twitter Technology Impacts Branding!

In the customer driven world, CEOs need to stay on top of Brand Building

Technology is transforming the way brands and customers interact. Wired. Networked. Multiplexed. Call it anything you want. Your customers are more in control of your business and brand. Marketing must adapt, or your brand will wither. How can a CEO formulate an agile approach to branding in a tech-driven customer world? Here are five questions you need to ask–and answer: What’s the single, most important trend I need to be aware of? 

Transparency. Thanks to technology, nearly everything you do as an enterprise or brand can be observed and published to the world at large. Dell Computer learned this in a series of incidents. A reporter named Jeff Jarvis became enraged with what he called poor service from Dell and he turned his blog, “Buzz Machine,” into a rant against the company. His outrage spread rapidly through the Web and erupted into mainstream media. And the result? Dell recently committed $100 million to improve sales and support. Dell was victimized next by photos and videos of exploding laptops whose batteries malfunctioned. These were published on the Web and flashed around the globe.

And if you think this only happens to high-tech companies, go to Google and do a search of terms like “Mercedes sucks.” In the past, irate feedback came in the form of letters or phone calls. Not any more. Whether you make cars or dishwashers, flat-screen TVs or powerbars, one dissatisfied customer can–via text, audio or video--let you and the world know their unhappiness in seconds. That’s the downside.

On the upside, transparency can be your friend.

Engaging positively with customers, friends and critics makes a statement about your openness and the openness of your company and brand.

Not all of these blogs take feedback, but when they do, blogs open channels to customers to give raw and unadulterated opinions. You are likely to discover insights that can fix, revitalize, advance and deepen connections between brand and customer. In a parity world, transparency is the tiebreaker. Agile brands openly embrace customers. Static brands fear them.

How can I stay on top of what’s happening and what’s next?

Not an easy question. The biggest ad agencies still haven’t found the answers to building brands in an age of technology, though they’re snapping up smaller shops and hoping little players can provide insight and competence. Watch your children or grandchildren as they use technology to connect with peers and products. There’s no science to this, but they are a leading indicator. Things trickle up in the new-media marketing world, not vice versa.

Tech’s impact on branding can be a scary subject, especially for those who don’t use the technology themselves. This tends to create an internal digital divide between those who get it and those who don’t. One answer is to create an advisory council of transformers, a fusion of young and older talent, who can explore, debate and share the possibilities, not only with you but other high-level executives. The signal you send as CEO will spur your marketing assets to begin viewing technology as integral to the brand. And that aligns the brand with the master of brands, the customer.

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