In this new blog post written by our founder and MD, Nina Aggarwal reflects on which ‘old time’ skills we are at risk of losing amongst our next generation of marketers as we adopt “agility, flexibility and speed” as key measures of success.
I’ve been sewing by hand recently – something my mother and grandmother taught me as a child. It was considered fundamental to be reasonably proficient in sewing before leaving home. As important as being able to boil an egg and fix a plug. I could have paid someone to do the sewing for me or, no doubt, have them digitally apply the required badges to the garments. But I quite liked taking on the rather rusty dexterous challenge.
As I worked with thimble, needle and thread I got to pondering: what old time skills are we at risk of losing amongst our next generation of marketers as we adopt “agility, flexibility and speed” as key measures of success?
With the need for speed will we forego understanding before we move to activating our marketing plans? Will we simply label clusters of consumers with a generic meaningless title rather than deeply understand them? Will all our time be spent on learning how to work with the latest technology rather than on building any depth of relationship?
Many brands seem to rush to refine or define their brand positioning as they fit it in to brand planning at the last minute, or react to market place changes. This pressure and pace results in an inability or unwillingness to take the time to talk with, or listen to, consumers. Instead the race is on to put plans into action.
The irony is that with technological advances we are, in theory, able to have richer one to one conversations. And yet the speed that technology brings seems to provide a reason to forego investing in building understanding of who our brands exist for.
Yet we all agree that without understanding and empathy with our consumers these technical skills will be wasted. If we only focus on how to interact with consumers and not why they would care to, we risk creating only short term transactions and eroding our brand equity. If we only focus on how to interact with consumers and not why they would care to, we risk creating only short term transactions and eroding our brand equity. Getting close doesn’t have to take a long time. We need to prevent the need for speed replacing the value that getting close to our consumers brings to a brand, however brief the encounters are.
RESURRECTION AND HOPE
7.7m people now say they run up their own clothes as a hobby. According to Hobbycraft, the UK’s biggest arts and crafts retailer, sales of patterns for both sewing and knitting soared 60% in 2016. Sales of sewing machines have climbed nearly 30%. (Source: Zoe Wood The Guardian January 2017)
If sewing can be resurrected in an era led by agility and speed then I have hope that those of us who have been around long enough to know the power of great consumer insight can keep the art of understanding, along with the skill of turning understanding into commercially and consumer beneficial insight, alive.