Time in the new decade

Man with a light

Sustainable new materials. Phygital retail experience. Circular economy and rental services. Smart garments and digital apparel. Repurposed elements and spaces.

It would be relatively easy to list my top 5 trends for 2020 from a marketing production, retail or material perspective. Introduce some new buzzwords, concepts and innovations that might change how creative marketers develop and promote brands. Highlight new sustainable products and innovative experiences or key topics from Davos 2020 World Economic Forum.

After writing about sustainability and new materials quite a bit already, and after reflecting on our past year, I want to introduce an alternative focus for 2020. It’s not a silver bullet or a hyped technology, but something we talk about every day – mostly the lack of it. Time.

Time as the right moment, not as a specific date

One of my good friends, an Aussie futurist named Eddie Harran, has always been extremely curious about time. Around five years ago, he introduced me to two ancient Greek words for time; Chronos and Kairos. Before relating the two to marketing, let me give you a quick intro to them. 

Chronos is the traditional quantitative description of time we are all familiar with. Seconds, minutes, hours, days and years. The way we describe time in our daily lives chronologically. Kairos, however, has a qualitative nature. Meaning the right, crucial or critical moment to do something. A moment when an action is the most advantageous and when it has the biggest impact.

Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment to take an action.

Chronos and Kairos overlap constantly in marketing. Marketers and advertisers plan and start new campaigns, events and brand activations daily. A calendar year is typically full of campaigns, events and brand activations, following each other chronologically. Kairos however, can more commonly be seen in digital marketing, where marketers seek those ‘right moments’ to attract and retain customers. 

Last weekend, when I was searching to find flights to London, I received an automated cookie-tracked marketing email from Norwegian after I didn’t complete my flight booking via their website. With this ‘abandon cart’ email Norwegian was trying to promote their offering in that right moment, when I was still searching and comparing my options.

Similarly, late last year we did a campaign together with a creative agency Åkestam Holst and tech house Arrow ECS for 7Eleven Sweden which aimed to surprise customers positively in the most impactful, Kairos moment; to relieve their stress during the busiest and stressed moments of Christmas time. Read full case here ›

Brand building with a Kairos mindset

Although we marketers often work with a chronological day, week, month mindset, we are ultimately aiming to find and build Kairos moments. Moments where a brand or organisation can grasp the attention of a customer to think or select its offering and hear its message. I believe, this same Kairos mindset could also be applied into marketing production – to the stuff we help you guys with – in two ways.

Firstly, we need to make physical marketing items and elements that can be used continuously in the right moments throughout the calendar year(s), and not just on a specific month or in a single campaign or event. Whether these items are backdrops that can be used in social media or events, merchandise or even larger event builds, we should design and produce reusable, repurposed and/or long-lasting marketing materials. Things that can be pulled out in that right moment.

Because when we can reuse or repurpose elements and items over a long period of time, we can have a larger budget and produce quality outcomes from quality materials which help your brand way more in the long run than those quick and dirty campaigns or activations. 

Long live the brand (materials)

In the marketing industry, a common thought is to spend 60% on long-term brand development and 40% in activations, despite various research results showing that long-term campaigns are more efficient. According to McKinsey’s research companies who invested in long term marketing outperformed short term marketers by +47%. Why then do we overly focus our efforts on short-term activations and produce physical items and elements that, once used, end up in a bin?

Long-term campaigns were three times more efficient than short-term campaigns, three times more likely to drive market-share improvement, and 60% more likely to deliver profit improvement.”

– Institute of Practitioners of Advertising (IPA), 2019

I believe we need to focus more on producing physical marketing elements and items in a smarter way, so they can be applied for both short and long term purposes. This approach helps us and you (or your client if you work in the agency side) reduce waste not only from physical trash, but also from a bookkeeping perspective. So let’s get back to the drawing board if our ideas don’t stand the test of time.

Secondly, sustainability is not just about being environmentally friendly. It is also about people. Employing human resources and potential in a sustainable, ethical way. I believe shifting to a Kairos mindset can give us more tranquility; more time for ideation, consideration of production options and material selection, and for implementation and delivery. Employing experts and their skills in just the right, most advantageous moment – not only when a hard deadline is fast approaching. 

McKinsey graph on long vs short term marketing investments

Source: Corporate Performance Analytics by McKinsey; S&P Capital IQ; McKinsey Global Institute analysis

Because if we only push for these over-optimistic short-term deadlines, our work (at least in production) tends to topple like domino-bricks, leading to stressful situations, compromises, delays, errors and inadequate quality. 

We at Framme are all about helping you to turn ideas into reality in the most advantageous Kairos moment. Let’s grab some coffees and fika, and bounce ideas for long lasting marketing productions and materials together. Stuff that elevates your brand. Both in the short and long term.

Rambled by

Jani Modig Framme

Jani Modig
Managing Director & Partner

Cover photo by Matt Palmer // Unsplash