Magazine article Marketing

The Essay: Brands in 2015: What You Need to Know

Magazine article Marketing

The Essay: Brands in 2015: What You Need to Know

Article excerpt

Marketers must alter the way in which they think about their brands as much as technology has changed the way in which brands - and consumers - work, writes Neil Dawson.

Technology is having a dramatic effect on how people live, not least the way they experience and judge brands. This has profound implications for anyone who works with brands.

Brands remain marks of trust and reputation, acting as shorthand for decision-making. They also remain the sum of all our experiences of, and interactions with, a company, service or product - but in many categories this has changed beyond recognition.

The US music industry has lost 42% of its value since 2000. Apple's app economy now generates more revenue (dollars 10bn a year) than Hollywood does in US box office sales; the US iOS app industry also sustains more jobs than Hollywood does. WhatsApp has attracted 600m adherents in six years - more than Christianity did in its first 19 centuries.

The works of Andrew Ehrenberg and Byron Sharp have shown us that much 'classic' brand thinking is flawed. We must abandon old concepts of positioning, personality, targeting, segmentation, loyalty and differentiation, but this alone is not enough to address technology's impact. Consumers now drive markets. Spotify addresses people's desire to rent, not own, music; Uber reflects the demand for simple, easy transport.

More broadly, we are seeing the impact of the digital transformation of businesses. It changes brands' context and role. Many sectors have embarked on transformational journeys to a world where the internet of everything turns appliances, automobiles, homes - even our bodies - into transmitters and receivers of information to support better decisions, often in real-time. Organisations will transform or be replaced.

The latest Interbrand Best Global Brands study's top 10 contains seven technology brands, compared with three in 2000. And Apple, Amazon, Google et al are becoming the gateway to our experience of other brands.

In the face of the above, brands face four big challenges:

1. The 'always now' consumer. People expect whatever they want right now. Real-time feedback means that campaigns can die on social media before they have launched. …

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