Creating brands of the future

by Kasturi Shelar

Imagine a day in your life without scrolling through your Instagram feed, or listening to your favourite Spotify playlist while using Google maps to navigate your way to the next client meeting, or even not knowing how many steps you have completed on your FitBit. Every day we rely on various brands and technology to function in today’s AI assisted and tech driven world.

All these brands have one thing in common, ‘Participation between brand, product and consumer’, so rightly stated by Sairah Ashman, CEO at Wolff Olins. This is essential to create brands of the future as well. What’s intuitive to you, may not be to someone else. So, get people involved, get point of views. Listen. Understand. Collaborate.

CCO of FCB Global, Susan Credle also emphasises the importance of collaboration, not just within agency culture, but extending out to your clients as well, and ultimately to your consumer. Remember, when you sell an idea to your client, they also have to sell it to someone in their team, so simplify it, have empathy, ‘My idea has to become our idea.’

‘Creativity through empathy’, a statement that came up a lot at the Web Summit 2018. We need to truly understand what people really want, not assume. As Tommy Hilfiger’s CEO, Daniel Grieder, cleverly put it, ‘Product is king and consumer is queen.’ People want things that will improve and enrich their lives, it is almost a creative duty to nurture this want, by creating brands and products that enable valuable experiences.

At a time where technology is changing the way consumers interact with brands, how do we ensure empathy is at the core of what we create? Elaine Rodrigo from FMCG giant Danone, firmly believes the key is to remember we are ultimately always creating for human beings. Deep human insights will therefore always be relevant, even if humanoids and AI assisted tech are the next big thing. Google who continues to challenge the tech world with its value-added products still credits its success to what is stated in its founding charter, ‘Focus on the user and all else will follow.’

While it is crucial to keep the consumer in mind, we also have to keep our environment in mind in order to create a brand of the future, as this impacts the consumer mindset and purchase decisions. ‘Sustainability and innovation are a corporate responsibility’, says Daniel Grieder. This does not only reflect on our natural habitat, but also on our social and behavioural habits.

We are facing greater threats to our world than ever before, from global warming, rising temperatures, polluted oceans, destruction of rainforests, shortage of food and animal cruelty. Even the Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina opened the Web Summit with a talk on global sustainability and how it is impacting consumers and brands alike. He highlighted that amidst these concerns, ‘There is a silver-lining in the world of sustainability, leaders, citizens and multi-national corporations all over the world are coming together to realise it.’

This urgency to include sustainability in our creation process is because of its powerful impact on the way we perceive brands, how they create and what they stand for. There is a conscious rise in demand for ethical, sustainable and empathetic brands and therefore, I believe that the importance of innovating products and experiences that integrate these ideologies into the core values of a brand and its communications is the future forward.

Watch Sairah Ashman’s talk:

Watch Susan Credle’s talk:

Watch Elaine Rodrigo’s talk: