Skip to main content

In the Internet, service is king, not content



Today, content is at the center of every marketing conversation. Everyone is saying that on the Internet, content is king. You have every business using content as its new marketing silver bullet. They are creating newsroom-like teams to produce, distribute and monitor content 24/7. I wonder if we are focusing on the wrong thing. We are in a race of abundance. But maybe the Internet is not about content? Maybe it is about a service that just happens to produce content.
If you look at the dominant players in the Internet today, they are all services at their core. Netflix provides movie services. Airbnb offers a service to link people with hotel substitutes. You can say the same for Amazon, Uber, Etsy, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn and Dropbox. People engage with these brands because of the value they get from a service. And yes, in the process, people use their platforms to produce, share and consume content.
Focusing merely on the content aspect is a race to abundance. In today’s digital economy, everyone is a publisher in some shape or form. Content is an abundant resource. Technology has become a great equalizer in today’s society. We all have the power to create and distribute high-quality content in any format at the moment. We only need a smartphone with Instagram and Periscope to have a mobile newsroom. 
For brands to thrive in today’s digital economy, the focus should be on service, where the real value and innovation is. They need to develop platforms that will solve a problem relevant to their brand promise better than that the marketplace. We already have brands that are doing this:
Nike created The Nike+ Training Club app, which helps you track your progress, stay motivated and train better. The app allows members to communicate with each other through the Nike Sport Feed, from organizing local group workouts to sending encouragement around the world.

The Starbucks app uses the smartphone as a loyalty card, making it easier to manage balances and reload money. In some stores, the same app can be used to pay for purchases. Users can instantly send a birthday wish, say thanks or just brighten someone’s day.
The Oakley Surf Report app comes with bio pages of all the Oakley Surf Team members, but the reason members of Oakley’s core market download it is the easy access to current surf conditions. The app contains all the information that they need to catch the best wave at their favorite surf spots, including surf height, swell direction, tides and a two-day forecast. Photos, online videos and news are added bonuses.


In summary, today’s brands have a choice: They can follow the pack as a content distributor, or engage legions of content creators (consumers) by disrupting with a compelling service. Doing more of the same won’t change the game. Adding value through service will make a difference, and content will follow.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Curse of Advertising Resources

With more platforms, more products and more content who are trying to reach a disengaged audience, it is becoming harder and harder for brands to stand out. Conventional practices are no longer working. People don't watch TV as much as they used to, so they don't see commercials.  They don't click on banner ads. They don't pay attention to billboards ads. And they don't trust brands' messages. Part of the problem is that we are too dependent on traditional ad resources, which limits the realm of our creativity. To thrive in this new environment, we, ironically, need the freedom of a tight brief: what can you do with no budget for mass media?  Or limited marketing communications dollars?  To make a comparison, traditional advertising is a lot like countries and economies that rely on oil. This reliance handicaps innovation. Countries with a vast amount of natural resources tend to have (1) less economic growth and (2) worse development rates than other countrie…

The Irrational Power of Nudge Brands

Nudge brands are brands built on interactions, not attitudes. They are mostly defined by experiences, not TV campaigns. They are designed around people's inconsistencies and errors, not for machines. They are simple, not complex. They like to break things into small chunks that are less daunting than big tasks. They focus on changing behavior, not generating awareness and interest. The Paris metro system card is a nudge brand. It is designed against human errors. You can use the card in any direction. IKEA is a nudge brand. It uses the power of personal investment. The more involved people are in creating something, the better they feel about the end product. Ryanair is a nudge brand. It chunks the whole purchase process. They lock you in with a low 'seat price' first to get a mental commitment. Then, they start to add the extra charges in bite-sized 'chunks.' Hare Krishna is a nudge brand. It is built on the reciprocity rule by giving away daisies. People should …

The Irrational Challenger

Today, irrational is the new normal. People want products and services that break conventions and defy social norms. They have expectations that don't fit the traditional business model and feel irrational. However, they are very real and have created an irrational economy with irrational challengers. To thrive in this new playing field, business needs to be human, irrational. Think about it. Having a concierge to run our weekly errands for $99 month. Alfred. Ordering a healthy and delicious meal ready-to-eat under 7 minutes delivered at your door the next day. Hungryroot. Booking unlimited blowout appointments at salons in Manhattan for just $99 a month. Vive. (A typical blowout cost $40 to $90 inNew York City.) Renting a room on a month-to-month basis without going through the traditional methods of verifying applicants (e.g., two years of tax returns as proof of income).