In many areas of sport – and more broadly life – reaction speed is a crucial element of success. Of course there is more to success than simply being the fastest to the draw, but as the popular phrases says;
He who hesitates is lost.
In the aftermath of the United Kingdom referendum, a new newspaper has sprung into existence – the New European. It is designed and written for the 48% of the voters who didn’t want the UK to leave the EU. It has some really interesting writers involved and no words from politicians. And the whole project has taken … nine days! Yes, that is right – a national newspaper has been conceived, designed and printed in just nine days.
This is not a piece about new newspapers. But it is about agility, speed and clarity of thinking.
So what can we learn from the New European?
Identify your target market
The New European has picked a clearly identified group – those on the ‘remain’ side of the independence referendum. The team behind the paper even have the opportunity to identify where its target market are most likely to live – London, Liverpool, Manchester, Scotland, Bristol, Brighton and so on.
This means that the editorial team and the sales team know who and where to target.
For brands, understanding who to target is a minimum requisite. If you are then able to work out where those people are – whether that is in a physical location or where they direct their attention – then you can better get your messages to them.
Give interesting people a voice
The paper proudly announced that;
The New European will provide in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as a celebration of European life and culture with contributions from some of the most respected journalists and opinion formers from the UK and Europe.
Tellingly the paper’s editor has made it absolutely clear that politicians are banned. Their voice will not be heard. Almost certainly the reason for that is that politicians are not trusted to write anything that does not have a hidden (or more obvious) agenda to further their own political aims.
Brands should think about the voices that talk about their products or services in a similar way. Try to think about people who can talk about what you make or do and do not have a vested interest. That is the way to create authentic content and start genuine conversation around your brand. Because as with the New European and the Brexit / Remain organisations, the conversations are being had and they cannot be controlled. So they should simply be listened to and embraced.
The final lesson that we would like to extract from the story of the New European, is about speed.
Well planned, perfectly crafted communication strategies and marketing campaigns have a place in every organisation. But they do not allow a brand to respond quickly to shifts in the landscape. If there is one defining characteristic of the way that people consume and engage with one another, with global events and with brands or organisations, it is that the velocity and volume are increasing.
If you want to respond to anything taking place in the public domain now, you have to consider the lead times; monthly magazines take, well months, really. Television advertising can be done in days, but the planning takes time. Using daily newspapers at the very best take 24 hours. To move at the speed of a digitally connected world, social networks and influencers are the best option. Anything else is old news by the time it is out.
So what does this all mean for someone thinking about how a brand can engage with consumers quickly? The answer is that you need to work out where your audience is (not so much geographically, although that might help, but more where they are lavishing their attention). Then you need to give authentic people a chance to voice their thoughts and tell their stories. And finally you need to do all of this fast.
Get those things right and you will be revered by your target audience. Which might be the 48%.