In a world of constant change and uncertainty, brands are discovering that in order to stay relevant in the marketplace and engage forward-thinking consumers, they must continually plan and strategize for the future. It is not only unwise to remain stationary in today’s rapidly changing marketplace but it is fatal to a brand’s relevance with consumers in the market. Markets are changing overnight and today’s trends are becoming yesterday’s history.
In order to plan for this continually evolving future, brands are increasingly developing strategies for how to become “future present.” Being future-present involves implementing strategies and tactics today to plan for and leverage the future in order to ensure brand effectiveness and success moving forward. While making your brand future-present may seem like a daunting challenge, there are several steps that your brand can take to make certain that it is not only well-prepared for the future but also actively shaping that future.
Three Ways to Make Your Brand Future Proof
- Analyze the Situation. In order to effectively leverage change for your brand’s success in the future, it is crucial to understand and openly discuss this change. It is not sufficient to just understand what change is taking place but why this change is occurring. Analyzing cultural norms, political shifts, and societal trends will enable brands to better comprehend why changes occur when they do. For example, in order to understand changing consumer desires, brands must evaluate what external factors are contributing to these changing trends, whether they be social, psychological, or emotional. Once brands understand the why behind marketplace changes, they can better prepare when they begin to see the signals of future change in the market. For example, we have a jewelry customer that serves both the consumer, but also the professional market. They noticed that the professional market was changing rapidly which was creating a huge opportunity. From our perspective, this means that website content needs to evolve to meet the needs of both markets which in turns impact our search engine optimization recommendations.
- Plan for Change. Once brands have sufficiently understood why changes take place within the market, they can then begin to anticipate these changes. By staying in touch with consumer desires and cultural shifts, brands can better predict market trends. This process of anticipating changes may require that brands survey consumers about what they are looking for in brands and products. After these trends are correctly identified, brands can then begin to plan for which trends they are willing to capitalize on and what trends they do not see as a viable or lucrative investment. I highly recommend considering using tools such as Google Trends to also analyze possible trends and opportunities.
- Act Today. While it is advisable for brands to begin planning for the future now, the brands that will ultimately have the most influential presence in the marketplace are the brands that begin to change their decisions regarding the future now. Brands must take advantage of the present in order to shape the future. I highly recommend having routine site traffic audits, competitive site analysis, and also watching for potential opportunities that you can leverage moving forward.
Next Steps. One such way to strategically determine present decisions is to calculate the risks your brand is willing to take in order to engage consumers. While rash decisions will spell disaster for your brand, the lack of risk-taking in a corporate strategy is also a lethal plan. In the current market, brands are increasingly willing to take major risks in the hopes of an even bigger reward. Risk-taking is perhaps one of the most challenging yet rewarding components of making a brand future-present. In order to shape decisions regarding the future today, brands have to be willing to take the risks necessary to experiment and innovate. Indeed, brands cannot succeed if they do not allow themselves the opportunity to fail or at least not hit a home-run every time.
Additionally, this willingness to take risks should be encouraged in every department within a business. It is not simply a business strategy. Innovation and experimentation should be second nature for brand marketers. If businesses successfully develop such ways to encourage innovation amongst their employees as well as plan for and leverage change today, they will ultimately be successful at creating a future present brand.