Sunday, May 10, 2009
Brands Will Still Matter
I am as excited about the social web as anyone. But I think sometimes we draw off the mark conclusions as to what the social web is going to do to various market traditions. The market is the invisible hand. It is like that magnetic force that so fascinated child Einstein. The web does not displace the invisible hand, or many of its fundamentals. If anything, the web makes it even more invisible - if that is possible - and more handy. The web makes it more invisible by making possible transparencies that could not have been imagined before. JP is in London - or at least most of the time when he is not jet set - and when he goes for a cup of tea, I get to know like I were sitting next to him. That is amazing transparency, if you think about it.
Brands will still matter, but just like the invisible hand will become even more invisible, brands will become much more alive. The staying power of brands that deserve greater staying power will be enhanced. Brand names that deserve to sink will sink and fast. It will become less possible to prop up brand names through dishonest marketing techniques. In a world thick with the social web, sizzle and buzz will go to those who will deserve sizzle and buzz. The power will shift much more to the individual, and is that a bad thing? Is that not what we wanted all along? But it will not be any one individual. It will be individuals across the board. It will be the masses come alive. But not your faceless masses of demographic research or focus groups. It will be masses of people interacting with close and not so close friends.
A great gift of the social web will be the possibility of many, many niche brands. For someone like me who was born in one country - India - and grew up in another - Nepal - and has been in a third 10,000 miles away for over a decade now - America - the web is the only place where someone can see me whole. Is that amazing or is that amazing?
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