Imagine someone persuaded Ferdinand Magellan and his crew to abandon the Great Big Victoria in exchange for 271 canoes to help them successfully cross the Pacific. Without a doubt, the agent selling the canoes would have made a very profitable deal, however, it is almost guaranteed that Mr Magellan and his crew would never ever be in the list of those who crossed the Pacific (though probably the first ones to successfully accomplish mass sinking of 271 canoes).
In this new richer and bigger world the words selling, persuading and advocating small ideas sound no different to me.
When I hear that Big Ideas are dead and small ideas are ‘in’, I feel genuinely depressed.
I see brands chasing big data to achieve nearly perfect targeting and master the Path To Purchase.
I see brands injecting cash into every little thing that could directly connect them with sales.
I see the rise of machines sucking brands into ‘black holes’, whilst exhibiting such a strong gravitational pull that no part of big long-term strategic and creative thinking can escape from them.
I see many executioners carrying their swords of facts and figures doing brainstorms on #hashtags, viral videos, cool apps, reactive imagery to support the latest trends.
I see big brains desperately digging the small stuff.
I hear strange cool words such as ‘Return on Involvement’, ‘Return on Engagement’, etc. as if brands are built to increase entertainment and not future profits.
I see marketing and advertising professionals turning into impressionists, doing anything and everything they can to win the audience ‘involvement’.
So, I ask myself a simple question, ‘Why brands need to think small when everything in the world of customer is getting bigger and better?’
Every day, people of the world create 2.5 Exabytes of new content – 85% of which is connected to brands in one form or another.
The information created by people from the dawn of civilisation until 2010 was only 10% of the information created between 2011 and 2013.
By the end of 2015 the digital universe will grow to an amazing size of 5.6 trillion Gigabytes.
By 2020 some 32 billion of the things will be connected to the Internet to help make our lives richer, faster and even more efficient.
The world we live in is getting bigger, better and richer by the second. The future of brands can’t exist in opposition with the world around them. In today’s world, the need for long-term strategic thinking is more critical than ever before. The ideas which will breakthrough trillions of Gigabytes of information and deliver strong financial returns will be bigger, not smaller.
I find more clarity after analysing the cases winning IPA effectiveness Grand Prix in the past five years.
I see Morrisons encouraging the nation to get its hands dirty with its ‘Let’s Grow’ solution. A Big Grand Idea which involved 85% of the UK’s primary schools and played a meaningful role in almost every marketing channel including TV, Print, Digital, School Magazines, Social, PR, Retail, In-Store and Direct Mail. In its first year the ‘Let’s Grow’ campaign delivered £21.57 for every £1 invested and helped Morrisons to raise its market share from 11% to 11.5%.
I find Hovis investing in long-term marketing strategy to earn ‘Campaign of the Decade’ title, whilst delivering outstanding business results. I see the brand celebrating 122 years of its magnificent history to win the minds and hearts of customers. I see grand advertising delivering grand results – ultimately, helping the business to grow sales by 14% and delivering £90m of incremental profit.
I witness John Lewis championing the power of long-term strategic thinking by making it even longer for the New Big World. I see John Lewis ‘making the nation cry and buy’ to generate huge amount of brand interest. Resulting in more shoppers, visiting its stores more frequently and spending more. I see its TV advertising making profitable waves across newspapers, blogs, music sites, radio stations, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google. I read letters from public sent to John Lewis appreciating the beauty of Big and Bold marketing. And finally, I observe a beautifully crafted Brand Idea delivering £1074m of incremental sales and £261m of incremental profit for the brand in two years.
So, in truth, for brands to succeed in the New Big World, they need to imagine and act bigger than ever before, not smaller. They need the Big Grand Juicy Brand Idea able to drive engagement, loyalty, conversations, emotions, innovation, consideration, purchase and above all long-term profits for the business. An Idea capable of moving the entire business into the future with confidence and a strong promise of sustainable growth.