities-driven;
rely on existing equipment
Outsource Production Slow developer to market Fast to market Manufacture products Create Brands Production-focused Consumer-focused
In a Wall Street Journal article entitled “So Long, Supply and Demand” the conclusion reached is: “The bottom line. Creativity is overtaking capital as the principal elixir of growth. And creativity, although precious, shares few of the constraints that limit the range and availability of capital and physical goods.”2 In this new business atmosphere, ideas are money. Ideas, in fact, are a new kind of currency altogether-more powerful than money. One single idea - especially if it involves a great brand concept - can change a company's entire future.
…Industry today needs to bring people the products they desire, exactly when they want them, through venues that are both inspiring and intimately responsive to their needs.
Leaders in this economy understand that, unlike in the past, access to greater resources, size, and stability are not nearly as crucial as flexibility, speed, and agility.
...This does not mean that traditional corporations will disappear. It does mean that we will see the corporate world redefined around the concepts of innovation, flexibility and cultural relevance. The cutbacks at huge conglomerates such as Unilever are prime examples of larger companies striving to shed some of their traditional “dead weight” in order to be able to better compete in the new world order. Image-wise companies such as Procter & Gamble, seen as a “faceless giant” by most consumers, will have to find a new voice with the pubic as well.
The days of silos are gone. The true asset has become knowledge, which is rendered so much more valuable when shared. All this means is that it's a great time to be an idea person. We are also living in a global world where the competitive difference between economies is vastly reduced.
From Push Communication to Push/Pull
Until very recently, advertising has been a “push” form of communication; meaning the sending of commercial messages without the benefit of any major interaction with the receiver. Now, with the help of the Internet, it is on the verge of a complete reinvention, perhaps even a renaissance. With this new media, advertising is becoming the multidimensional “push and pull” communication tool everyone in the business was looking for all along. Advertising can now instantaneously convey a brand message and actually help build a real dialogue (that will, in turn affect the brand message) with people! Advertisers have been limited by the vehicles at their disposal to reach an audience; for the most part, the media of radio, TV, print advertising, and billboards. These “push” media were primarily used to target passive consumer groups. Toady, the Internet is just beginning to reveal the tip of the iceberg of the vast opportunity for engaging people in a dialogue. “Pull” message, or messages that encourage a response from people, are helping connect brands with the public in a very dynamic way.
...On the whole, excluding the stellar work of a few, advertising over the past fifteen years has become stale, and consumers, overloaded with a barrage of unexciting commercial messages, have become more and more impervious to these messages. When some of the old-world economy brands squeezed ad agency fees, organizing some of the most cutthroat competitions that were often being handled through third-party consultants, it only encouraged short-term vision and compromise. To make things worse, advertising decisions were often being made by people in corporations who, for safety's sake, preferred, above all, to remain unchallenged.
Old and New Media
...The Internet, which today exists as an extension of media strategies, will soon become the primary media. The war between the old media and the new media is already settled before the fight.
Despite ongoing questions and confusion, it is very clear that a new, effective media is born, one that will eventually serve to reinforce the other media models. We know that, for starters, the Internet's power to build brand awareness is enormous. A study conducted by MSN showed that online advertising increased brand awareness by as much as 300 percent.3 And intent to buy a brand after seeing an online ad has also been proven to be significantly higher; 72 percent versus 62 percent for users of a brand and 28 percent versus 19 percent for non-users of a brand.4 A study by Anderson Consulting in November 1999 showed that 25 percent of 1,500 Internet users surveyed went shopping on a Web site after viewing a banner ad, as opposed to 14 percent who clicked onto a site after viewing a TV or print ad and 4 percent after listening to a radio commercial.5
Advertising on old media is mostly about creating awareness and desire for a brand. If old-media advertising is the invitation to the party, then the Web must be the party; the place where people meet, share information, and tips and generally have fun! We have to think of the Web as the village square. It's all about connections.
Where is Everybody?
Nobody is glued to a TV set or listening to radio at home anymore. People now take the electronic equipment that used to be nailed to a wall or plugged into some outlet with them everywhere. Our cell phones and portable computers are always with us, and we are definitely on the go.
…The chase for reaching an audience is becoming more complex, and getting people to sit down to hear a message is well…challenging! We have to adapt and fortunately, the rapid progress of technology, particularly in the wireless area, offers potential opportunities in reaching people wherever they are at a myriad of different points of contacts.
The “push/pull” perspective is a helpful one, given this wide array of communications choices. This is a new, friendly way of speaking to people, based on the give-and-take principle. Yes, you're asking for something - the consumer's precious attention - but if your ad can also be helpful and receptive to the response, then you are giving something in return! Go to any open-air market in France and watch how the vendors are selling foie gras, wine, cheese, fish, or poultry. It's one of the most delightful, amusing experiences you can have! Vendors talk, flatter, and jest with you in the most clever ways to lure you over to their stalls. They are entirely themselves; full of personality, with the rural clothing, mannerisms, and accents that give total authority and credibility to the origin of the goods and their quality. The products in the markets are presented in a way that tantalizes your taste buds, and even the brown paper bag in which they are handed to you adds to the charm of the buying experience. Has anything really changed?
Bill Bass, VP of e-commerce at the highly successful Lands' End site has an answer to the cannibalism question, “At the end of the day - this has become my mantra at Lands’ End - you ask, ‘What do customers want?’ and give it to them. Then discussions about cannibalization and channel conflict go away - because customers don't care.”
The most important commodity and the biggest luxury of all today is time. Americans are time-impoverished. In a study by Kurt Salmon Associates, a New York retail consulting firm, 60 percent of those queried said they had less time for leisure, and 44 percent confessed that given the choice they'd rather have more free time than more money.6
Time is (Even Better Than) Money
We live in an era of more and more material wealth and less and less time. Americans have now surpassed the Japanese as the nation clocking in the most hours in a workweek. This change that has been gathering momentum for a while now is a fundamental shift in the fabric of our culture, and there are no references from the past to give perspective. While past generations may have been bus, there is obviously no comparison with our hyperdigitalized world today, where not only are we ourselves so busy but everything around us is moving at an incredibly fast pace. In this Information Age we are constantly barraged with data and pressured to make important decisions and choices in a split second.
1 Herbert Muschamp, “Seductive Objects with a Sly Sting,” New York Times, July 2, 1999.
2 Thomas Perzinger Jr., “So Long Supply and Demand,” Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2000.
3 Elisabeth Dalbey, “Measuring Online Branding Impact,” Digitrends, Winter 2000.
4 Marianne Foley, “Advertising Online: Some Questions We Should Be Asking,” Digitrends, Winter 2000.
5 Kathryn Kranhold, “Banner Ads Are Driving Web Purchases,” Wall Street Journal, November 24, 1999.
6 Lauren R. Rublin, “Too, Too Much!” Barron's, March 9, 1998.