Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Brand Mashing: To Enable Or Not To Enbale That Is The Question

When Vanessa first talked to me about xml back in the day, I had to wrap my head around a major shift that I think sometimes I am only beginning to understand the profound impacts of. I remember sitting in meetings with clients and taking a marker and madly putting big crosses on the box formally known as a website and starting drawing circles that represented bits and pieces that i then started drawing arrows to and from with words like, business requirements, marketing objectives, customer need states yada yada.

Think data i would tell them...
Think digital!
Interconnect them...
Think networks!

But most of this thinking at the time was in relationship to connecting customers with brands and brands with customers. But while we could now, differently than traditional mass media communications, morph and shape the communications based on customer interactions, what we didn't really conceive of at the time, was the fact that our customers would spend the majority of their time out there....on the network....connecting with EACH OTHER...

How then, do we start to fundamentally change the way we create more connected interactions? In essence, if the party is happening elsewhere, how do we get an invite?

Today's conventional marketing wisdom would have us widgetize the experience and I get that. A distributed brand experience model is certainly a step in the right direction. But the truth is that still involves US creating SOMETHING (in this case a widget) that we then CONTROL and give out for DISTRIBUTION.

See.. the widget is still a thing... a website, a webpage. It's not thinking bits and pieces, networks, or layers.

So I got to thinking about the open code brand and what Blyk is trying to do (that I wrote about here) and it got me blithering (It is Leigh's blitherings for a reason after all)…

Traditionally, brands try to control their standards. I’ve been in meetings where brand champions simply freak out when customers utilize their standards in a way that is not considered appropriate. While this thinking has changed a bit with the entire UGC, no one has really taken the bull by the horns. What if clients websites became open APIs? What if they actually encouraged customers, users to take whatever content they wanted and mash up their brands?

Sure it would mean that some customers are going to do things you might not like. Maybe they will start creating product by product comparisons. Maybe they will aggregate your content into THEIR widgets or reformulate your services offers or, or, or…

While we may be able to focus on what might be lost….the real question is what may be gained? Unpaid media opportunities that export your brand….likely even business value and creative ideas that maybe you haven’t even conceived of that you can capitalize on?

As everything gets connected to everything else…brand mash-ups are inevitable…As brands and businesses, we have to ask the question “to enable or not to enable" Yep that to me is the question.


Real Time Web Analytics