For the last decade, marketers have focused their efforts on infusing their brands with more meaning.
Through purpose-led efforts that validate their existence. Through partnerships that demonstrate their relevance. Through consumer-driven collaborations that attempt to prove their willingness to adapt — albeit for a limited time.
Today, we’re firmly in a new era of marketing where consumers can’t be tidily confined to one-dimensional models and the “cult of the new” is far more alluring than brands that rely on their foundation and legacy.
To keep pace, businesses need to radically rethink how marketing reflects this evolving consumer landscape by:
- Relentlessly identifying jobs to be done
Modern marketers continually search for customer needs and, if possible, solve for them. Sometimes these solutions are small. Sometimes they are massive. An example is Dominos which has taken great strides to overcome apathy by tackling issues ranging from better pizza delivery boxes to larger, more complex topics like crumbling city infrastructure.
- Operating on multiple layers of context
These marketers must showcase their brand’s relevance at specific opportunities, often to several different audiences. Although Apple is a technology company, we are accustomed to thinking of it…well, differently. It pushes creativity further. It helps children learn and collaborate easily. It makes our music, movies and other media more accessible. In short, Apple serves many audiences in a myriad of ways.
- Continually adapting and offering something new
Instead of entirely relying on a brand’s heritage, successful marketers will remix it — or create something entirely different — that feels contemporary and useful. While Supreme could have been content to be a skateboard company, it has successfully morphed into a fashion plate brand with partnerships covering a spectrum from Hanes Underwear to the North Face to Brooks Brothers.
Essentially, these approaches treat brands as living, breathing tools with which they can design services and experiences around their consumers.
Instead of getting caught off guard with the age-old “what have you done for me lately?” question, they anticipate it by constantly showing up in new and relevant ways.
So how do we attune ourselves to these multitude of customer-led inputs and adapt our businesses accordingly?
The role of brand manager must be completely reimagined. To move its tentpoles from managing communications and journey into the uncharted world of innovation — across experiences, partnerships and products. To be not so much concerned with quantities of moments but more about investing in quality moments.
We call this new role Market Architect. A role that’s absolutely driven by identifying consumer opportunities — both current and emerging — and how (or often if?) their brands can answer these needs.
“The role of brand manager must be completely reimagined from managing communications and risk to innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Now how does one staff for this role?
To be honest, this is a new venture for our organization too. But through various experiences and explorations, we’ve zeroed in on three key traits for Market Architects — and their efforts — to be successful:
- Be able to navigate critical shifts in the world, understand their context and identify which ones matter most
- Sidestep traditional consumer insights methodologies in favor of personal intuition
- Cultivate empathy for end consumers
- Craft new solutions to customer needs and problems
- Inspire colleagues to think and act ambitiously
- Cultivate strong partnerships internally and externally
- Create alignment and excitement across many stakeholders
- Rapidly prototype ideas and guide them into reality
- Bring out elegance and simplicity in the complex
- Operate with an entrepreneurial spirit
- Push the limits of what’s possible
Embracing the role of Market Architects obviously requires businesses to evolve beyond all-too-familiar processes and tools. But it also helps them embrace the complexity of today’s consumer landscape proactively rather than simply reacting to it (often far too late). By shifting how we value consumers and build around their needs, Market Architects design new roles for their brands to earn consideration and loyalty intrinsically vs. adding to the communications shouting match and hoping someone hears them.
For a synopsis of this role, check out our one-sheet description:
Some of you might be asking “where is this idea/role coming from?”
We did not develop this role in a vacuum. Rather, our client roster has often asked how they can adapt their businesses and brands to account for the constant shift in consumer dynamics. And as we explored this question, we arrived at a need for experts who embrace a new way of marketing entirely.
Want to discuss this role further? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.