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The Brave, New Digital World… Can Empower Your Brand Voice

Mark Goldman By Mark Goldman

In the 1930s, Aldous Huxley created his then-controversial dystopian world of totalitarian government in Brave New World. Almost blinded by a childhood disease, he sought the fringe of mainstream science to foster a vision that governments would use technology and science to control society. Blindness and vision are two motifs that permeate much of his writing. And the great loser in his various dystopian visions is the individual.

Well, this was clearly one pathway for technology to lead us down. And there is the argument, perhaps supported by recent information on the various and nefarious doings of our own NSA, that this is the danger we face with the ever-increasing level of data aggregation and mining.

Ok, ok, yes this stuff isn’t always good. There will always be the negative side of innovative and disruptive technologies. But, oh, the benefits we all share. I like having more say over the content I want to read and receive. So, I like brands that respect my desire to control the flow of information that will make buying decisions more fruitful for me. This idea that the Internet provides us with a unique opportunity to democratize information is, I think, a good thing. So if you’re a brand with growth aspirations, it’s best to understand one very simple principle of marketing today: you’re less in charge than you think. The transformation of the consumer from a passive message receiver to an engaged consumer advocate is, well, just the way it is.

So, how can brands truly empower their own voice in this brave new digital world? Perhaps, embrace the following:

  1. Your content is not king. Content is critical, but the context is what wins the day. Oh, by the way, your customer is king.
  2. Being social is truly about sharing: stories, conversations, and, most important, listening.
  3. Although technology will continue to change the customer landscape, what will continue to separate winners from losers is innovative, relevant, intelligent, and responsible business and communication thinking. Big ideas never go out of style and, preferably, big, integrated ideas.
  4. While there is an abundance of data – according to Eric Schmidt of Google fame, we create as much data every 2 days as humankind created from the beginning of civilization up through 2003 (wow, that must have been some algorithm to figure that out) – there is also a paucity of insight. Great brands are the most insightful about their markets, opportunities, and, most importantly, their consumer.
  5. And finally: fail quickly, but learn fast. In this “consumer-in-charge” hyper-environment, we need to adapt readily, be flexible, and widen our scope. We have to be in business to change in order to succeed.

So… keep innovating, discover new ways to see and leverage opportunities, engage consumers at every level, be a transparent and inclusive brand, and just embrace disruption as the rule of the day (week, year) to thrive in this brave new digital world.