The Demand for Brand Agility

For me, the modern marketing groove happens when leading a team relentlessly focused on getting a meaningful experience to people ASAP. Whether it was updating HTML on the fly in my first job at Digital River, building out prototypes at Colle+McVoy to prove out ideas, or partnering with communities to make good ideas great at General Mills … I’ve always valued challenging the status quo of the prolonged planning process.

The good news is that the tools and technology at our fingertips today make getting ideas into market easier than ever. Coincidentally, companies struggle to increase the shipping rate of their ideas. In other words, the opportunity for brands to ship is high. Yet, adapting an agile mindset remains a challenge.

As evidenced by The Lean Startup movement, the demand to be agile far outweighs the supply. Yes, this movement sheds light on the critical importance of a responsive operating system. However, people’s interest in agility has been on the rise since the mid-90’s (source: Ngram Viewer).

This isn’t surprising given the web started to scale (e.g., browsers, e-mail, e-commerce) it’s utility right around that time. The demand for brand agility became even more pronounced in 2000 as the web became more searchable, social and mobile. As hardware starting catching up with software in the mid-2000’s, we experienced another spark of consumer-driven demand for fluidity.

We’re at a point where brands can no longer afford to ignore the demand for brand agility. If you do, you’ll find yourself in the race to the bottom while chasing its persistent upward trend. Imagine how the Ngram Viewer agility trend line would play out from 2008 on. I would expect a continued uptick.

Don’t let the status quo of the prolonged planning get the best of you. Rather than invest in more traditional market research, head over to or Betterific and identify insights based on real-time conversation. Take a flyer on Comm Checks and publish an imperfect idea to your Facebook community. Decline the pre-alignment meeting for alignment and spend your time doing. Sidestep thinking you have an original idea and partner with someone who shares your values and acts on a like-minded purpose.

Whatever you do, remind yourself of people’s demand for brand agility. It will positively impact the quantity (and quality!) of ideas in market. Which hopefully inspires your modern marketing groove.