The Nature of Change

January 28, 2014

As it approaches the end of January, I’ve been reading through the month variations on a theme around change, whether it’s New Year’s resolutions (I must confess to have committed to nothing this year, relieving myself of any guilt inevitably caused by succumbing to the weakness of breaking them); or from one of my favourite weekly media fixes in the FT Life and Arts section where Tyler Brule recently wrote about the perils of modern day planning with its tendency for blandness at the expense of the idiosyncrasies that aged and less planned streetscapes deliver (having recently visited Hong Kong I can testify to this trend first hand). Mr Brule’s foil in the FT is Harry Eyers whose piece on the source of change being external or internal (Shaken or Stirred) got me thinking about how we adapt to change in our industry.

Slide1Firstly, we do change. It seems every day something that we relied on, indeed found comfort in, is no longer there. I find in most cases in media, the principal of creative destruction applies. We knock something down and rebuild it in a better, faster more efficient way. Programmatic buying and its continued evolution is an example of that. The introduction of programmatic buying is certainly a Shaken change to the industry, provoked by the tech giants like Google and their programmatic money printing machines. There are plenty other examples of this form of provocation, be it newspapers internal wrestling match between their on and offline offerings or television stations hunt for the holy grail of content amongst newer competitive players like Netflix.

It strikes me that Stirred change, that which comes from within, is the much more difficult kind (I’m feeling more shameful about the absence of New Year’s resolutions). It is more difficult, not just because it requires thought, direction and drive, but also because it is reliant on others to take that leap of faith with you and buy your services. We in agencies adapt to the world around us and position our view around how best to navigate this complex world of changing media habits and expectations of how brands should behave. The only certainty, as the saying goes, is change itself. It requires the confidence to embrace that change, adapt one’s offering to the world around us and indeed stir ourselves into giving real business consultancy to our clients. We might shake a few people up along the way.

Tim

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