Today’s talk addresses what the advertising industry needs to do to reinvigorate itself, if not simply to survive. Advertising must first begin by helping brands recognize that the future of profit is purpose. Brands need to convey to consumers that they add meaning to life rather than simply feeding self-destructive consumer greed. Instead, advertisers and their brands need to show consumers a sincere vision of a better future infused with values, consistency, and transparency. As such advertisers and brands must ultimately become architects of community, helping brands engage with consumers and build sincere relationships based on loyalty, empathy and trust.
The most powerful tool in this transition is social media, the focus of this talk. Advertisers no longer hold monopoly control over the story behind their brands, as consumers are now able to write, distribute and curate brand content around the web. Between social networks, video, mobile phones, and location-based applications, consumers now have the power, the channels of communication, and the personal connection to endorse or condemn brand messaging or behavior. Advertising needs to adjust accordingly. In fact, everything about how advertising communicates to consumers needs to be reversed—push must become pull, talking needs to be replaced by listening, and monologues must transform in to active, daily dialogues.
Ultimately, the future of advertising lies in making capitalism sustainable. To that end advertising must master social media and take control of the stewardship of their brand partners in this new intimately connected global community. By doing so, advertising will not only ensure its own future but transform capitalism into an engine of global prosperity.