Branding is no longer optional, it is inevitable. Ignoring the relevance, impact and transcendence of Branding in companies, organizations and institutions is too dangerous ignorance. If Branding is not important then I am Snow White; but in this post I don’t see the 7 dwarfs. What I do see is that those companies, organizations and institutions that have a clear and defined branding strategy not only grow and evolve but also write the future in the first person. While many observe and describe the Internet phenomenon and its impact on the brand-person relationship, brands that have incorporated digital into their ecosystem are leading the phenomenon: Google, Lego, NASA, Nike, Stanford, Red Bull, Virgin, Lush, Converse, Toms, Apple, The Financial Times, Coca Cola, Angry Birds are not successful by chance. They are brands with branding based on consistency, coherence, constancy, content and trust.
Although there is a lot of talk about content in brand strategy and as a pillar of branding in this multimedia era, the great novelty in branding is not storytelling, or the experience, or the emotional. All of these are taken for granted in a brand that wants to “connect” with its customers. The big change is the irruption of digital. It is this wave that has put most organizations in a state of crisis and disorientation. And at the same time it is offering possibilities of communication, business, analysis, information and exchange as never before in history. Internet is the true innovation in Branding. The new tools, platforms, media, channels introduce opportunities and challenges never seen before into the heart of companies.
The essential change is that the irruption of the internet extended the human sphere to the online. And since then, man has been learning to live between two worlds, online and offline, which are now one. Evolution happens while the human being tries to understand it. And in this inexorable cycle of unprecedented advances, man needs a compass to orient himself in the midst of so much uncertainty. And of course, so do brands and companies. The mantra that should be in every boardroom is: “You can’t discover a new world using old maps.”
In this new world in which the human being has expanded his world with the development of the online space, there are a series of keys that affect and redefine the new man of this new era and that will help companies and brands to conquer this new territory.
It is ironic that the greater the advance of new technologies, the greater the need for brands to assume the importance of -back- to put the human at the center, even on the Internet.
In the midst of a sea of change there are ten keys that perfectly illustrate where we are, what we are and where we are heading. Any brand that wants to navigate the rough waters of the digital age should not ignore this Decalogue. We are approaching a market that will see changes so profound that they will transform everything known and everything to come. All but one thing: human emotions.
Come in and read:
1. From human intelligence to artificial intelligence. In the history of human progress, we have learned from the impact of pivotal moments. Moments such as the discovery of the use of fire, the invention of agriculture, the printing press, the industrial revolution and more recently the internet. But while we continue to focus on the great network of networks, the irruption of artificial intelligence already appears as another hinge in our history. It is probably the human creation that will have the greatest impact on our future.
2. From security to uncertainty. How do you plan for a world of constant change and uncertainty? The truth is that in this new era a right question is better than a great answer. Not only will nothing ever be the same again, but we can’t even imagine what kind of society we will live in.
3. A tension appears between technology – life and another between public – private. Everyone is connected and soon everything will be connected. The boundary between the personal and the professional fades and this creates a new situation that is hard to deal with. Technology and its ubiquity creates a feeling of having to be connected or missing out on something. The former EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes said that “Europeans would choose to be without coffee and sex rather than without internet”.
4. From focusing on the result to learning from the value of the process. In the major innovation centres, especially in the United States, mistakes are not penalised, they are assumed to be part of the process. The cultural change encourages us to explore the unknown, it is the only way to discover or create that which does not exist. In some companies I observe that it would be easier to start a new company than to change the existing culture. You don’t have to ask permission to innovate.
5. A new world is calling for new standards, and legislation comes with delay. Progress is far ahead of standards. Studies show that legislation is about seven years behind technological advances. It is not surprising that progress takes longer to develop in countries with older systems.
6. Evolving from descriptive to predictive and from predictive to prescriptive. That is, from what happened? To What is going to happen? And from the latter to How to make it happen?
7. A new way of defining success is born. It is no longer associated with economic achievements but with quality of life. To the time that everyone can spend doing what they enjoy, what they want, while sharing it with their loved ones. Time is important again. It is the only thing that cannot be accumulated. Customers are beginning to understand the value of their time for brands.
8. From information to Big Data. There are 4 essential Vs: Data Velocity, Data Veracity, Data Variety and Data Visualization. All this will have an incalculable value as long as the data lands in benefit for the company and the consumer-customer, otherwise it will be just information without more.
9. From survival to transcendence. Man has decided to set out to discover space. There are concrete plans to develop colonies on the moon and Mars. We have already reached Pluto and are orbiting around Jupiter and Saturn. What mankind has not yet been able to do is to stop the barbarism of terrorism that plagues half the planet.
10. From Me to We. From the individual to the community. From I win, you lose to we all win or nobody wins. If the benefits are shared, both the brand and the customer will be more comfortable sharing their information. Words such as values, community, purpose, mission, trust, belonging, principles, ethics stop being part of a decorative window dressing to give meaning and feeling to brands.
We move from the loneliness of the consumer to share in community, to create values and purposes on which to agglutinate common interests. To fight and sacrifice for something more important than oneself, because it is worth it.
The Internet has reconfigured the concepts of time and space. Distances no longer exist and everything happens in real time. The new Man has a powerful voice, but he must learn to use it to be heard and to transform his message into facts. Change is constant and we will be able to see the rebirth of the human or a future where technology is the protagonist. Or perhaps a true encounter between man and technology to build a common future.
From an evolutionary point of view, human beings have reached our current level of power and control over the world because of intelligence. Not always well used. If in the future we are able to combine human and artificial intelligence and make them work together, this will produce a more productive future. But we must also demand a more humane future, in which collaborative work between all intelligences transforms life on the planet for the better. I believe there is also a glimmer of hope that these combined intelligences will help us solve major problems such as those related to the environment, security, health, development and education.
We live in accelerated times where there is little space for reflection, however in these times where we are rich in information and poor in time we must again be aware that the future depends on our time today. The role of brands has already changed, and this new role brings responsibility because customers expect a lot from them. During the digital transformation do not ignore the brand-person relationship, therein lies the true value.