A Rough Ride

Remember how everyone thought that 2016 was the worst year ever. It was the year we lost global icons like David Bowie, George Michael and Prince. When we were all left scratching our heads thinking, what the hell is next? That was even before a nasty little pandemic was lurking in the shadows waiting to inflict even further woes.

The past few years have been a rough ride, obviously for people but also for brands with many jumping from one crisis to another in an effort to stay afloat.  Many businesses have been in a sluggish stop-start cycle like a petrol car primed with diesel.  For a time, it seemed that whenever green shoots of revival started to appear, some unforeseen external circumstance ruthlessly severed them, bringing any marginal gains quickly to a halt.

2022, thankfully, seems to be the year that we have shed much of the heavy baggage of our recent past and can look forward with some degree of optimism, even factoring in a devastating war in Ukraine, a global energy crisis and escalating inflation rates.

Dynamo 2022

At Dynamo, 2022 has literally taken off like a rocket as it only seems like yesterday that we were virtually high fiving ourselves to welcome in the new year. We have had some important new business wins as well as retaining some of key clients like Failte Ireland. To keep pace with our business, we have made six key recent internal hires across multiple disciplines of strategy, client services, creative copywriting and design. On top of all that we have given ourselves a complete new look with a new brand identity and website. But enough about us….

Inflection Point

Reaching the mid-point of year (yes scary), seems like an appropriate inflection point to bring lessons from the past six months forward to the next. Looking ahead, there will undoubtedly be changes and flux so in order to overcome challenges and stay competitive, here is our shortlist of the six things that brands should shout about in H2.

Opportunity sparks innovation: We’ve seen many Irish examples of where brands have faced the challenges of lockdown to create new opportunities for growth. There is perhaps no better brand in the world for seizing the moment than Guinness. During lockdown, they again left the competition in their wake with the release of its new Nirtosurge Cans. Faced with the challenge of translating its on-trade product to a fully off-trade audience Guinness combined creativity and innovation to release a product so close to its pub product as to be indistinguishable. It’s a classic example of a brand seizing an opportunity, by offering the right product, to the right people at the right time.  This type of out of the box thinking is what brands will need to become more comfortable with in the near future, to stay competitive.

Hyper creativity is now: Ignited by COVID, the migration of brands from the analogue to the digital world is finally happening. Digital is opening corridors to creativity for brands not even imagined a short time ago. Irish whiskey brand Bushmills with its recent “Giants” activation is an example of a brand, brave enough to take a giant (excuse the pun) leap to reposition itself for the digital age and engage new audiences. With this work, the brand digitally translated its obsession with product craft, through to a community of like-minded people. Bushmills Giants offers exclusive access to special edition releases, private gatherings, intimate tastings, unseen archives and much more for those with a desire for a more intimate whiskey knowledge. The result is a one-stop online hub and a dedicated online community for true whiskey explorers that will evolve and grow into the future.

No Safe Havens: Consumers are setting increasingly higher standards for brands – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Higher levels of digital brand engagement has meant higher demands of service and delivery. There is no longer a safe place to hide for those who fall short of the mark. The brands that are competent and confident in what they do will be quickly picked up and championed by consumers.

Define Your Vision: During the pandemic, many brands were left rudderless because of a lack of clearly defined strategic vision. The brands that have emerged the strongest in 2022 are the ones with a strong identity and value system that helped define their character. Taking the necessary time to invest in knowing who you are is a safeguard for brands even in challenging times.

Speak your voice not someone else’s: Many brands fall into the honey trap of following the herd and not speaking their own voice.  Increasingly aware of public scrutiny, they adopt causes and topics because they have to rather than wanting to. Brands need to challenge themselves and take the road less travelled, while staying true to their identity. Your brand is your unique thumb print to the world and should not imitate others.    

Buckle up and be ready: The stop-start uncertainty of the past few years looks likely to continue into 2023. With a variety of macro geo-political events conspiring together it is likely that brands will continue to tread cautiously for the remainder of 2022. Lessons from the past few years should hold most in good stead with those who invest in strengthening their brand and identity as well as championing creativity ultimately winning the hearts and minds of audiences.

Dynamo is a strategically led creative agency. As part of our end to end process, we create brand strategies that are dynamic, practical and move in tandem with culture. We call this, strategy at the speed of culture.

Please contact Michael Browne for more detail.

E: michael.b@dynamo.ie

M: 087 793 5692