Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Madfest Insights: Henry Mason shares the secret to navigating the overwhelm

Henry Coutinho-Mason, Author of Anticipating the Future Normal, challenged the audience at Madfest to think differently about how they position their brand and the stories they tell.

Mason began his talk by reminding the audience that amongst all the changes and developments in the industry, the basic human wants of your customer will stay the same over time. Irrespective of the latest technological changes, the driving forces will stay stable. But of course, things do change every day, and you are constantly bombarded with a wave of new product launches and innovations from your competitors every time you open your laptop.

What is the secret to navigating the overwhelm that we feel?

According to Mason, the secret actually lies in the very innovations that are making us feel so overwhelmed. You can use these innovations to anticipate the future and to start spotting future trends. We live in an expectation economy where customer expectations are set by their experiences and right now everyone is competing against the intelligence and availability of big companies like Amazon and the competence of AI innovations like OpenAI.

Mason went on to share several chapters of his book that point towards a future direction for marketing, as well as demonstrate his technique for navigating the storm. One good example was his chapter on regenerative business, a topic he insists we need to be talking about consistently. After discussing where the pioneers in this area are taking the conversation, Mason reminded the audience that when it comes to understanding where the market is heading “it’s not about doing less bad, it’s about doing better”. Looking at how big brands like Patagonia are innovating in the regenerative space allows you to see where the conversation around sustainability is going to be headed. “You need to look at the very innovations that threaten to overwhelm you because those are what tell us what’s going to be coming next”.