Digital’s role in brand as a platform. Infrastructure v Experience
As we’ve discussed before, brands are entering a time where they are evolving beyond a traditional notion of what a brand is. They’re moving beyond advertising and towards purpose fulfillment through platforms. We believe the brands are the new platforms. This means that to truly fulfill a brand promise and satisfy consumers, brands need to connect on a personal level, build long-lasting relationships, continuously add value, all through the products, services and experience they provide. The only way to do this at scale is for brands to become platforms, enabled by technology.
This idea manifests in three ways:
Brand Strategy: Brands need to move beyond the brand film and “purpose” and into how these words manifest into relationships. The typical brand strategy stops a little short in this realm. If brands are going to make a promise, they need to fulfill it at each interaction and understand how that promise comes to life over time with their consumers.
For example, as an auto brand moves from an auto manufacturer to a mobility provider, the idea of brand expands to numerous use cases based on many different consumer types. The brand promise can no longer be manifested around the “ownership” of the product, but around the lifestyle and membership the brand provides. This experience come to life in many different ways across a new mobility ecosystem.
Experience: The experience a brand provides is a combination of things, all enabled through the appropriate “front-end” tech stack. The product, service, usage, logistics, experience and communications all have to be consistent, personalized and integrated. This experience needs to be planned at a holistic level, executed locally and measured repeatedly. The experience tech stack to enable this relationship is a combination of tools the consumer interacts with (i.e. mobile apps, websites, social media, in-store kiosks, etc) and service providers use to interact with consumers (i.e. iPad sales tools, social media, call center platforms, etc) all of which are connected in real time by data and back end infrastructure.
Going back to the auto brand strategy, this experience could come to life as a consumer connects to their vehicle or summons a ride share vehicle. It should also manifest in the many ways to offer service, whether at a dealership or offering new mobility services. The communications or marketing should be focused on the consumer use case based on their experience with the brand, not at a mass market level with no real connection to what the consumer or user has already experienced.
Infrastructure: The back-end infrastructure is the engine that powers the experience to fulfill the brand strategy. These tools and data points are the non-sexy elements that make the magic happen. The strategic use of back-end technology, algorithms and ai, consumer data and other tertiary data provides the brand gets the opportunity to know the behaviors of the consumer, understand where they are in a purchase or ownership phase and provide the right connections and decisions to move the brand-consumer relationship forward.
To satisfy the auto brand promise across the different experiences that it provides while maintaining personalized relationships, they would need a very dynamic back-end infrastructure. One that not only builds off the connectivity of the vehicle through ownership or subscription, but also through the consumer touchpoints and interactions with the various service elements. For personalization and seamless relationships across a large auto manufacturer, millions of outcomes are possible. This is where the experience journey meets data and artificial intelligence, providing the right tools and decisions for the consumer and the service provider.
As “digital” becomes more important to consumers, so it should for brands in many different ways. But all elements of your digital strategy should fulfill the brand’s promise and benefit the brand-consumer relationship, all powered through either experience technology or back-end infrastructure technology.
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