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Branding 2.0

Published

Where are brands going in this 2.0 world? We predict that they will become increasingly transparent thanks to (among other things) user-generated content; they will be made for the people by the people, no longer solely reliant on an agency’s strategy. Brands will become more honest than ever before.

This week Russell Davies, one of our all-time favorite bloggers, asked his readers what they think marketing will become. His question generated a myriad of responses from planners and industry enthusiasts that jibe with our prediction that brands will become more transparent. For instance, “Lauren” offered that “[marketing] will become less of a jarring disruption and more [of] a welcome informant.”

This article on the new marketing “Just Be It,” (Creativity, August 2006) Bob Greenberg builds on this idea of marketing as the welcome informant, and concludes, “the real opportunity for brands now lies in finding ways to enrich lives.” Greenberg imagines brands using digital technology to create helpful interactive experiences, such as helping a customer pick the right beauty product, one that’s appropriate to that person’s unique needs.

But Greenberg only lightly touches upon the bigger idea when he notes, quickly, that “some brands simply enable us to have more fun, form communities, or earn rewards.” The “simply” in his comment is just wrong, and his formulation is backwards; brands are starting to be redefined by these communities. They are more and more defined by their customers’ lifestyles—as exhibited in the videos about the brand that get uploaded to YouTube (see A Tribute to the Escalade), the brand callouts in MySpace profiles, and even Wikipedia entries. Brands must learn to create these opportunities for customers to not just interact with the brand, but to become it.

Stay tuned to space150.com for more on the latest trends and news that are shaping the future of our industry and your business.