I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the world is experiencing a biblical level of adversity right now.
A global health pandemic, the Ukraine war, extreme weather, collapsing economies and currencies, food shortages, melting ice caps, asteroids heading for earth. The prevailing media narrative can be pretty scary, pretty 10 plagues-like.
But whether you believe in the 10 plagues of Egypt or not, I think there is something about that story that rings true in real life; in the face of unimaginable adversity, there is only one option – to be positively bonkers. When water turned to blood and pestilence, death and darkness swept over Egypt, it was one man with conviction and a big bold idea – to part the Red Sea – which made those without hope feel like there was a way forward and something better to believe in.
Often the stories committed to legend like this are remembered for a reason – they have a very human truth at the centre. And this is a story embellished over generations to make a dramatic yet enduring point; that Moses’ faith and optimism in a big bold vision works.
The mighty story of Moses might just provide some teachings for us today as we try to navigate an uncertain and difficult landscape. That’s not to say brands need to part the seas to succeed in 2022, but as we navigate an uncertain landscape, don’t we need positively bonkers ideas to take a never before trodden path, a path that many more will believe in and follow them down?
There are few more modern examples that hold true. Direct Line’s legendary fixer Winston Wolf stepping into the fold to save the direct insurance category, turning decline around with ‘high performance’ solutions that most brands of that scale wouldn’t’ have had the guts to deliver. Let alone use a gory gangster as the ambassador of the campaign.
The Fairtrade choice and their iconic movement, built on steady cast iron standards to ensure consumers will always have a choice that genuinely enables us to build a fairer world, to choose the world you want. And a cult favourite at 2050 – Little Black Book. An open global publishing platform for all, empowering even the tiniest most fringe creative voice to get heard. The sound of their icon, the roaring worm, reverberates through their mission and creative culture.
So now more than ever 2050 think it’s crucial for brands to be positively bonkers in what they say and do if they want people to follow them. It means leading and acting with courage. Developing unfamiliar crazy visions that seek to positively change things, so services and products offer a better way.
And to bring it back to old Mo again, brands need to do things that enable captivating and distinctive stories the world wants to take notice of. Create positively bonkers brand worlds that force their way into pop culture. Worlds that transport audiences for a fleeting moment to an inspiring, magical new reality so they feel positively energised.
The kind of story your gran will tell you about years later i.e. ‘In my day Apple was a little challenger, have you seen The Crazy Ones advert…?’ I could insert more case studies and tons of marketing science data about the power of visionary heroic positionings, or how positivity, and entertaining stories build brands effectively in popular culture. But I think you know it’s all valuable.
So, if you want to lead, if you want to change your future, and if the ten plagues are upon us be positively bonkers. And if you can’t, 2050 will show you how.