What with the threat from robots (don’t worry, we can learn to love them), people knowing change is inevitable but not always truly committed to fully embracing it, and clients ever-more resourceful, you’d be hard pressed to think today’s marketer had anything to learn from Admiral Nelson, “The Ice Kings” of Victorian London, or HBO mega hit Game of Thrones.
But, as three of contributors to a magazine I edit have so perfectly – and entertainingly – demonstrate, we ignore lessons from the past at our peril.
I’m sure many of you have been in the field of marketing and communications as long as I have and will occasionally sit back and roll your eyes as some bright (or not so bright) spark attempts to reinvent the same wheel many before them have tackled…and failed! And how many new bosses have we seen hurl themselves into wholesale change like a person possessed before just sitting back to talk and, even more importantly, to listen?
Of course, we need new blood, fresh ideas and more imaginative thinking. Without that none of us are going anywhere. And in today’s world we’re probably heading there at record speed.
There has, though, been a tendency in the past (by some) to think anything “new” is the Holy Grail while the “old” should be consigned to the rubbish faster than most of us head for the recycling bank on December 27.
So what struck me most about many of the fine contributions I’ve had the pleasure to work with was the perfect balance these impressive individuals strike between embracing change (being truly excited by it, even) and appreciating some of the most effective business development tools at our disposal remain stubbornly undiminished by the passing of time.
Going back to our friend (and he is) Nelson, we’ve shown readers how the basic fundamentals of truly effective organisational management haven’t much changed in 200 years and, yet, we often lose sight of them and of answers staring right at us. Elsewhere, that message is further reinforced by us having considered what the dynamics of George R R Martin’s world of two powerful families in a deadly battle for control of seven kingdoms tell us about the structures we preside over and of which we’re a part.
We’ve also considered – and we all know this – that an entrenched cultural indifference to change can turn us from a Titan one day to a Woolworths the next – also file under Blockbuster, Kodak, HMV, Maplin, Monarch Airlines, Patisserie Valerie and British Home Stores. As one retail analyst remarked recently “we’ve reached a point where no major high street name can be considered ‘safe’”.
And, if the word “networking” fills you with dread at the sheer prospect of an evening of small talk, chicken satay sticks and tepid Sauvignon Blanc when all you’d rather do is go home and binge on box sets (just make sure it’s episodes of Game of Thrones!) then one expert has reminded our readers that networking comes in many guises.
What each of these contributions (and many more) demonstrate is that we should respect and preserve the important, effective lessons and best practice of the past whilst embracing the excitement and potential of change as well as – whether we like it or not – equipping ourselves for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.