An Era of Reinvention?

What if, in the midst of all of this stress, uncertainty and grief, something else is emerging? The seed of something new. Maybe even something better—for our industry and the world at large.

More to the point: if this is the case, what can you do about it? How can you rise above the chaos and help this seed blossom in your organization? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

With layoffs and budget cuts everywhere you look, it can feel like this moment is all about constraint and shrinking horizons.

But maybe there’s another way to look at it. Rishad Tobaccowala thinks we might be entering an Era of Reinvention in which the effects of the pandemic ripple out in potentially positive ways across society, business and culture.

He’s not alone. David Byrne wonders aloud if this moment has the power to help all of us see our interconnectedness more deeply—and change our behaviour accordingly.

There are signs that Rishad and David are onto something. Many strange happenings are afoot. For example, staunchly pro-free-market news outlets are now advocating for big government and social reform.

And people actually being civil to each other on the internet.

And finding joy in the simple act of sewing or baking bread for loved ones.

How might this spirit of reinvention intersect with your work as a marketing leader? First off, you may want to reconsider those budget cuts. Mark Ritson believes this moment holds real opportunity for brands that can see beyond the short term.

It’s also a great time to expand your POV marketing’s role—stretching beyond promotion and considering the other 3 P’s as you help your organization weather the storm.

Sometimes a crisis can help you see through the fog to the essence. So maybe it’s time to ask yourself (and your team) uncomfortable questions like: “What would people be missing if our brand did not exist?” Who knows where the answer might take you?

Speaking of uncomfortable, it might also be a good time to revisit your brand’s purpose with a critical eye.

And, perhaps more importantly, your commitment to acting on that purpose: “The gap between a brand’s advertising and a company’s actions has been narrowing for years. This crisis will (or should) slam it shut.”

Mayur Gupta thinks this crisis might force marketing to break some bad habits and re-discover its north star. We sincerely hope he’s right.

For this to happen, though, we all need to embrace the spirit of re-invention: “We’re all building the world to come together. This is the work of our lives. Are you ready?”

Issue #91
Apr 12, 2020

Further Reading