Originally published on London Daily.
How to use positive conflict to shape your brand’s future.
You know how it is. Your brand has a strong legacy, many people are wedded to a certain set of words and a certain way of thinking. Trying to glimpse the future is a hard process, not the least because there is an accepted way of doing things, a well-known brand mantra and a comfort zone easy to stay within.
The human brain is set up to minimise energy use. Thinking about new possibilities is very energy-consuming, hard and often avoided. So we humans rely on instinct, what went before, and what everyone else does. We rely on heuristics.
There is enough uncertainty at the moment, surely the last thing we need to do is shake everything up?
Yet shake them up we must. No one can afford to coat-tail on yesterday’s logic for too long.
Markets change, attitudes develop, technologies flourish, channels evolve, and people grow.
Sometimes it takes some grit in the oyster. Steve Jobs wouldn’t take no for an answer when he wanted glass strong enough to cover the entire iPhone. He went to China, found a defunct factory which used to make such glass and asked then to reopen. Impossible, really, but he did it.
So the question is; how do you gather and enthuse a team around new thinking? How do you jump off the logic train? How do you direct energy to the difficult task of finding a new positioning? How can you ask difficult questions?
Our view is that positive conflict prevents the ossification of the system by exerting pressure for innovation and creativity.
Building effective, trusted relationships with clients is vital – but it’s not always a smooth process and can take time. Our approach to the journey with our clients is unexpected and unusual. Rather than avoid conflict – we court it. In fact, we ‘collide’ with them head-on and we do that through a proprietary process called Collisions.
This process puts the brand front and centre. And ultimately we are looking for a different perspective, to really see the brand. A combination of fresh eyes and brutal honesty reveals the truth.
On a number of occasions, brand leaders who have gone through the process, alike it to a psychiatrist’s couch.
And it takes a concerted effort to get a bigger perspective, a new view, to move from entrenched positions, to evolve and to innovate. And whilst we don’t need anything as large as the Hadron Collider for this process – it is, nonetheless, a leap of faith and relies on trust.
Key learnings for brand leaders
Isobel’s Collisions process has helped shape communications and marketing strategies for a number of household brands including: Savills, JET and Brewdog. Senior brand leaders trusting an agency partner to take them down an often un-trodden path littered with obstacles in search of the very best and most illuminating collisions.
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