Back in the last century, Bill Gates (paraphrasing here)said that we would know the Internet had finally arrived when we stopped talking about it. I believe that day has arrived, as we think nothing of researching, buying, interacting, posting, checking in, etc. online. It’s pervasive. What we need to keep thinking about is how all these layers of technology reflect upon our brands. As more non-technology products and services are “front-ended” with apps, this becomes increasingly important.
How does ordering a Domino’s pizza online, using Ford’s Sync system, or closing your Liftmaster garage door from your mobile phone reflect upon those brands?
According to Forrester Research’s John C. McCarthy, VP and Principal Analyst for CIO’s in a new report Software Must Enrich Your Brand … “Even physical products, from automobiles to thermostats, are increasingly enhanced by software. But software doesn’t stop with the application’s customer’s touch. It pervades your entire product and service experience, from call center reps to analytically derived custom offers from marketing. More than ever, software either enriches or degrades your brand”.
We couldn’t agree more. For those brands that sell through channels (dealers, retailers, agents) your brand extends to those consumer touch-points as well. In those cases, the manufacturer brand and channel partner brand co-exist and draw value from each other in front of the end-consumer. This balance is more complicated, but critically important.
For marketers, the quality and functionality of that software is a treadmill that never stops. For example, Google published more than 600 enhancements to its presentation of Search Engine Results in 2012 alone. Good ideas come from across the globe. Your competitors keep innovating. These experiences and brand moments that you create are too important to be left just to the IT department. Your channel and brand is impacted in either a positive or negative way, so it behooves us to control and shape that as much as possible.