People don’t like ambiguity. In fact, we dislike it so much, we all have a resolving mind that helps us make sense of the world around us by constantly turning ambiguity into certainty. It is our resolving mind that leads us to unconsciously form expectations of brands, categories and situations and it enables us to organise our thoughts so that we can make decisions on a daily basis.
However, today’s world presents our resolving mind with some difficulties. As the Harvard Business Review described in years’ past, and as we say in MCCP, we are now living in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous). In a world that is politically, socially and technologically in a constant state of flux. We are struggling to make sense of the world around us and as a result it is more difficult than ever before for us to form expectations. The true irony is that despite having more information at the tips of our fingers than any time in history, we are being pushed to accept ambiguity on a scale never seen before.
Although it goes against the certainty seeking tendancy of our resolving mind, we have come to accept and are becoming more comfortable with the fact that ambiguity is now part of life. As consumers, we have evolved to handle this new reality of daily ambiguity by becoming solutions focused and seeking out brands that can help us solve the problems in our lives. We have accepted that consistency and predictability no longer exist, and instead our resolving mind now demands relevance as a mechanism for surviving in today’s world.
Solutions that are relevant give consumers the ability to be agile and responsive in our context, which is needed in today’s world of constant flux. This craving for relevance transpires through our increasing desire and demand from brands to provide us with solutions that are immediate, flexible, and highly impactful in terms of both the product and experience that they offer. As consumer continually evaluate and re-evaluates their perceptions of brands based on how they helped them solve their problems the last time they occurred, there is no place for brands that do not invest and prioritise in being continually relevant.
Relevance must become the new mindset for brands. This craving for relevance transpires through our increasing desire for solutions that are immediate, flexible, and highly impactful. Relevance is the new normal.
What this means for you and your brand
This poses difficulties for brands as it makes it more difficult for them to form long-lasting relationships with today’s less loyal consumers who just want their problems solved. However, the upside is that brands are no longer confined to the strict boundaries of their category. What brands and categories defined themselves in the past or present, does not have to be the only reality of their future. Instead, they have increased permission to cross category lines, and break the rules. In MCCP we have worked with many clients and have learned that in order to leverage this newly bestowed permission, the opportunity for brands is to adopt an innovation mindset that will enable them to remain relevant with todays consumers.
In MCCP, we have also recognised that in order to adopt an innovation mindset, brands need to do three things;
Firstly, they need to be more comfortable in ambiguity and to break away from the mental restrictions that they have defined themselves by. They need to think about the definition of their category and brand and identify where exactly they are adding value. What customers define as value is constantly changing so brands need to think strategically and be agile enough to adapt according, even if this means entering new categories.
Secondly, brands need to recognise that innovation is no longer a choice, but a strategic imperative for brands who want to be relevant in todays world. Brands who do not innovate will simply lose relevance with customers. It is important to remember that innovation does not always need to be breakthrough concepts, but that it just needs to solve the ever-evolving needs of people today.
Thirdly, in order to adopt a solution focused approach, brands need to go into the trenches with their consumers in order to have an intimate understanding of their needs. This is crucial in order to maintain long-term relevance.
At MCCP, our ability to uncover human insight, understand business and market contexts and interpret consumer trends gives us the capability to instil an innovative mindset into our client’s organisations. Our local presence helps brands identify what really matters to consumers in their context and our global focus helps brands identify transformative opportunities to capitalise on. In this new age of constant flux, now is the time for brands to prioritise and recognise that innovation is a strategic imperative in order for them to remain relevant.