More than a Promise: Brands Are Platforms


Image Flickr

David Ogilvy defined a brand as “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” This mantra has driven brand building for decades. It’s also incomplete.

Because of the relatively limited number of inputs on the intangible outcome, the craft of brand building was once seen as an exercise in control. Obsessive attention was paid to every detail of how the brand is represented in the customer’s experience of the product or service. Consistency was the mantra, so that the promised expectation aligned with the experience itself.

Then the world went digital. The world’s information is now available in the air around us. A representation of any product or service can be conjured on your phone. Consumers expect to access a brand on demand. There’s an ever expanding way that brands can be accessed — via web, app, voice command, chatbot, augmented reality, connected devices, IoT and more. In his recent piece, “This Company Might Make Apple and Google Irrelevant,” my colleague John Battelle profiled Viv, the startup from the makers of Siri that provides a computational “smart assistant” that sits on top of apps and web services. Imagine accessing a brand via the Scarlett Johansson character in Her!

Image by Flickr user m01229
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