Working at authenticity

9 April 2008 at 11:21 am 1 comment

Becky Rowe writes:

We held a breakfast briefing a few days ago to talk about what Millennials – that fast emerging 16-25 cohort – want. Yannis Kavounis (our Director of Innovation and wannabe Millennial) suggested that the answer is authenticity and innovation. Innovation is easy to understand but difficult to do well – putting customers first, pushing the boundaries of technology, re-mixing and recombining the old to create something refreshing and new all sounds pretty easy – but turning that into sales can be a minefield. In contrast, authenticity is both difficult to understand and difficult to do – juggling honesty and transparency, and staying true to the brand, whilst taking into account environmental and ethical concerns while keeping an eye on the bottom line. It requires a significant shift in the way the most companies do business.

They may be difficult to achieve, but there are rewards to be had. The interesting thought of the day for me was that the Millennials’ interest in these two qualities are levelling the playing field between big and small companies. The days of the big brand reaping the rewards simply for being big are over – it just isn’t enough anymore. But it seems that the days of Naomi Klein’s No Logo may have passed as well. For Millennials, it isn’t about big brand versus small brand or good versus evil. It is about how well a company (big or small) can deliver on those two core values of authenticity and innovation. So the new marketing battleground isn’t about the ‘coolest’, but about the ‘best’.

The big companies obviously have a head start and could win by throwing money at it, but trying to change the shape of their existing business models, may be more of a challenge. The smaller, more dynamic companies are likely to have less likely to be constrained by ‘the way we do things around here’, and could win by being better at spotting opportunities, but may not be so good at thinking through all the implementation issues. The Millennials seem happy for either – but whichever way you look at, they want you to put some effort into it.

Entry filed under: brands, innovation, millennials.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. philipchallis  |  24 February 2010 at 7:23 pm

    TV manufacturers are a case in point and being the biggest is no longer the route to greater sales. Innovation and authenticity have been key to smaller, by comparison, manufacturers in winning the hearts and soul of the consumer. I believe that we also now live in a more informed world so while you purchase by brand the fact is not everything that brand puts out is as top notch as you might expect. Additionally manufacturers have caught on to producing TV’s which are much more environmentally friendly even to the extent of offering a £200 cash back to be eco friendly.

    More detail here –TV HDREADY


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The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

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