The enemy has changed. It’s no longer simply your business competitor. You’re brand is up against a substantially more scientific reality – our inherent lack of ability to multi-task!
81-year-old Tahakasa Omi, a Japanese grandma of four, had spent her day excitedly anticipating the arrival of a package from Do-Co-Mo. Do-Co-Mo, the largest operator of mobile phones in Japan, if not the world, had spent the last two years developing a concept for people just like Tahakasa Omi. It’s not hard to understand why. Japan has the oldest population in the world – and it’s a market worth an estimated $120 billion.
Let me ask you a difficult question: How on earth would you build your brand on a canvas smaller than a matchbox? What if you could use only one color (say black on a green background), you had no scope for graphics, and the consumer was paying for every second it took for you to send him or her a commercial message?
Welcome to the new world of m-branding. Now, more than ever, creativity and discipline are needed for preparing a branding platform. Why? Because everything is telling us that the WAP-enabled (Wireless Application Protocol) cell phone will soon be bigger than the World Wide Web we know today.
"Soon" is three years from now, according to AC Nielsen. Do you believe this? I do. Just think back to 1995 when the World Wide Web was born, and then think about the criticism the Net weathered at that time. Yet look at the Net's onward growth today.
Knowing how fast this next branding revolution could arrive, you'd better be ready and start preparing for wireless branding. Excuse me for comparing this with a cigarette brand, but I can't stop thinking about Silk Cut, an English cigarette brand which, in the '80s, prepared for a government ban on cigarette commercials for all media.
Some time ago, I checked into a hotel in Hong Kong. The receptionist handed me a bunch of business cards. They weren’t the hotel’s business cards but my own, complete with my phone and fax numbers and contact details while staying at the hotel. It was a gesture that kind of made me feel special.
Is perfect branding really the best way of building brands? Up until recently this might have been true. Asking Martha Stewart fans they would have agreed with me. Year after year the ever-perfect Martha was dishing up one perfect decoration advice after another. And yes they were really perfect – but repeating this session decade after decade made one mistake look so much more dramatic than if the brand Martha would have conducted mistakes, purposely or not, through the years just like us “ordinary” human beings.
And this brings me to the point. I’m a big believer in the fact that the ultimate brand is like a real person. Needless to say no brand hardly reaches a stage where people perceive it as being a real person, but the fact is, that the more human components we associate a brand with, typically the stronger the brand is.
The times where I’ve been most amazed about a brand have often been where it did something human. Where the service was extraordinarily good – and had a “real” human touch. The cases where the emails I received as a reply on my question sent either in anger or just in curiosity – reflected that a real person, of real human blood – actually were answering my email. But not only that – that the writing – reflected that this person had the authority to be a true individual, either in the tone-of-voice, the writing style…you name it. You see as customers we expect a brand to deliver on expectations. It’s a minimum standard to expect a brand to answer back, often within 24 hours. But if the reply is everything but standard, if it had that special “glimpse in the eye” it added extra brand equity to my brand – perhaps making it my favourite brand.
But making this possible requires a human behaviour.