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Future-proofing your brand: what you need to know

Creativity and Design thinking matters now the most

Creativity and Design thinking is a must says Andy

Andy Payne, Global Chief Creative Officer of Interbrand, closed out WGSN Futures London 2017 by exploring how the brands of tomorrow can bring together creativity with insight. Here are three of the key themes to know.

Change: To sustain and create new growth

“The reason we’re interested in change is that it’s full of opportunity,” Payne said. “Someone wins, and someone loses. So how do we use change for our benefit? Purpose should be a constant in change.” Even the biggest brands, he said, can and must incorporate change in their business planning, but “scale sometimes is an inhibitor.” How, then, “do we create more flexibility in what we need to do?”

“To understand customers and our mindset,” he continued, “We need to understand how brands have changed. When brands began, they were about identity; slowly, brand became about value; now, it is about experiences, and next we’re moving to the Age of You – the age of the customer.”

Consumer: Our past is the next future

“As consumers, we’ve been unhappy for a long time, but now we have a voice,” he said. We are living in “the age of the Co-Sumer: where the consumer has a stake in what is happening, and how they buy it.” The mentality, he explained, is one of ‘I want a partnership with this brand. I want it to value me and our relationship.’

“Experiences now are completely live,” he said. “From buying a car to having it delivered to your home, every part of that is now live and on air.” And if we don’t improve on what we learned from every past customer experience, we’re damaging the next customer’s experience.

“Sometimes data stops us working in the field,” he added. “If we rely too much on the data, we’re going to miss out on what’s really happening” – and miss out on learning from the frustration involved in some customer experiences. According to a Genesys study, poor customer experience drives $83 billion in losses, with two-thirds of consumers saying that they had ended a relationship with a brand due to poor customer service. “In a world where things are changing,” said Payne, “trust becomes more and more important.”

Creative: Design as a framework

Last but very much not least is the role that creativity and design thinking have to play in business innovation. In terms of creative potential, said Payne, “how can we think of new ways to stimulate the creative mind?” This is a skill we are all born with – “all children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.”

One of the key ways to bring creativity into the heart of business is through design thinking, a discipline that has made its way into corporate culture over the past few years. “Design is a safe framework for scaling innovation,” said Payne. “Building design processes inside businesses is going to create greater flexibility for businesses to create new things. The design vocabulary that we all use to represent our presence as a brand is going to completely change.”

If you are looking to explore these topics in more detail, look out for our upcoming white paper, Future-Proofing Your Brand, coming out in July.

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