NEW YORK: Communicators will play a larger role in shaping companies' business strategies in 2013 as the US economy becomes increasingly driven by creativity and entrepreneurship, according to a report from Allison+Partners.
The agency's 2013 “Naked Culture Trend Outlook” pointed to a “new age of engagement” in which creativity and technological product innovation will have a greater influence on business, politics, and other industries. For example, Microsoft focused on its pixel technology and design when it launched its Surface tablet and Windows 8 operating system last year, said Allison+Partners creative development officer Billee Howard.
“Instead of focusing on just raw technology, they focused on the pixel by putting a heavy emphasis on art and design to relaunch their brand. That's an amazing transformation,” she said. “This new emphasis will drive culture and business, but it also poses an enormous opportunity for communications. Instead of communications being a vehicle for communicating business strategy, it becomes part of the business strategy.”
A new era of engagement means communicators must also come up with a new set of metrics to reflect changes in how consumers connect with brands, the report noted. Insights and cultural relevance should support traditional metrics, Howard added.
“It's not a replacement of more traditional methods of measurement, but we need to come up with metrics that support a whole new swath of services. Because of technology and the enormity of data we have at our fingertips, we have new types of insights available that hopefully will make everything we are doing more informed,” she said.
The report also highlighted the need for a “chief engagement officer” in the C-suite to drive engagement with consumers. This responsibility can be undertaken by CMOs, CCOs, or even chief information officers, Howard explained.
“It's not about creating a new position, but it's the idea that whoever is in charge of driving any type of strategy needs to be focused on not just selling something but on driving meaningful engagement, because that's what's going to drive business success,” she added. “Brands are not just agents of products anymore, but of connection and societal transformation.”