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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Have you got the adaptability factor?

Do you need an ‘adaptability gene’ to relish working in today’s multi-media brand communications?

Ever heard someone say that brand communications is a young person's game? Or that they feel they're being sidelined due to their age? I empathize but I also beg to differ: some of the most electrifying, passionate and engaging presentations I've ever seen have been given by creative directors in their sixties. And I know plenty of agency folk who are 40+ and still 'current', 'relevant' and 'fresh' – to steal but a few words from TV talent shows. You only have to spend a few seconds in someone's company to feel their attitude and energy. It's palpable.

In fact, in my opinion, it's ALL about attitude. I've heard plenty of people in their twenties proudly announce that they don't 'do' Twitter, yet to put this in context, NY healthcare digital strategist Steven Shie recently reported that at ASCO 2013, Tweets were up 300 per cent on 2011, #ASCO13 was trending worldwide and over 16,000 tweets were posted –using said hash tag – by a mixture of healthcare professionals and pharma company folk. 

So if you don't 'get' Twitter, probably best keep it to yourself, huh? And then quickly surround yourself with people who not only get it, but also embrace it wholeheartedly, along with the rest of the social media mix.

Things have moved so quickly in brand communications in the past few years that the very nature of engagement has changed beyond all recognition. Regardless of age, if you find the transformation exciting and you enjoy the pace, I salute you. 

But how much can adaptability – enjoying our fast-changing environment – be taught or is it innate?

Some people have learned a 'trade' at the start of their agency life, became specialised in it and would happily do the same thing for the rest of their careers. But what if that skill is rapidly becoming obsolete?

If you have the adaptability gene, no matter what decade you were born in, you will have felt a change in the air years ago and begun to prepare. Perhaps this is a subconscious skill or personality trait, but it's vital for survival in the marketing communication world.

Put it this way: you may have boarded a train in the direction you want to travel, but sooner or later we all need to be prepared to change track, especially in the current economical climate, where workforces are – by necessity – much leaner. Adaptable people are key to the success of an agency. They turn their hands to new skills with relish and see their contribution as part of the whole, spreading out and overlapping harmoniously with other members of the team, taking up the slack where needed with good grace and a cheerful smile.

As Rob Lowe said in an interview in the Times: “Those who stay pliable, open and enthusiastic are way more useful than someone who looks 10 years younger. It's about participating.”

So please don't hesitate: look at where the curve is heading, embrace it and take the plunge.

Article by
Sophie Johnson

founder of Big Eye Dear

1st August 2013

From: Marketing

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