The Principles of Post-Advertising

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Five factors are changing the types of products that succeed today and how they engage with their audiences.

Marketing has become an arms race that’s led to hollow value and stifled innovation. Bad products with lots of media muscle can steamroll good ones with less resources. The competition of overcrowded categories creates brands trying to outspend each other with ads that grow increasingly detached from reality.

The post-advertising world is not one without advertising, but one where our use of traditional ads and brands has peaked and a new model for growth is emerging. Five areas play a key role in shaping this change — lessons from the businesses leveraging these, offer a potent blueprint for success:

1. Meaningful improvement
Brands have made businesses lazy. Competition has become matching competitors’ offerings and winning in the margins, while much energy is spent in the battle of perceptions. Look at how similar Mercedes and BMW’s offerings are. Their models and pricing almost mirror each other. They spend a fortune trying to convince us how different they are.

People are inundated with choices in many categories, while brands find more safety in matching each other than offering something new. Adidas makes knitted sneakers. Nike makes knitted sneakers. Who was first? It doesn’t matter — it’s not meaningful progress.
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