Digital allows brands to go beyond what they are meant to be.
The moment we think consumers interacting with our brand first in Digital - it makes us sit up. They expect the brand to behave the same way as they experience it elsewhere. In fact they expect much more than just the way it looks or even the way it makes them feel. They want to interact with it in the way they are accustomed to interacting with other brands. From one channel to another and back, across screens whether offline or online the brand is expected to provide them a seamlessly superior experience.
The brand has 3 challenges in these scenarios:
One: It needs to understand the consumers' needs and expectations, esp their unknown, unmet needs.
Two: It has to understand how they use technology.
Three: It needs to craft the experience in delightfully new ways, less about the brand but more like a story that is weaved into their lives.
Thankfully, we are moving away from words like eyeballs, devices, users and more into terms that depict the consumers as they are - as humans with needs and problems, some expressed, some unexpressed. This new way of building strategy is to start from the consumer and his/her world backwards.
A brand is a mix of several different facets, experiences, ideas and relationships.
Technology helps brands define how their message will be communicated. The consumers decide how, when and if at all they want to participate in these brand experiences. Technology doesn’t affect the brand’s core values, neither does it make anything complex. Apple and Google continue to focus on simplicity despite the complexity in their businesses and the related advancements in technology. This perhaps is the most challenging time for brands to create the right balance between pushing the boundaries in creativity and story telling; and at the same time remaining consistent.
A digital brand needs to show its promise and value upfront.
- What is it going to do for the consumers?
- What are the ‘unmet’ needs it promises to solve for them?
Marketers need to go beyond the current boundaries of the brand, to think what the brand can do, i.e the larger, currently unthought context the brand can operate in. Yes, its challenging but equally exciting.
Great digital brands build new expectations and anticipate needs. This means thinking about consumers, going beyond the regular set of competitors, redefining the competition and discovering great experiences that add value to the users lives.
There is a lot to be learnt from brands like Disney, Apple, Google, Lego, Uber, Amazon and many others how build themselves 'beyond' what they are meant to be.