Enter the Unscene: a decentralised marketing disruption

By Chris Kent Time of article published Mar 17, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG -  Contemporary business management teaches us that interdisciplinary teams unlock innovation. 

Two heads are better than one not only because of extra brain power but because of the diversity of thought. 

Decentralised work is the best tool for creating these innovation incubators where we’re able to cultivate curiosity in peaking the interests of people from varying disciplines and demographics – giving ourselves alternative perspectives to antiquated notions. 

Research is increasingly finding that distributed teams and decentralised spaces are the future of interdisciplinary work. Harvard Business Review emphasises the importance of ‘building a culture of experimentation’ through, amongst other means, a cross-pollination of ideas. This is to traditional marketing agencies what digital is to print media. 

They’re becoming the new normal where the tomorrow place of work is likely to flatten management organisations to enable value to be spread more evenly. Through a matrixed organisational structure we’re able to dismantle the barriers between strategists and creatives, giving equal voice to business strategy and to creative execution in ways that culminate in customer-driven brand solutions. 

At risk of sounding idealistic, we see specialists work on their own terms while giving our clients the most fit-for-purpose solutions. The talent matrix means that all services are modular and so customers are never locked into an agreement which has unwanted costs or clandestine deliverables. I’ve always believed that brands build better businesses by engrossing the whole value-chain. 

With modular talent comes modular marketing, shortcuts to repurposing key pieces of media into various formats for different consumer-states. If you’ve invested in producing a 60 sec promotional video, why not use snippets of the script as content on your Instagram posts? This saves money and ensures an integration of strategic messaging across your platforms. 

Many businesses are similarly alive to the fact that deliverables are no longer a prisoner of time. People are their most productive at varying stages of the day, a healthy working environment contributes to happiness and happy workers are efficient and effective employees. It’s more than Richard Branson’s ‘unlimited vacation days’ approach, this is about creating a  ‘State of Play’ and ownership over one’s career trajectory. 

Employees are not your business’s property, research indicates. ‘Play at Work’ benefits individuals and those individuals are your business. From our case studies in various sectors such as Business Incubation, Food and Agriculture Exporters and MedTech, we hope our collective is proof of the versatility of this decentralised model.

In the Incubator sector, Unscene has collaborated with the MTN Solution Space to create brands for their E-track programme. Seamlessly integrating our services into the accelerator programme and in doing market-ready brands have been conceived with total collaboration of their founders. The programme included nine start-ups and the brand development included strategic positioning, visual identities, app development and more - all of which ensuring greater product-market fit. 

Brand development as core to business practice is a relatively new paradigm which is why Unscene is collaborating with some of South Africa's biggest food and agriculture exporters to make their previously b-to-b brands more consumer-oriented. This includes delivering brand portfolio diversification through innovation management programmes. Introducing an exports giant to household markets means strategising business models while simultaneously crafting the go-to-market brand strategy. 

The MedTech landscape in Cape Town is growing in maturity but we’ve been privileged enough to assist medical inventions find their brand voice. Product design, integrated communications strategies and packaging design have all been tools in the collective’s arsenal. 

This ‘democratisation of experimentation’ empowers teams with the freedom to play with new techniques they believe will work allowing talent to track prototypes and give instantaneous feedback for rapid ideation from juxtapositions. Freeing up anyone to give input into an idea to improve brand and business which leads to more autonomous decision-makers. 

Of course, there must be balance, centralised administrative functions still give way to hierarchical executive power which - driving overall productivity and c-suite business development. Through this dynamic balance of centralisation and decentralisation we find an organisational model that is fluid enough to withstand the demands of one of the most rapidly changing landscapes. 

And our business must have such flexibility, if our client’s customers are reshaping their needs and wants so too should ours. 

Chris Kent is the founder and CEO of Unscene.

BUSINESS REPORT 

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