I’ve been privileged to work with forward-thinking, open-minded, adventurous and risk-embracing clients who were and are, willing to imagine the future. The question is, what type of client are you?
Adventurous, risk-embracing, change ready?
Every creative thinking strategist wants at least one of these in their lifetime. Most ‘clients’ are prudent. There’s simply too much risk betting on imagination when there is so much uncertainty in our world.
My context right now, is a book I am reading that speaks to the heart, excites your mind, gets your brain popping. I’m loving it so much, I visualize neurons dancing; connecting in my brain as possibilities make themselves visible and achievable. The book is Imagine it Forward by Beth Comstock, Former Vice Chair at GE.
The book resonates because Beth Comstock resonates. I too started my career in PR, moved into media and both had great bosses who became incredible mentors. I too lacked confidence but, like her, learnt to fake it till I made it. That’s where it the likeness ends. She went on to become one of the world’s 100 most powerful women.
Imagine it Forward offers a wealth of insights and formula’s, tried and tested by the big guns (GE in particular) providing the reasons why, to take on, and meet the challenges of humanity and technology. Yes, both. They do not exist in isolation.
The formula for taking on humanity and technology
It’s a little about confidence, a lot about overcoming fear, mostly about imagination and all about embracing change. Technology is here to stay but, unlike the industrial revolution, where machines changed over time, over years actually, technology changes almost every second. There is no downtime. We are a constantly connected world.
Why I’m telling you this and why I am asking what type of client you are, is really because we know change is pervasive, constant and consistent. It’s just the pace that varies. That’s where humanity comes in. You, me and the next person. As clients, are we keeping up with change? Or do we live in the big D. Denial of where we need to go and what’s happening around us? Here’s an example, an important one. Have you stepped into the ring on digital yet? And to what extent? Are you listening to your agency, have you employed a team of digital ninjas yet? Sigh. Breathe. Don’t stop reading.
I too was one of those thoughts that by talking to old friends on Facebook or doing my fair share of online stalking (otherwise known as research) I was doing rather well. (Screeching tire to a standstill – SFX)
Let me use this example, a harsh lesson I learnt a few times in the past 2 years. Do you believe that, because your website looks great and you’ve got +500 people following your Facebook business page then you can step back and watch your EBITDA grow? If this is where you’re at and willing to stay, best you start imagining an early retirement.
It really is time to embrace change and find out what this means. Time to immerse yourself in the language and world of digital marketing. Bring words like backlinks, SEO, pixels, SEM, and video into your dialogue, the sooner you do, this, the sooner you kick start imagination and surrender control and certainty to the gods, the greater your rewards.
My take on certainty: It’s a myth!
Certainty is dangerous as it lends itself to control or comfort zones, no results from comfort zones ever made you richer or happier; there simply is no growth in comfort. As for control, my invitation here would be to take a deep breath and accept; go read the serenity prayer again. Somethings are just not meant to be controlled. Most times, letting things take their natural or creative course is what results in spectacular moments of joy, awe, and wonder. Imagine this was your brand. You’ve taken a risk (that dreaded word), you’ve invested yourself, learned new skills (including how to take more risks and have more fun while doing it) and today, your clients or customers sit in awe and wonder at your brand, your product or service.
In a digital world, awe and wonder equate to ‘going viral’. Where, completely out of your control, people like, share and comment on whatever you’ve imagined and set free. It’s a risk as it can sometimes not be a good thing but risks come with change, change comes with imagination and deliberate intent, not a certainty.
Imagine how Dropbox feel now, after challenging Steve Jobs for cloud space, all those years ago. How Google feel after buying a little tech company in 2006, called YouTube. How Twitter feel after turning down Facebook’s offer of $500 million.
Apple – the greatest risk takers of them all. From desktop computers to MacBook’s to phones to revolutionising the music industry. Can you imagine all the failures along the way, the risks taken, in order to become in 2018 the richest company in the world?
If you’re reading this, you already know this. But it’s what you don’t know that you’re afraid of and what makes you run for the decision by committee. Let me provide a real life example, where I am experiencing too many businesses, (as the old saying goes) cutting their noses off to spite their faces.
I read earlier, around planning your business success. It’s important, especially, if you don’t already know that. You see, if you’re going to start imagining your business success, ‘video’ will need to be a part of it. In fact, it will be one of the first things you’ll discover in your digital journey and that is, that Video is the new black. It’s pretty much the holy grail of marketing right now. Except, it’s a lot more accessible. Facebook believes that by 2020, Facebook will be all video. So if you’re looking to market your brand on Facebook, now is the time to either hire that videographer and editor or find yourself a sexy little agency (like Boost Collective Cape Town) to be the future for you.
I invite you to be that client, the one who embraces change, takes risks, is open to new learnings is patient, knowing that all good things take time. Therefore inviting spectacular moments of awe and wander around your business and brand. Imagine that!