Thoughts on Adweek’s Webinar “How Your Brand Can Withstand Disruption”

bright purple and blue gradient blog banner image

Though there isn’t much (or any) positivity having a rapid pandemic make its way around the globe, there have been some positive environmental impacts reported, and for us in Adland, there are Adweek’s plethora of webinars to look forward to. It’s the little things, right!?  TBM HQ attended one presented by Elizabeth Real, President of the Strativity Group, and James Lanyon, Chief Strategy Officer, T3 titled “How Your Brand Can Withstand Disruption.”


How to Withstand Disruption

Of course, any brand that’s been around for a good amount of time has dealt with a disruption of some kind, whether internal or external, small or large scale. But what of course is notable about the disruption that faces all of us now is the sheer enormity and all-encompassing nature of it. Regardless of whether you’re a large corporation, a small business, have decades behind you, or an intimate team of staff, your company has no doubt been affected by the events unfolding around the world. And then along comes a webinar on how to withstand disruption!? You can see why we were so interested to hear what they had to say!


Human Solutions Require Deep Human Understanding

Interestingly enough, their presentation focused very little on external circumstances, financial graphs, or figuring out how to turn profits around again as quickly as possible. Instead, they built a five-point plan somewhat based on the idea that “human solutions require deep human understanding” and went on to highlight the importance of client, consumer, and employee care above all else when withstanding disruption.

Their presentation had compelling data and insight behind each point of their outline:

  1. Understand
  2. Communicate
  3. Arm
  4. Plan
  5. Co-create

But it was the second point, Communication, that stuck out most to us here at TBM and the key takeaway from that section of the presentation: “If you’re not living and speaking your purpose now, it’s not really your purpose.”

Advertisers and brands love to have manifestos, creeds, policies, and a stated purpose but what Real and Lanyon have underlined is that now is the time for those oft-flouted purpose statements we’ve spent so long crafting to come to life. Now is the time that your agency or brand will show its true purpose in the face of one of the biggest disruptions of our time. The question that remains to be answered is: Are the two congruent?


Change is Inevitable

Uncertainty in these times is a given for consumers, clients, and employees but the pivotal point for brands and companies is that changes are inevitable. Consumers will change their minds, employees will look for reassurance, and clients may have to rethink costs.

In the face of all of this, communication becomes one of the most important things that any brand, company or agency can do when hoping to withstand such disruption.

Consumers are very aware of the risks and dangers that exist in our world now and for companies of any kind to be wavering, or not making clear, informed decisions on how to support their employees and clients edges nearer to the status of unacceptable with each passing day. Companies and businesses of every kind are being called upon to make ethical decisions that pivot business strategies, protect employees, consumers, and clients, and aim to future-proof operations. Consumers and clients are seeking companies whose purpose and values are rooted in consciousness and decency.

Adjust to the New Reality

Here at The Bannermen, our team is our life and livelihood. We’ve been able to enjoy the privilege of working from home for the past few weeks. Offline meetings and activities have moved online and our management team is in constant communication with our developers, designers and other team members making sure everyone feels as safe and stable as possible in a world of such unpredictability. We will adjust as an industry, a company, and a global collective. But it’s important for us that when we are adjusted to our new reality and on the other side of this social distancing life, the adjustments we made were right, were thoughtful, and were with the best intents.

In fact, our response to, handling, and withstanding the disruption that is COVID-19 has become one of the most important things in our generation. As employers, employees, students, faculty, individuals—our response as a species will be a mirror for the remainder of our time and for the ones who come after us.