Analysis & Opinion

Staying ahead

February 24, 2011 MullenLowe

I thought I’d share a presentation I recently made at a management offsite. One of the characteristics we believe defines Mullen is a willingness to constantly embrace change. And despite some of our successes over the last year – making the AdAge A-list, being named among the most innovative marketing companies by Fast Company – we’re determined to get better.

When you consider that YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are all barely five years old; that social media remains in its infancy; and that mobile, LBS and smartphones are an even greater novelty, there are only two things we can be sure of. Faster change is inevitable. And we have no idea what’s really going to happen. Still, we have to prepare.

We believe there are six trends that are, however, inevitable:

  1. Marketers will become less dependent on messages.
  2. Brands will focus on more ways to be interesting, relevant and useful.
  3. The future of narratives will be networked storytelling.
  4. Real time will become the new ordinary.
  5. A new generation of talent will want to invent and build things rather than say things.
  6. Our industry will see all kinds of new competitors.

So what does that mean? We need new skills. It’s time to embrace design thinking, identify and recruit more T-shaped talent, master what I call modern collaboration, and get better at building things.

Perhaps the best way to achieve that is to understand the obstacles to innovation and invent the future without anyone from the present. Build Box 3, so to speak (Box 1 is your current business model; Box 2 is learning to forget the past; Box 3 is inventing the future).

Can’t tell you yet exactly what we have in mind. But stay tuned. Or better yet, consider coming to work here and helping us do it.