Business-as-usual branding activities are passé. That’s the opinion expressed by Umair Haque here: “The Shrinking Advantage of Brands.” Consider:
Quick – what’s the top brand in the world? Coca-Cola? Nope. IBM? Nope. One of GE’s stable of brands? Wrong again.
Stop and think about that for a second: the top brand in the world belongs to a player that…uhhh…doesn’t advertise.
So why? It’s because of “cheap interaction” – i.e. consumers (people!) taking their eyeballs (and opinions) online, away from traditional media like TV, radio, print, etc.
When interaction is cheap, the very economic rationale for orthodox brands actually begins to implode: information about expected costs and benefits doesn’t have to be compressed into logos, slogans, ad-spots or column-inches – instead, consumers can debate and discuss expected costs and benefits in incredibly rich detail.
This is an argument that makes inherent sense to me. Will have to delve deeper.
In the meantime, it makes me also think that the idea of brands creating their own communities online is an instance of imposing old school thinking about brands into the new environment. An approach that’s unlikely to lead to success long term.