July 13, 2011

People Rule

In today’s shared-brand economy, people rule. And it’s about time. The rules of engagement have fundamentally changed. The line between people and brand is blurred now more than ever. The opportunity to be yourself and beyond yourself has arrived.

It’s our world. It’s our time. It’s our experience.

Brands now must find ways to bridge space and time interaction as the digital world bleeds into the physical world. This calls for brand narrative conviction built on perserverance and shuffle. The reason for “being with” a brand is what has changed a static brand landscape into an immersive narrative experience based on authenticity and inclusivity. A great example of this is Arcade Fire’s HTML5 experiment with Google (Google Chrome required).

Link to Arcade Fire Chrome Experiment

This sense of truth and presence has created micro-narrative or story addiction fueled by passion—the glue that holds a narrative together over time. These stories are based on presentism or “nowness”. Finding ways to engage people with the brand’s overarching narrative on the story level is the new gold. A new form of immersion and engagement.

Yes, we are physically anchored to our geographical location and yet our experience transcends these boundaries each day with technological advancement. And technology is opening our mind’s eye, imagination, and liberating our desire to dive deeper into the fray. We, along with our brand experiences have become atmospheric. Take for example the Into_Now App that allows users to check into TV shows with friends enabling conversation to bridge time and geographical conversation. This co-viewing experience has helped TV shows such as The Voice revitalize what has become a dated TV format, reality TV, and earned it a top-rated new show this season through this and other social media initiatives.

Gaming pioneered this thinking with systems like Nintendo’s Wii. Social media and mobile devices brought it into the mainstream—as we’re now seeing with Social TV. Now, it about creating non-disruptive, seamless experiences to engage fans both online and on land.

So what are brands to do? Set the agenda. Be authentic. Execute in the here-and-now. Mobilize the audience. Listen, and shift with the conversation while keeping a steady eye on the ambitions of the brand’s overall narrative and the people who engage with it. Then we will all find fulfillment in our co-presence, the value we share, and influence content together.


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