IAB chief on the new rules of digital disruption

Brands must place trust, integrity and purpose at the heart of their business in order to thrive in the digital age, according to Richard Eyre, chairman of the IAB UK.

Richard Eyre: spoke about digital disruption at IAB Engage 2014
Richard Eyre: spoke about digital disruption at IAB Engage 2014

Speaking at the IAB Engage conference in London today, Eyre said: "It is not creativity, it is not technology, the key differentiator will be trust."

Rather than being about a single discipline or approach strategy it is primarily about who you are as a business, he said. "It is not that marketing has to adapt it is that the whole company has to change,' he added.

According to Eyre, 'institutional risk aversion' is part of many company's DNA. However, "the willingness of VCs to fund business" with no apparent business model is changing the market. The investors want to invest in the disruptors." This, he said, is a shift which is challenging the status quo for the world's biggest brands.

According to data from PWC, 81% of CEO's say technological advances are their biggest challenge. However, according to Eyre the right response to this shift is not simply adapting media plans to embrace digital channels it is a fundamental change in business culture,

In order to help brands adapt to this challenge, he unveiled six tips to thrive in the disruption era:

1. Act like a start-up
"Don't trim down your vision in order to sell it into your boss."

2. Take all of your assumptions captive
"Your assumptions are your baggage," explains Eyre. Marketers must beware of accepting the status quo or assuming their current business models are sustainable.

3. Curiosity and passion
"You need to ask yourself what is stopping you from leaving if you aren't passionate about your brand. It is much easier to thrive with passion," he adds. Faced with "the most entitled consumer the world has ever dealt with" marketers must be relentlessly curious not just about their competition and their business, but what their consumers want.

4. Experiment
The time for experimentation is now. As Eyre explains: "Disruption is happening everywhere. Brands need to beware of new start-ups, armed with significant investment. Commercial ideas that had previously been denied the oxygen of investment can now quickly thrive."

5. Think like an insurgent
"Companies who have a strong culture can often be resistant to change as this culture informs how they do things," warns Eyre.

6.Know what you stand for
"You can't treat your brand like a separate entity, it has to reflect what you really are," he explains. "Today's consumers increasingly want to know if your company is purpose driven or solely profit driven." In line with this, companies need to follow the example of powerhouse brands such as Unilever which has successfully placed purpose at the heart, not just of its marketing activity, but its business ethos.

Read next

Gangnam Style: the secret rise of Kia

McDonald's launches major transparency drive to tackle 'pink slime' rumours