The context does not change in a regular or ordered way, and rarely undergoes drastic changes, despite affirmations about our “era of discontinuity and turbulence.”
The majority of the time, however, change is slight and temporary, and in many cases does not even require a strategic response. Although from time to time there does happen to be a truly significant disruption or a change in the environment around us (albeit less frequently), where everything important seems to change all at once. These situations, although critical, are also easy to recognise.
The real challenge in creating a strategy lies in detecting the ‘subtle disruptions’ which can undermine a company or even a sector in the future. Such disruptions are unexpected and irregular, essentially unprecedented. They can only be dealt with by minds that are in tune with existing patterns and are capable of perceiving disruptions.
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Understood as the company’s strategic platform, it is vital for the brand to select and manage disruptions that occur from time to time and that really matter.
Building a brand with a conscience that is prepared for the future involves anticipating patterns to create points of reference and metaphors with a personal touch, mastering the details and boosting the sense of harmony and integration.
It is about developing the capacity to detect these emerging patterns and shape them. It is as if the branding goes beyond pre-conceiving specific strategies, recognising unexpected disruptions and developing an emerging and fluid system of solutions.
However, this should not be done in haste and with urgency, given that at times, what may be good for tomorrow may be disastrous today. Some patterns have to be left to evolve to see if their effects manifest themselves loudly and clearly.
As such, useful patterns will be incorporated into the brand’s formal strategy, even if this means a drastic change in its scope.
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In order to anticipate and execute in this context it is necessary to create a climate in which a wide variety of strategies can grow. In more complex organisations, this can mean the construction of flexible structures, the hiring of creative personnel or the definition of higher ambitions at an institutional level, and therefore, the means to be able to detect emerging patterns.
Reconcile change and continuity
Brands that coincide in environments with radical disruptions need to keep the “quantum theory” of change in mind. Some of the new patterns must be controlled until the brand is ready for a strategic revolution, or at least a period of divergence.
Even if the strategy is a word that is generally associated with the future, the fact remains that its link with the past is central. As the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said:
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”
Companies have to live their brand strategy in the future, but they must understand it through the past; reconciling legacy with aspirations.
Just like potters at the wheel, brands must have some idea of the past if they hope to see it through to the future.
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Only by understanding the patterns making up the essence of the brand itself can its abilities and potential be known.
Therefore, the creation of crafted branding also requires a natural synthesis of the future, present and past.