Skip to main content

The Digital BRAND Divide


Today we have a new type of inequality. One that is not about the rich and poor, it is about digital and non-digital brands. This inequality is not about the 1%. It’s probably closer to 0.1%. The 0.1% brands can carry a constructive or destructive force. A force that is capable of killing brands in a heartbeat. It can also create new markets. To close this digital gap, brands need to rethink their business by putting digital at the core. There is no middle ground in this new reality. 
In Chicago alone, startups are born every 48 hours. We are going through a new tech boom. This new breed tends to be smart, connected and convenient. They are the new Amazon, Etsy, Airbnb, Spotify, Netflix, Uber...
Digital brands know their users and use this information to make recommendations in the right context. For example, in March 2015, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma demonstrated technology that will allow users to pay 'selfie style' using smartphone face recognition. Unveiled in the US during November 2014, Amazon Echo is an always-on, cloud-connected device that can answer spoken questions, searching the Internet for answers instantly and speaking its replies. It’s also possible to tell Echo to add products to a shopping list, accessible via a companion app, or play music via Bluetooth integration.
Digital brands connect their users with a community of like-minded people that share their interests and passions. For example, wework started out as a service that allowed startups and entrepreneurs to rent a very small amount of physical space to use as an office. Over time, they’ve grown to 31 locations across the globe, and a community that now tops 20,000 people. PowerToFly connects companies that are looking to hire tech talent with women anywhere in the world who are qualified for tech positions. Its clients already include big names such as Hearst, BuzzFeed, and RebelMouse.
Digital brands are at their users’ fingertips and able to deliver what their customers need in just a few clicks. For example, FreshDirect allows you to shop for groceries anywhere and then delivers right to your door. Abacus is expense reporting made easy through an app on your phone. AirHelp will you get money back when your flight is delayed or cancelled.
Digital brands are demolishing old institutions in every aspect of our society from healthcare to education to financial services. They are making retail giants scramble. Just consider the Amazon effect on Borders, Best Buy and Radio Shack. They are coming from a handful of people without constraints, unicorns who can bridge different worlds. And they are creating immense wealth in the process. An unprecedented number of startups, easily 25 and possibly exceeding 40, are valued today at $1 billion or more, according to a recent NY Times article. To survive this new reality, a brand needs to put digital at the core of its people, process and technology to deliver services that are smart, connected and convenient.

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. …

Persuasive Simplicity, Persuasive Commerce

In a complex world, simplicity wins. In a human world, purpose sets us apart. In a complex and human world, we need persuasive simplicity to survive. Persuasive simplicity is putting simplicity in the path of motivation. It is simplicity with purpose. The Perfect Machine Today we are entrenched in a performance-marketing race. We want to make commerce as efficient as possible. We want to build the perfect commerce machine—one that knows what we like, hate, love, and need. A precise machine that doesn't spoil us with too many choices.  A nimble machine that delivers goods in hours, not days or weeks. A frictionless machine where we can order in one click, one button, one voice order, anytime, anywhere. A cost-effective machine that guarantees the best price. This machine sounds a lot like Amazon.com, jet.com, hotel.com, Trulia.com and kayak.com. The Human World
These days, we navigate life through search. We search to eat, to learn, to travel, to date, and to find work. We search during the moments that matter on our mobile devices. Search gives us super powers. Search makes us faster and smarter, but it also gives us a taste of our average. Search engines push content based on our consumption behavior or people “like us" behavior. We have gotten trapped in the limitations of algorithmic recommendations. No surprise from discovering something we loved but didn’t expect. We watch the movies that we are supposed to watch. We dine at the restaurants that we are presumed to dine. We shop where we are expected to shop. To escape the tyranny of the average, we follow the few brave souls that are breaking the mold. People willing to defy the norm and become the tastemaker of their destiny. They are the new curators in this age of abundance. We call them influencers. They give us a search result that is imperfect, irrational, unexpected, but m…