Retail purchases used to be made in bricks and mortar stores. Today, more and more sales are made online. Politicians and celebrities used to communicate with voters through press secretaries, publicists, and multi-level public relations. Today, more and more of them tweet directly to their audiences.
Big organizations used to control the conversation with their customers. Today, more and more customers have larger social media footprints than some Fortune 500 companies.
Currencies used to be valued based on the strength of their securitization, be it precious metals or the good faith of their issuing governments. Today, more and more crypto currencies are changing the way people buy, sell, and invest with no clear country of origin.
People used to go theaters to watch movies and arenas to watch sporting events. Today, more and more consumers have high-def digital screens and use cable, satellite, and Internet connections to bring worldwide entertainment right into their living rooms, their computers, and their handheld devices.
Children used to be seen and not heard. Today, more and more of them are still not heard, but only because they’re too busy texting on their cellphones to actually bother to talk to their elders.
Chances are you nodded yes to most or all of the recent phenomena I’ve just listed. Yet chances are also that you continue to manage your brand the way you did before any of these things were creating successes and failures around the world.
IBM’s brand used to stand for computer equipment. Hell, their name was an acronym for International Business Machines. Today they sell middleware, software, hosting, and consulting services. Machines? Not so much.
Apple used to stand for home computing. Today they offer watches, music, apps, cloud hosting and operate a breakthrough retail business — both online and off. Yet with all that, their phone business outsells everything else they do.
Amazon used to sell books. Today they sell almost anything you can name, including logistics and cloud services and well as providing retail opportunities to small brands and manufacturers everywhere.
UPS used to sell package delivery. Today they’ve taken what they learned and moved into the logistics consulting business, selling their know-how to large companies, organizations and governments.
As we rush headlong into 2018 and the brave new world of ubiquitous connectivity, democratized information, and IoT adoption (Internet of Things), let’s talk about your brand.
Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC to take “fried” out of their name.
Dunkin’ Donuts is considering rebranding themselves as Dunkin’. Why? To “reinforce that Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage-led brand and coffee leader.” In other words, they want to take “Donuts” out of their name.
Does your brand still stand for the function you provide for your customers? Take a look at the companies above and you’ll see that perhaps that’s not the best strategy to follow into the future.
Instead, the way to help futureproof your brand is to build it around the true emotional benefit you provide for your customers. By letting them know that their lives are better because they do business with you, you’ll be letting your customers know that they should continue to work with you because of — or in spite of — where technology takes us.
After all, a good brand makes people feel good. But a great brand makes people feel good about themselves.