Shockwaves: How to Future-Proof Your Brand-Thinking

Why Thinking the Impossible Has Never Been More Important

So, there’s change, and then there’s a global pandemic.

If the last couple of years has taught us one thing, it’s to think the unimaginable and prepare for the impossible.

As lockdowns are making a return for many, it’s a continued reminder that things can change at any given moment. Entire sectors were made totally redundant in a matter of moments. There’s no room for resting on your laurels. Brands that not only fail to keep up but do not get ahead will swiftly be left behind.

Yet gaming was one of the few industries that did quite well out the last year. And by ‘quite well’ I mean annual turnovers of over $150 billion. As we’ve been forced to move our lives online, gaming has played a central role in helping us to stay sane and stay in touch with the wider world.

And although its rise has been meteoric, that doesn’t mean to say it’s unstoppable. From the biggest players to the richest markets, no one is untouchable. Change comes in all shapes and sizes. And earlier this year, that came in the form of a set of regulations that served to shake up the gaming industry in a remarkable way.

Back in September, restrictions imposed by the Chinese government forbid Under 18s from playing online video games outside designated times. Stricter than any previous regulations, the window for this is just one hour, between 8-9 pm on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays.

Without any prior warning, gaming brands were forced to completely re-think their entire business.

Teens make up nearly 15% of online gamers in China. Without a minors’ market, there’s a major problem. When 110 million gamers are essentially wiped out overnight, how do you respond?

At TVE, we build the brands that drive change. But part of that involves helping brands to recognise and respond to change before it even happens. We can’t promise to predict the future, but we can certainly help to future-proof.

Introducing Shockwaves…

We use something called Shockwaves. These are provocative, yet plausible windows into the future, which aim to make us think about the impacts and challenges facing the organisation, brand, and category. We see it as the ultimate strategy stress test. By pitching all manner of possible realities, we can better identify the actions needed to strengthen a brand’s future positions, avoid potential risks and accelerate its opportunities. It allows us to stretch our thinking, broaden the bands of possibility and get truly disruptive ideas on the table.

Now we’ve lived through some serious shockwaves, we are better placed to expect them. Or are we? What (im)possible realities can you conjure up? Think big. The more outrageous, the better. Shockwaves present an opportunity to tackle the business challenges of the future, today. By identifying potential problems, building out hypotheses, and uncovering root causes, brands can get one step ahead. Our process gives brands the chance to be proactive, not reactive. They are better able to pinpoint possible weaknesses and leverage core strengths, carving out a fully future-proofed strategy.

There are some things you just can’t foresee. And no amount of trends reports can tell you otherwise. The 20s have brought all manner of shockwaves, for gaming brands and beyond. It’s given us all food for thought. If brands had dared to imagine the impossible, would they be in a stronger place to respond?

One thing we do know now – anything is possible. Whatever the future holds, just make sure you’re ready.

By: Lucia Corry

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