Opinion: How brands can achieve greatness

Opinion: How brands can achieve greatness

Matt Cross, UK MD of Hotwire Global, shares insight into The Pursuit of GREATNESS report and how brands can go from good to great.

Your brand may never achieve greatness. If you were hoping to reach the destination of greatness, you have already missed the point.

This was the overriding message that came out of discussions at an event to launch a new report into The Pursuit of GREATNESS, put together by Hotwire and fellow Enero agency and research gurus The Leading Edge.

Senior marketers and brand specialists from across industries as diverse as fintech, automotive, consumer services and enterprise IT came together to hear about and debate the findings of the report; examining how brands can go from good to great and what the pursuit of greatness really entails.

Working in tech for the last twenty years has shown me time, and time again that innovation without financial success means nothing. You just have to look at cleantech investment to see that the conflict between short term returns and long term gain will severely impact the innovation and adoption of renewable energy.

Make no mistake, the obsession of financial return has a direct knock-on effect on how quickly we can decelerate and then reverse the effects of global warming, yet it continues unabated. To see the conflict between short term returns and long term gain will severely impact the innovation and adoption of renewable energy.

Up until very recently the financial performance of most businesses and the growth of either revenue or profit was valued more highly than the impact that their technology could have on the world or how responsibly the business behaved. Perhaps not by the founders themselves, but often by the key stakeholders funding it, whether private investors or the public markets.

But is this really a bad thing? Well that question is probably a wide-ranging economic, social and political debate for another time, but what is clear from the research is that there has been a significant public shift in the perceptions of what makes a brand good or great. This shift is not within the financially interested parties though; it is within the brands’ core customer audiences.

Social media and internet accessibility have driven a new level of responsibility and accountability on brands (and by proxy, their investors) because they can (and more often than not, should) be called out on their behaviour and actions at any minute by the public at large.

The power which they wield seems to be overtaking the short-term obsession with return on investment (ROI) and shareholder value creation. Whether you agree or not with the rights or validity of “social-mob-think”, the impact that this has on the choice of coffee we drink, the way we vote, the cars we drive and the provenance of our organic root vegetables, is huge; influencing behaviour and actions made by the public at large.

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