This is a framing post for the 9/10/12 #usguyschat. The topic is inspired by a Strategy and Business article by the Strategy + Business article “Brand Transformation on the Internet” by Art Kleiner. Chat questions are provided below.
What is Driving Brand Transformation?
The article is an interview with Aaron Shapiro CEO of Huge, a digital agency. According to Mr. Shapiro companies no longer thrive by selling products or services. In the new digital environment they thrive by creating immersive experiences where people go to get their problems solved.
Outside In Marketing
Basically Mr. Shapiro is suggesting a solution first, product or service second approach. He maintains that customers are people to whom products are sold whereas users are those for whom the company itself is the product.
Studies suggest that companies who provide an optimal customer experience might have a competitive advantage. In surveys consumers do indicate they are willing to pay a premium for a better customer experience.
Brand transformation seems to raise the bar a bit higher by suggesting that a company meets consumer needs through a well defined interface. Obviously this will provide a better customer experience by providing a relevant solution.
A Few Examples
Mr. Shapiro cites The Gap, The Weather Channel, Nutrisystem, and Walmart as companies who are providing a solution first approach. According to Mr. Shapiro these examples are cited because these companies have created solutions that allow consumers to quickly and easily find exactly what they are looking for without time-wasting interruptions. These solutions are adaptable to the particular consumer’s buying stage. For example, advanced consumers can quickly get to exactly what they are looking for.
Brand Transformation Ingredients
The digital landscape is certainly driving fundamental changes in the marketing landscape. Consumers are often more empowered than the frontline employees. With the proliferation of mobile devices consumers are effortlessly moving from one platform to another; however, they often encounter inconsistent experiences.
The brand transformation discussed in the article requires a consumer first approach that sees solving a consumer’s problem or challenge as their primary mission. The corporate culture must be aligned with the mission. Funcitional silos must be removed so there is a spirit of collaboration and innovation. Employees must be empowered and given the proper tools to ensure that the brand understands and responds to the rapidly evolving consumer needs.