Skip to main content

How is digital changing the rules of branding?


What has NOT changed? The principle. Brands are still built on a single-minded promise that needs to be relevant, credible and unique.

What has changed? The environment. Brands now live in a digital landscape that is open, connected, and works in real time.

A different environment requires different rules. Below are three ways the digital environment is changing the rule of branding:

1. Creating open brands

In the digital world, there is no gap between the say and the do. If a brand doesn’t deliver on its promise, it is going to be called out. People are more likely to talk about negative experiences than positive ones. Digital provides the perfect platform to create and distribute content across an inter-connected network. A transparent environment not only puts more checks and balances on brands, but it also requires brands to be open and honest with their customers.

Think about an open kitchen restaurant where customers have a full view of how their dishes get made. A good example of a brand that adopted an open policy is Domino's Pizza, though it took a lot of pain to get there. Their path to openness started with a video prank in YouTube that forced a response by their U.S. president, Patrick Doyle. From there on, the company adapted an open policy in which they presented their products and services in a totally open and accessible manner. 



This means having customers sharing their positive and negative views on their products and bringing their employees to the front and center of the discussion through open social media policies. Domino's only screens for profanity and pornography. Plus, creating applications that track the delivery of your pizza from the time you order to the moment the delivery guy knocks on your door. 




2. Engaging with customer in real-time

Since conversations happen in real-time in the digital space, brands need to engage in real-time. For most brands, this requires a significant shift in the way they communicate with their customers. They need to start migrating from a “campaign” to an “always-on” communication model. In other words, brands cannot longer dictate the cadence of the conversation. They need to function more as a newsroom to follow and act on consumer trends.

Nestle, Coca-Cola and Red Bull are just a few of the brands that have adopted an “always on” marketing approach. They have created digital newsrooms to track and respond to cultural trends and news through developing stories and videos. Below is a view of the Nestle Digital Acceleration Team with a direct link to an insight article by Reuters.

Nestle Digital Acceleration Team


3. Sharing meaningful experiences

We live in a digital communal society in which people are sharing common interests, property, and possessions. To be accepted in the community, brands need to add value. This normally comes from creating relevant content or helping customers through utilities.

In terms of content, today more customers are getting their news through shared links or content aggregators. According to the Pew report, 29 percent of consumers get their news from a “news organizing website or app” compared with the 36 percent who go directly to a media company’s website or app.  Plus, about 9 percent are now getting their content through social media sites. There is a clear movement toward people caring more about the content they are interested in than the traditional news authority or digital property that delivers it. 


Utilities are another way for brands to add value. A great example is Nike +, which helps runners track, train, socialize and get rewards for their run. Nike+ has extended the experience to Nike+ Fuelband, a smart watch that works in concert with your sneakers to track your fitness and running improvements. 



In summary, digital is changing the rules of branding by changing the environment where brands live. An open, real-time and connected environment requires brands that are transparent, up to the moment, and provide meaningful social experience.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Aim for Love, Not Likes

Love is an unconditional emotion while like is a more watered-down version of love. Loving someone means that he or she means everything to you while liking someone implies that you are only happy being with that person. Love involves deeper, stronger emotions, while like is more of a tender feeling towards that special someone. In a world of infinite choices, love is everything. Like is a nice to have.  Today, we live in a world of abundance, where people intent to create content surpass their time to consume it. Video content is much easier and cheaper to produce than at any other time in history. YouTube sees 400 hours of video uploaded every minute. Facebook has more than 250,000 status updates in the same span. We could never read and see everything online.  With unlimited possibilities and limited time, we pay sustainable attention to what we love and divided attention to what we like. We spend hours watching Homeland and give our divided attention to our news feed on Facebook. …

Adidas kills TV. Now, let’s debate

The News: Adidas is ditching TV for digital. The company is looking to boost its e-commerce revenues from $1.06 billion in 2016 to $4.25 billion by 2020 — and Adidas wants to use digital channels to get there. The Rationale: Fish where the fish are. Younger consumers don't watch TV anymore. They spend most of their time on their mobile devices. The Controversy: Why do they want to ditch a medium that is allegedly more "critical" to the brand and that generates more sales than digital? Here we have the Debate between TV and digital: Media Consumption TV: People are watching TV now more than ever.  Digital: People are consuming media more than ever, but mostly through digital devices. The Fact: In 2017, people are projected to spend 6 hours on digital – with the majority being mobile devices - while only spending 4 hours consuming television according to the eMarketer forecast. Younger viewers watch 2.5 times more internet video than TV. Consumers aged 13-24 watch 12.1 hours …

Winter and Summer in Adland

It is winter in Adland.  We have moved from a world of scarcity to a world of abundance and algorithms.  We have lost the power of influence. Trust has been severely damaged.  Consumer attention is the new bottleneck. We no longer decide who sees us. Instead, we get picked.  30 second is not enough anymore. We need to take consumers through a scenic journey to create a long lasting relationship.  Everyone is a publisher. It is easier than ever to create, but harder than ever to make a hit.  The impulse to make has far outrun the desire to consume.  New forces have emerged in the form of sophisticated algorithms.  A new model has surfaced called "pay per play,” which scored everything we do on relevance to feeding the machine. It decides what gets picked, when, and where, based on extreme relevancy.  Mass media has vanished. Precision and personalization have emerged.  It is winter in Adland. The good days are all long gone.  It is Summer in Adland We now have the power to make bra…