June 2, 2022
As saying goes: fail to plan and you plan to fail. Brands that are future-ready will be those that manage to plan ahead with insight and innovation, whilst those that remain stuck in old ideals will be left behind. The rapid digitalisation of the brand landscape is transforming expectations surrounding speed and convenience but consumers will no longer accept this at the sacrifice of the environment. Brands need to be prepared to adjust accordingly in order to retain their audience and employees. While you can never be fully prepared for the future, there are things you can implement now that can have a huge impact on your brand in the future. These are our top 10 traits of future-ready brands:
Innovation is paramount to success when it comes to branding. The pandemic caused drastic changes overnight and has led to many playing it safe and becoming more risk averse than ever before. As the economy begins to stabilise post pandemic, businesses no longer need to be operating in survival mode, but instead should continue to evolve, adapt and innovate at the same pace as our world transforms.
It’s 2022 and if you don’t have some sort of sustainability focus then you can expect to be left behind. Becoming ever more aware of ‘green-washing’, consumers are sharpening up to question brands’ choices when it comes to product design, ethical labour and sustainable packaging.
It is no longer enough to just tick a box and consumers are demanding more from brands when it comes to sustainable practice than ever before. Keeping sustainability central to your brand values and overall growth plan will pay off tenfold and the planet will thank you for it.
Future-ready brands are embracing collaboration in all areas of their business. This includes collaborating with other brands, onboarding brand champions or ambassadors, interacting with consumers and employees. Instead of viewing other brands as competition, future-ready brands focus on creating positive relationships that mutually benefit both parties and add value and opportunity for everyone. Collaboration when well executed can be the secret tool in your tool belt that skyrockets your brand to the next level.
Holding onto outdated work processes is only going to hold back your brand from future success. Future-ready brands are prioritising innovation when it comes to the way they run their business day to day. Modern brands are moving away from strictly structured hierarchical employee frameworks and embracing teams and more collaborative work. Management styles are also transforming from the stereotypical boss/employee relationship to create room for a more cheerleading style approach that allows employees to have more autonomy over their work and their growth within the company.
Workplace culture has always been an essential piece of the puzzle, but we are predicting that it is about to become more important than ever. The rise of tech and flexible work has allowed employees to become pickier with where they work and how they spend their time. Creating a strong brand culture will allow your team to be invested in what happens next and striving towards the goals and objectives of your brand. If your team is your brand’s biggest cheerleader then work output will never be of concern. Cultivating an inspiring environment that values the unique talents of each employee will set your brand up for major growth and lead to less employee turnover. It’s a win win.
Some of the best advice I have ever received is when in doubt, just do the next right thing. It’s all about taking the first step in the right direction TODAY, because if you wait for the perfect moment, the perfect project, the perfect team or the perfect product you may find yourself waiting a long, long time. Perfectionism can become the driving force for procrastination, not exactly the greatest recipe for success. Future brands understand the importance of the “launch and adjust” strategy and are okay with learning and optimising along the way.
For businesses who have been in the game for a while it can be easy to assume you have it all figured out. Nevertheless it is important to still prioritise learning in all areas, even the areas you have expertise. It’s a fundamental truth of life that there will always be someone somewhere who is better than you at just about everything. Now that may sound discouraging but really it is exciting! It means that your business has endless potential and room for growth. At Smack Bang we also aim to prioritise staff education as we never want work to become repetitive and boring. Aiding your employees to grow their skills and work towards exciting goals will help bolster every effort made within your business.
Okay so while we did just bang on about learning from others, future-ready brands also know when to stick to their guns and be trailblazers in whatever space they are in. No matter what stage your business is in you can always aim to be ahead of the curve. Future-ready businesses are open minded and also retain talent from different walks of life and age brackets in order to gain multiple perspectives. Finding the balance between staying on top of the latest trends and listening to your intuition will lead your brand to that sweet spot where the magic happens.
The future of work has been digital for a long time but there is no denying that the events of 2020-2021 have sped up the reliance on digital in almost all workplaces.
Brands that are unable to pivot and learn on the go when it comes to the latest digital platforms will get left behind. Now we aren’t suggesting that you need to try every trend and have your fingers in all of the pies but it is important to remain on the digital pulse. The modern consumer expects modernity at every touch point and having a firm grasp of the digital space is essential for brands that want to be future-ready.
Future-ready brands have purpose at the heart of everything that they do. A business built to chase profit with no purpose is a losing strategy. Not only is the modern consumer pickier than ever with where they put their dollar (making purpose led brands almost a prerequisite to be a functioning business) but it is also important to have purpose for motivation and drive. Without knowing the “why” behind what you do, the good days will be less satisfying and the hard days almost unbearable. Running a successful business and brand requires grit and determination, and having a purpose behind what you are doing day in and day out will set you up for longevity.
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