Evolution Shift
A Future Look at Today
November 12th, 2014

Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing

We have entered one of the most transformative, disruptive times in the history of brands and marketing. The ever-accelerating rate of change in almost every aspect of communications, technology, media, social change and connectivity has left brand marketers struggling just to stay current.

It is this reality that led me to collaborate with brand and market research guru Owen Shapiro to write “Brand Marketing: The Future of Brands and Marketing” which was published in September.

I have had a several year relationship with Owen and his firm Shapiro [formerly Leo J. Shapiro & Associates] since my first book “The Shift Age” came out almost seven years ago. The Shapiro firm had taken the concepts set forth in that book and mapped them against the consumer research the firm has been doing for decades. They in fact found that Shift Age consumers had different buying and technology habits than those more aligned with the Information and Industrial Ages. This led to Owen and I starting to discuss what the future of brands and marketing might be in the Shift Age.

These early discussions were incorporated into the chapter on the future of brands and marketing in “Entering the Shift Age”, published in early 2013. Once that book was published, on-going brand research at Shapiro and almost weekly conversations about the future of marketing prompted insights that led the two of us to decide to write “Brand Shift”. We felt that a book by a brand and market research expert and a futurist might offer unique insights for brand marketers struggling to anticipate and navigate the next 5-10 years.

There are of course many wonderful books on marketing and brands. Authors such as Philip Kotler, Jack Trout & Al Ries, Steve McKee and many others offer basic understanding of the fundamentals of marketing and branding. These books speak to how brands become great and the executional strategies for success in marketing and building brands. Those of you in the field of marketing have probably read many of the books by these great authors over the past couple of decades. The body of work is wide and deep.

As a futurist who also has two decades of experience in media, programing and entertainment, I wanted to write a book about the current and future trends and technologies that have and most certainly will dramatically alter what brand marketers must do to both survive and thrive in the next ten years.

Media is at the cutting edge of change. It, in fact, initiates fundamental changes in human behavior. McLuhan brilliantly wrote about this in the last few decades of the 20th century. Media is our environment he clearly and profoundly posited. We live within it. It is an extension of us. Media largely has technological underpinnings. Waves of technological change disrupt the media status quo with dominant media ceding the stage to new media that becomes dominant. The last 20 years has seen more technological change to media than any prior 20-year period in history. This means that humanity has changed. We live within a new media reality. We have historically unparalleled media extension of ourselves. We live in a new media world

This reality alone has created an existential moment for brand marketers.

The old definitions of marketing and the building of brands no longer fit this new world. The speed of change has accelerated to the point that it has become environmental. We live in an environment of change where the simultaneity of change can literally be disorienting. Brand marketers over the age of 50 have to forget and let go of much of what used to work [remember when it was easy?]. Those under the age of 30 have to understand that the current landscape is ephemeral and temporary. It is both a gut check time and a new golden age of brand marketing. In future columns I will explore the trends and forces that point to it being a new golden age.

You can learn about and read some content from “Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing” here. I thank those of you who have already purchased and read the book. Recently it became an Amazon top ten best seller in the category of Media & Communications. Thank you!

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In times of global uncertainty and disruption it takes a futurist to provide context and understanding.

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