India Brand Conclave: The future of brands is disruption: Benedict Gordon, Superunion

At exchange4media India Brand Conclave, Benedict Gordon, CEO-Asia, Superunion hinted that brands must engage with consumers by building experiences that go beyond the product

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 30, 2019 12:17 PM
Benedict Gordon Superunion

Whether it’s Nike, and their attempt to transform gender stereotypes, Tesla’s powerful new forms of energy, or even Netflix and the rise of television streaming apps, there will always be room for disruption in the consumer world.

However, with a marketplace that’s more crowded than ever and shifts experienced in unprecedented ways, brands need to do more to create a meaningful difference in the consumer's minds. In the age of experience, brands need to put creativity at the heart of the business to capture their audience’s attention - meaning a clear point of view, designing to disrupt, platform thinking and innovation will be the keys for those who want to get ahead. At the high-powered India Brand Conclave event, Benedict Gordon, CEO-Asia, Superunion weighed in on how the future of brands is disruption.

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“The future of brands has always been disruption, what’s different today is the rate of change,” remarked Gordon. According to him, in the age of experience, brands need to put creativity at the heart of the business. He remarked that with the changing consumers, their attitudes, behaviours and habits changing, they are expecting innovative experiences from brands.

Gordon characterised the state of brands today as VUCA, an acronym which was coined by the U.S. Army in the 1990s to describe the post-cold war world. The idea of VUCA has since been embraced to describe the nature of the world in which we operate: the accelerating rate of change (volatility), the lack of predictability (uncertainty), the interconnectedness, of cause-and-effect forces (complexity) and the strong potential for misreads (ambiguity). 

“Brands today exist in the world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity,” Gordon asserted. 

Furthermore, he added that sometimes building a brand with true potential isn’t just about figuring out where you fit into your current industry, it’s about finding a new way to break the mould and doing it meaningfully. “Most successful brands are those which disrupt in the most meaningful way,” he contended.

On similar lines, Gordon highlighted the increased focus on sustainability and how it resonates with the growing number of customers willing to pay more for goods that reflect sound ethics, from working conditions to environmental impact.

To move in directions nobody has been before and break the mould, the maestro believes that brands must engage consumers by building experiences by going beyond the product. “ Consumers today, are looking at something beyond the product. They are looking for experiences or memories of experiences that they have, more than the products themselves,” he observed.

When it comes to meaningful disruption, Gordon advised, “Own your Idea and also design to disrupt.” He suggested that brands must go beyond static graphic designing, pack a punch and design to impress, to create a lasting first impression.

Moreover, he hinted that consumers are eventually drawn to authenticity. “Just look at the success of TikTok today. It has more than 200 million subscribers. If you look at the success of TikTok with Gen-Z, its because it is a more authentic platform over some of the others. It’s more fun, playful and real,” Gordon illustrated.

Gordon was certain that for the disruption to happen, brands need not just innovate but also become the beacons of a brighter future. “The future of brands will always be disruption,” he established.

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