Brand strategy is changing: From creating a unique story around a generic experience to designing a unique experience that tells its own story.
- In a recent panel featuring four of Norway’s most prominent CMOs, there was an agreement amongst several that their brand strategy was increasingly becoming an innovation strategy rather than a communications strategy.
This is only logical, as a consequence of the changes we have been seeing in the media consumption and digital communication landscape the last years:
- - As the cost of having a story adopted through media – in a landscape of increasingly fragmented media consumption – is getting more and more expensive.
- As digital communication has been recalibrated to create products, not campaigns, experiences, not stories.
- As products and services has become something that updates, changes, tailors, perfects and redesigns itself digitally without the “physical” costs of scale, distribution etc.
What the four CMOs are saying is that the story and the media platform is no longer seen as the best place to invest if the goal is to create a unique experience that people value.
This is not a bad thing; it is a very good thing. For agencies adverse in digital communication and the design of services this is the best thing that could happen. No longer are they at the helm of traditional communication, trying to emulate the effect created on analogue surfaces. Finally we are seeing what digital is offering that is new and interesting outside the traditional formats of messaging and stories.
Companies are both tiring from investments in touch points that are disconnected from the product experience and seeing that marketing and brand strategy is an integrated part of the product design.
Companies are seeing that massive investments in the brand promise is of little value if the product itself fails to deliver.
- - And, the fact that historically brand communication was invented as a cheaper alternative to redesigning the product itself. Which no longer seems to be the case.
- From promise to proof
According to Amanda Mooney what companies need to start doing is deliver on the promises that they have been serving their customers in the past:
- “… the single most powerful, innovative, complex and challenging new idea in business is this: Helping our clients pivot our business, to be able to live up to all of the things they’ve already promised in the past…” – Amanda Mooney, Manager, Shanghai Digital Practice for Edelman China
Digital is helping us rethink our business / brand strategy. From promise to proof, from stories to services, from disconnected to integrated.
In several categories businesses are decreasingly meeting their customer through physical locations. Meeting places are being moved online, and it’s in these that the business is given the opportunity to design experiences that helps them live up to the promises delivered in the past – and present.
If the cost of redesigning the product experience becomes lower than the cost of having the market adopt our storytelling. If the product can communicate its own story and media starts failing in conveying its adapted version – then the foundation of brand and communication strategy is shifting, and we are moving brand strategy to an innovation strategy and away from a media strategy.