THE BLOG

The New Industrial Revolution

24/03/2014 15:42 GMT | Updated 24/05/2014 10:59 BST

In this year's budget, George Osborne announced that the UK's economy will witness growth in 2014 of 2.7%, reaching levels we haven't seen since pre-recession in 2008.

So, we're out of the recession and we're on the road to recovery, all rosy it seems. But if we want this growth to be significant, industries such as marketing communications need to revolutionise the way it works. It's time to make the decision about whether we carry on in the way that we've always done, a successful if not lazy approach, or we revolutionise the way we interact and work.

In the years following a crash we discover a lot about the businesses that have survived, and how they have had the resilience to adapt to a changing market. Organisations are presented with an opportunity to re-assess their objectives and aims, changing their offerings and surviving long term.

Take UPS for example, it has excelled in recent years because it has remodelled its entire structure, redefining itself as a logistics operation, widening its capabilities and going further than just delivery. The company now deals with the challenges of logistics whether it be transporting worldwide, supply chain support or more. As a result, UPS is one of the biggest successes in recent years, and it's happened during economic hardship.

Its success is even more impressive when you consider the huge organisations, some ranked high in the Fortune 500 list ten years ago, which have fallen at the wayside. While a portion of the blame can be placed on the financial restrictions and changing economic landscape caused by the crash, the finger can also be firmly pointed at a business' inability to adapt to the situation.

Revolutionising business isn't a new concept. IBM did it way back in the early nineties, shifting its focus from a sole IT company to include a consultancy operation that is now the biggest and most powerful in the world. This new industrial revolution is simply the way we can transition an industry from something that is working but could do more, to an industry that leads the charge into a newly changed market.

This brings us back to marketing communications and the crossroads my industry is facing. We can carry on being efficient but lazy, or we can get ahead of the game and start our own revolution, becoming entrepreneurial producers that build and craft our own products for the consumer. What drives this is our focus on our future market of Millenials.

Millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, are shifting the balance between producer and consumer, from a top-down one-way consumer culture to a more one-to-one DIY culture focused on making, and it's time we got to grips with it.

Access to social media, 3D printers, affordable sensors and circuitry like Raspberry Pi are changing the way people view brands. Top down control simply doesn't work for those belonging to Generation Y, instead they expect to immediately influence brands and modify products to suit themselves.

This shift from marketing to making gives big brands huge scope to connect with consumers on a closer scale. Imagine bespoke products built by brands based on an individual consumer's wants and needs.

An economy re-starting its engine is exactly why we need to adapt and evolve our practices not just in marketing, but further afield too.

Is this idea of a revolution provocative? Yes, but in no way should we be put off by it. Because without upheaval any industry risks joining the reject pile of past recessions, outshone and out manouvered by organisations and other industries which are quicker and more agile than yours.