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How Brands Shift to Stay Relevant

An interview with
Allen Adamson


Brands are all around us, but as the times change they need to adapt to keep relevant – if they don’t they’ll soon vanish from the high street. Kodak and Blackberry for example were once leaders in their field, but they failed to shift, becoming irrelevant in a fast changing world.

But how can brands prevent this from happening to them, and how can designers and agencies help their clients shift to avoid pending doom? On this weeks podcast Ian interviews branding expert, Allen Adamson to find out.

Allen is the author of the new book Shift Ahead, and co-founder and managing partner of brand strategy firm Metaforce. Prior to this Allen was Chairman of Landor Associates, a global branding firm, and he also worked in senior management positions at Ogilvy & Mather and DMB&B.

Allen Adamson Interview Transcription

Ian Paget: I understand that you have a new book ‘Shift Ahead’, which is about how the best companies stay relevant in a fast changing world. To give some background for the audience, why would a company need to shift?

Allen Adamson: Every day you read about another business that was once a brand that you thought never could go out of business, disappearing. Big companies like Kraft Heinz writing down billions of dollars, taxis disappearing from the street.

What’s become clear, as I was looking at the industry, was that lots of the challenges were not about marketing, such as how do you tell people how great your product is or remind them to buy your product. Lots of the challenges were flipping from communication and telling a compelling story that’s different and relevant – to the product and the category was disappearing, was it becoming irrelevant?

So the pace of change seemed to be increasing. So, I set off with my colleague, Joel Steckel from NYU, and we did a fair amount of research. Is it just us, or are things moving faster? Are more companies going out of business? Are brands disappearing faster?

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