It was humorist, Will Rodgers, who observed, “Everything is changing in America. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.” That was 94 years ago. It could have been yesterday.
No matter your political views there’s no denying citizens and consumers, brands and businesses, technology and outreach have dramatically changed in the American landscape and the commercial brandscape. Unfortunately none of those changes are a joke.
Predictions about changes in consumer expectations, categories, and brands shouldn’t be a joke either. They can’t be based on instinct, the conventional, or the historical. Today, if it’s that easy, it’s probably not sufficient for this more dynamic and complex world. And making predictions always tends to be a more popular pastime than actually checking on their accuracy. That happens a lot, particularly when it comes to predictions of consumer behavior and brand performance.
But that shouldn’t be unexpected, particularly when the usual predictions are based on counting “likes” and tweets and shares. You know. The easy stuff. If brands want to both survive and thrive, marketers and brand caretakers must embrace – and manage – change differently.
Emotional engagement and brand loyalty metrics, on the other hand, always point the right direction to what people will actually do, instead of what they say they’re going to do. Or tell you what they did in the past. Emotional engagement is a proven harbinger of change, generally 12 to 18 months before a massive paradigm shift in your category hits you like a pie in the face!
As 2017 came to an end we participated in our annual rite of looking back at what we had to say about change in a variety of categories and for a variety of brands. We examined what we had predicted during the year – online, on TV and radio, at conferences, in blogs, and in professional journals – about how brands elected to act in the marketplace. And then how those activities actually matched up with market results.
In short, to see what happened.
This exercise affirms that our metrics were able to predict where categories and brands were going and how well our emotionally-based engagement metrics can make navigating the coming sea changes far less risky.
Because just like Mr. Rogers also said, “It isn’t what we don’t know that give us troubles, it’s what we know that just ain’t so.”
So take a deep breadth, relax, and tune in again this year, or for the first time, and find out – What Happened?
Hit play on any of the tracks on the right to listen to “What Happened?”