Thursday, September 11, 2008

Allen Adamson of Landor Associates on the Future of Branding in the Information Age

Recently I asked Allen about what he saw as the future of branding in a society where almost all the information would be easily findable and the concept of “myth” fades away?
His response is focused, here is what he believes -
Every smart organization knows that the “myth” of a brand fades as soon as a consumer realizes that the promise of the brand is not being delivered as expected. Easily findable information merely speeds up the process by which brands are outed as frauds. Strong, successful brands are not built on myths, but on clearly communicating and demonstrating what makes them relevantly different - and better - than the competition. Contrary to your premise, the more information consumers have access to, the more important branding becomes. Brands are short cuts. They help consumers make personally meaningful choices. In a world of information overload, consumers are looking for ways to simplify and speed up the process of deciding which brand is better suited to their needs. If you’re in the market for a digital camera, for example, you now have access to tons of information; which cameras have the highest mega-pixel rating, the largest zoom, the most memory, the longest battery life, the fastest downloading speed. If a brand organization is doing its job well, the branding, no matter what form or format it takes, will help you determine which brand is best for your needs. “I’m going to buy a Nikon because the company designs products for people who are really into their pictures, or I’m going to buy a Sony because it will better integrate with my laptop.”The functionality and service components of the camera, which are also considered important aspects of the branding, will validate your choice. While some brands may start out mythic in nature, myth has never sustained a brand long term. A strong brand is based on a simple, well-defined promise of relevant differentiation and a history of delivering on this promise as expected.
For those who are provoked or thought provoked, they can comment here and they might find more to mull over and debate in his new book Brand Digital:Simple Ways Top Brands Succeed in the Digital World.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Any View Anytime – Now Showing!

I was amazed to read what Damien brought to my notice through his post “Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen at your fingertips” on Crave - The Technology Blog from CNET Asia. As you'd read in what Damien has written in his post “a passerby at the Hugo Boss store in Singapore, can interact with Lewis and Heikki, access an array of information about Team Vodafone McLaren, F1-related movies, picture gallery and technical data of the race car and steering wheel - and all this from the outside of the store through a large interactive display which has been fused into the glass surface of display window. In other words the plain transparent glass is now reflecting images and is touch sensitive! This seems to be a simple display and to many readers it may be just an extension of the LCD or Plasma displays which are also quite thin. However to me it is no less than a breakthrough! I would not dwell too much on how exactly this technology works. It uses optical technology, you can find out more here Ubiq'window. What I would like to share with you here is what excites me about this breakthrough. I believe what we have achieved here is the ability to project an image on a surface that is transparent! In terms of a parallel, I think it is like having a Television screen that you can see through. This is a significant point of departure. Finally we can give different meanings (project different images) even to transparent surfaces.
I can visualize it being used as a screen that can be viewed from both the sides. I have not seen it myself yet but I assume if the passerby at the Hugo Boss store went inside and looked at the screen he still would be able to view the screenOne of the most potent applications that I can think of is Windows with a view – 24x365. Be it a cloudy say or Beijing haze, be it sharp sunshine or a heavy downpour – this can give us the choice to adjust the view from our window as we wake up in the morning and look ‘outside’. . It can mimic nature and display different things to trigger different views. The simple analog window can now even be a digital photo album.Other than these novel applications, I can see this as a smart move by Hugo Boss because not many luxury/fashion brands are seen to be high tech or innovative in that sense. This kind of initiative helps them be perceived as being ahead of others on the digital curve.

To me there is one more thing that Ubiq’Window’s new technology brings about – it turns the concept of outside and inside or the idea of front and back on its head. Imagine how a television based on this technology might be placed in our home. It no longer would have to have its back to the wall. Now it can very much be in the center because there is no blind spot the way present day TV sets have. It can bring about a dramatic shift in the way we lay out the sitting/viewing space in our homes. The couch, sofa, chair, bed or anything to sit or lie down no longer needs to look towards the TV set. I can free home d├ęcor from the shackles of traditional viewing paradigm. Freedom!
To me this tehnology seems to be more domesticable than multi touch breakthroughs like the one you see in the video below. Becasuse thse multi touch technologies still look at the screen or display from one side. The other side is assumed to be for wires sockets so on an so forth. ">
This technology from Ubiq'window. is still in its early days and I am sure there is time before it can stabilize in more ways than one. For example the projection apparatus hanging from the ceiling can get smaller. However I feel that this technology has the potential to bring about dramatic change in the way we live and hear and watch and feel - sounds, images and life!