Anderson said the solution isn’t to pay high-priced advisors who can escort a big brand through the digital wilderness. While organizations like Pepsi or Mondelez are too big to keep pace with the digital revolution, they’ve developed independent, nimble internal teams designed to adapt to change.
“We have parts of the business that are entirely unencumbered by scale,” said Jakeman.
Mondelez has a growth team that meets weekly to communicate across business sectors (finance, supply chain, regional, marketing, etc.) without the laborious process of running every idea up a series of flagpoles.
Brand investments in teams dedicated to growth underscore a growing neurosis: According to a report released Thursday by the ANA and McKinsey, marketers are increasingly concerned about “the impact of threats from more agile competitors.” Last year, 51% of brands’ tech investments were meant to retain a competitive edge. That percentage grew to 66% this year.
But as Jakeman said, even disruptors are being disrupted. The ride-sharing company Lyft is embracing a marketing ethos of flexibility over stability, said CMO Kira Wampler. “Our best customers today are the most likely to resist tomorrow’s advancements,” she said.
“You should be associating yourself with people or ideas you wouldn’t have been comfortable with [in the recent past],” said Jeff Charney, CMO at the insurance company Progressive.
And that goes double for agencies. Jakeman said that unless agencies pivot quickly away from a model they’re comfortable with, “the global agency will become a dinosaur concept.”
While a company like Pepsi might have once produced four TV commercials per year, each taking four months and costing about $2 million, now the company is producing literally hundreds of pieces of marketing content, each of which needs to happen in days and cost roughly $20,000.
“The big question,” posited Jakeman, “is: Are we as an industry structured to deliver this?”