Earlier this week, we looked at the first three of Trevor Hardy’s five trends shaping the future of marketing and communications, as applied in a B2B context. On Monday we tackled ‘radical transparency’, on Tuesday we turned our attention to ‘embracing uncertainty’ and yesterday we focused on ‘the emotional economy’.

Today, we look at the role of ‘brands as educators’.

An important point to start with: buyers don’t wake up in the morning wanting to be educated about your brand or product. But audiences of all stripes are increasingly interested in optimising themselves. Lifelong learning is a massive trend.

Possibly a more apposite word than ‘education’ in the B2B context is ‘development’ – the development of skills and capabilities. Trevor pointed to the example of an organisation partnering with an Italian academic institution to launch the country’s first Masters programme in digital business.

But apply that more broadly. The trend in telecoms is for mobile operators to embrace digital transformation. But examples are rare and skills are in short supply. What if a vendor whose business was contingent on this evolution were to offer development opportunities in this context? It would create a new social contract between the vendor and its buyers.

Interesting thought. Tomorrow, we’ll dive into Trevor’s fifth and final trend – thinking long and slow.