There’s some evidence to suggest that brands globally can expect to have shorter and shorter half lives. But do the same dynamics apply to digitally-based brands that have applied to the brands that were built “physically” in the past?
The sharing economy is substantial. Uber’s valuation just hit $50 billion. Airbnb is valued at around $20 billion. And Entrepreneur believes the sharing economy’s size in five key sectors will reach 335 billion by 2025. As this article explains, “The catalyst behind the sharing phenomenon are technology platforms—big data and mobile—allowing consumers to share anything, anywhere, and anytime at an affordable price. Sharing is ubiquitous today.”
Nice piece on the Adidas campaign (thanks for sharing, Dan Ball) draws attention to the need for brands to shift from talking up their products to talking with their customers about the things that matter to them. In this case Adidas puts Luis Suarez out-front and uses the occasion to start a discussion on people’s reactions to those who are successful with the hashtag #therewillbehaters. As Adidas’ director of global brand strategy, Stefanie Knoren points out, “If you put up [this] hashtag … it is not just enough to talk about new boots. People are expecting a conversation around that with you.” A wider brand discussion Increasingly, brands are placing their products and its values and beliefs in the context of a wider discussion. The danger? That the issue overwhelms the product and consumers are more interested in that than what you are trying to ship. Or they’re not interested and give the messages and the product the cold shoulder. The opportunity? To reflect an ethos that people are drawn to, that lifts their esteem …
I’m dismayed by how frequently the conversation around content seems to devolve to quantity and tactics. That’s hardly surprising in some ways because of course the two are quickly linked. When everyone’s using the same tactics, quantity starts to look like the only differentiator.
“Everybody’s talking at me. I don’t hear a word they’re saying,” observed Harry Nilsson in 1969. 45 years on, it seems a lot of people are still not listening – but brands should be. New findings from Gallup suggest marketers may be pinning the wrong hopes on social media.
Chris Anderson once observed that every abundance creates a new scarcity – and vice versa. So if digital is the abundance, what’s the new scarcity? I think it’s analogue – and by that I mean the things that are hard to reproduce and share quickly.
It’s tempting to believe that our brand story is ours. It’s not of course. Today, it’s owned by everyone – in the sense that virtually anyone, anywhere can input. And that means you’re not the only one telling that story anymore. Once customers simply provided validation that your story was true. Now they are part of the narrative, because their experience of your brand can so quickly become everyone else’s opinion of your brand, or at least part of it.
Some years ago, I wrote a post that took Chris Anderson’s “freemium” model to task. In it I argued that once you had provided services and information freely, the conversion to payment was going to be a lot tougher. Free, I suggested, would become an implicit entitlement. Last week, in a withering attack in the New York Times, Ross Douthat lashed out at what he called “The Facebook Illusion”. Comparing Web 2.0 to the home ownership bubble, he took particular aim at the world’s biggest social networking site. The relative disappointment of its IPO should be read, he maintains, not as an indication that Facebook doesn’t make money, but rather that “it doesn’t make that much money, and doesn’t have an obvious way to make that much more of it, because … it hasn’t figured out how to effectively monetize its million upon millions of users … This “huge reach, limited profitability” problem is characteristic of the digital economy as a whole.” It’s probably a little early to call Facebook. Whether the IPO misfired or …