Recently I’ve self diagnosed Jones’ Syndrome, as in ‘keeping up with the’. It’s based on my anxiety of becoming an old fart due to my broad lack of interest in the finer detail of the digital world. I’ve heard myself saying ‘cool’ to anything whether it is good, bad or indifferent. I kick myself when I say it as it must appear very odd to anyone listening. I’m waiting with dread for someone like Lord King describing the UK economic outlook as ‘cool’.
The digital language is relatively new and I’m sure many people I meet have swallowed a glossary of terms and hide behind the security of knowing I haven’t got a clue what they are talking about. I think this is a bad thing as the people I’m thinking about live in the world of communication. Also I do get concerned when people who solely operate in the digital world tend to sneer at anything else that isn’t, such as television.
As a medium to heavy user of the internet I am a big convert for doing stuff like buying airline tickets, booking hotels, buying music, researching work stuff, basically enhancing things I would already do. However I’m not an early adopter of all things new, I’m more cautious about the brand I’m dealing with. I deal with a few solus on-line brands such as Amazon with the majority being duo’s – physical brands with a good on-line presence. The brand does play an important part in my approach. For example if I want to book a flight I will mostly go to BA first, Virgin second (depends on short versus long haul), and then I might check out one or two alternatives to satisfy myself I’m not paying over the odds for the trip. I believe I have some sort of relationship with BA and Virgin whereas I don’t feel the same with easyJet or Delta for example. Whether that belief is real or imagined is irrelevant, it’s how I feel. How I feel is the consequence of numerous stimuli over time.
The most valuable brand in the world is Apple according to several different reports recently published. According to BrandZ Top Most Valuable Global Brands 2012 Apple has a brand value of $183m; not the financial value of the business but the value of the brand if it was sold in isolation. BrandZ have a score for ‘brand momentum index’ where Apple scores a maximum of 10. This is a value on their overall impact as a brand on the world at large. I would suggest Apple has optimised all channels at its disposal to provide the stimulus that creates such a powerful brand influence. From great design to stylish stores to distinctive advertising to great products to on-line dialogue with users. It feels like a lesson in channel optimisation in both broadcast and narrowcast media.
Most importantly the take-out of Apple’s domination as a global brand is their apparent grasp of perfect brand management from the top to the bottom of the business. A visit to an Apple store demonstrates their attention to the detail of embracing their customers. Also they seem to smartly train their staff to talk jargon to those who want it or not if not wanted. They get the notion of ‘horses for courses’ from a customer perspective.
My point is Apple is a technology business but designs products and talks to potential users about the end benefit and not the road map of how they got there. The working in the margin isn’t relevant to someone considering buying an Apple product.
My learned friend Giles Keeble reminds all concerned on any project is that all communication is about response; it is a very important point to bear in mind when clients and agency folk are more concerned about what to put in to communication. The challenge often with digital folk is they are focused on the input and not the output, a consequence possibly because the technical challenge of building content.
I try to urge all concerned to focus on the end result on any project irrespective of the specialists involved. It’s about creating a joined-up presentation of a brand. Jargon can get in the way so I must stop trying to appear modern by saying ‘cool’. Jolly good will do for now.