True Vertexing is to share the true vision and purpose of a brand with consumers for the brand to reach the Vertex, the highest point it can go to, with consumer empathy.
- S Yesudas
I have been part of the ‘advertising’ industry for over two decades. Have sat in seminars and conferences pointing towards the need for redefining the practice. The only change I witnessed is the influx of super specialized verticals set up by most agencies, resulting in incremental noise by marketers to ‘sell’ their products/service to consumers and agencies ‘up-selling’/ ‘cross-selling’ those specializations to clients.
New age companies are replacing fundamentally strong long-running companies, largely based on two factors,
A) Their investors’ willingness to wait for long-term returns
B) Brand love by consumers.
While the shareholder mindset on returns from the already profitable companies cannot be changed overnight, brand love and a possible impact of the same on the balance sheets can surely be a reality.
How can there ever be ‘love’ if the transaction is the only motive in an interaction?
Almost 250 million people have installed paid applications to avoid advertising. YouTube just introduced a subscription model for watching videos without ads. A survey from the UK says only 4% of ads are seen and liked by consumers, 7% seen but not liked, 89% neither seen nor liked.
I think the age-old theory about the money spent on advertising being wasted should now read as “80% of my advertising budget is wasted and I clearly know this is that 80% I bombard consumers with, asking them to ‘buy’ my brand”. And yet, 30 seconds sermons are still produced!
For any impactful change, we need to embrace disruption. We need radical thinking and action; a mindset that allows brand owners and agencies to look beyond algorithms. In my piece in the Internationalist Magazine in 2008, I had written, “without a good measure of creativity in its application, no media specialist can initiate inspiring media plans purely from computer hard drives loaded with magical mathematical algorithms”.
The only real disruption that I see possible is to stop ‘Advertising’ and start ‘True Vertexing’ the brands. True Vertexing is to share the true vision and purpose of a brand with consumers for the brand to reach the Vertex, the highest point it can go to, with consumer empathy. The purpose is not about tactical ideas developed for a season. The purpose will have to be based on incredibly rich human insights, not from researches done to validate an already existing hypothesis, but by a real understanding of what people seek.
Insightful storytelling, understanding how brands can become a tissue between consumers and technology and how data can play an overarching role are the need of the hour.
In my opinion, size will stop making any difference in the foreseeable future. Clients will look for smart solutions. Organizations, which are able to navigate the clients through this landscape with the ability to stitch together content data technology in a meaningful manner will overtake even the large communication companies.
Philips’ global marketing head, Eva Barret, commenting on her company’s content-driven marketing strategy says, “I’m looking for real creativity. We work directly with our media partner in developing content, as opposed to through the agency. If our partners understand what we do, they can write better stories.”
Harley-Davidson’s chief marketing officer Mark-Hans Richer says his company works with a lot of shops and takes a ’boutique’ approach. “We have not had a lead agency in about five years,” he says.
Brad Jakeman, president of PepsiCo’s global beverage group says “global alignment agency is a dinosaur concept” and he questions the level of innovation. “I am really worried that this model is not going to bend — it’s going to break if we don’t really think about how to innovate.”
Ideas developed around the purpose theme must be able to deliver multi-sensory impact through wonderful execution, most telling the consumers what’s in it for them. Love will begin here!
For this new way of consumer connection to succeed, agencies need a mindset of brand success, not just in theory but practice rather than profits for their specialized verticals. The money will follow.
The mindset needed on the brand owner’s side is to actually understand that each of the consumers is brand ambassadors compared to the highly paid celebrities who would never perhaps even use the brand once in their lifetime.
I’m not for a minute debating or doubting that some endorsements work. But most of that’s in the uni-dimensional, transactional brand-consumer relationship world. But the new world needs some brave hearts to start looking at the meaning of brand building a bit differently. Else, all of the top, long running companies of the globe will be replaced by new age ones. It is, then, not surprising why an Air BnB is valued multiples times higher than Hyatt. The brand love and positive sentiments, when the True Vertexing is practiced will also have a bearing on how those companies get viewed and consequently on the balance sheets and soon the impact of True Vertexing can be really tracked. This is my dream!