A couple of months ago, the tennis world experienced a brief media blitz after John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played a now-famous 11-hour Wimbledon match. But even more impressive than the athletic prowess and fight these gentlemen displayed was the immediate reaction of Kit Kat (a brand that had no official tie to the tournament or the two players). The candy bar’s agency whipped up a simple print ad that seamlessly connected the brand’s tagline to the monumental event and rolled it around the Wimbledon grounds the next day. See the ad here.
I just finished reading a report from trendwatching.com entitled “Nowism: Why currency is the new currency” (brilliant line right there, I must say) that delves deeper into the New World Order of instant everything. It addresses the “I want gratification and I want it two minutes ago” consumer approach to receiving / disseminating information, making purchase decisions and engaging within their social circles (and the entire online world, at that). As part of its definition of nowism, the whitepaper claims that “your brand and company…have no choice but to finally mirror and join the now, in all its splendid chaos, realness and excitement“.
In the madness of the ever-evolving online community, the adaptable marketer’s dream awaits. Challenge is, that dream is moving faster than your quarterly budget projections and annual marketing plans. In the Nowism realm, “individuals have to splice together an unending series of short-term projects and episodes” as opposed to a continuous string of programmed moments with pre-determined check points. If you want to grab a piece of the mind share pie, you must learn to be uber adaptable – to the trends, to the consumer’s way of life, to the mobile platforms, to the social media fads. The only thing of which we, as brand drivers, can be certain is that boundless opportunities await, and those opportunities will present themselves in a myriad of shapes and forms. Learn to embrace and appreciate the chaos and go with the flow.
What Twitter has done to the brand / customer relationship in the virtual space is remove barriers to engagement that seemingly protected companies and kept consumers at arm’s length. Now, with real-time interaction, the luxury of calculated message planning is all but gone. The face and voice of a brand is front and center and has an audience judging its every move. Scared? Well, you probably should be. But for the opportunists out there, this is nothing more than a magnifying glass through which your True Self can shine on for all to enjoy. Keep it real and you will be rewarded.
For the love of Pete, have some fun! Yes, it’s a bit nerve-wracking, living in the Now. But, we’re all in this together. You must be willing to experiment, analyze, adjust and re-execute. When you do it right, when it really hits, it can be quite the experience. And as the folks at trendwatching.com tell us, “this focus on experiences, this living in the now, instead of in the future, this lust to collect as many experiences and stories as soon as possible, is addictive“.
As consumers embrace the now and express their passions in real-time, brands must join the dance with uninhibited fervor. Otherwise, you risk fossildom (I made that word up).