The Sentient Brand Experience

Of the 5 Principles of Brand Experience previously explored: Ubiquitous, Social, Semantic, Sentient and Human - there is one that stands out as an opportunity to be owned…

Ubiquity - Being across the experience chain is clearly owned by Nike - Nike call themselves a services business, not a sneaker business. They create value around the use of sportswear, not focus on shifting units.

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5 Principles of Brand Experience

In a world where Brands are no longer defined by positioning but their roles in peoples lives, the experience that a Brand creates and curates though it’s products and services is fundamental to the sustainability of the business. Most peer-to-peer recommendation is based on experience - our perception, the emotional take out of interacting with products and services - if the experience fails, then so does the Brand. So how do we design the end-to-end Experience? How do we support the role of the Brand in the world? The following is presented as a set of principles and questions that brands should consider when designing this system.
The modern Brand Experience should be: Ubiquitous, Social, Semantic, Sentient and Human.

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Calling Bull$&*% on ‘Post-Digital’

I’m getting old. When I first started making stuff with technology and the Internet, things like Internet Explorer didn’t exist. In the insane calendar of Moore’s Law, it was an age ago. A little later I worked in places that called themselves ‘web design’ or ‘Internet agencies’. We built web sites, and other exciting stuff for things like ‘Interactive TV’ and ‘mobile’ using WAP 1.1. Driven by new technology, anything seemed possible.
Fast forward to say 2006, suddenly, everyone is talking about Digital. Digital referred, not to one’s and zero’s, but primarily to the Internet in its many fixed and mobile forms, the things living in it and connected to it. It was a term coined to describe new things that certain business didn’t quite understand, and were scared of…
Now fast-forward again a little, but only a year or so: did I hear you say Post Digital? Post digital was coined as a term to describe the fact that the Internet, or vague ‘Internet connected digital thing-a-ma-bobs’, were now so prevalent, normal and accepted in business and society that we are living in a ‘post digital age’ amidst an ‘Internet of connect things’.
Stop. So we went from Digital to Post Digital in a couple of years? I know technology moves fast, but here’s the rub: for many businesses, being digital was and is hard. Embracing technology in and outside of an organisation is not easy. But what if we can adopt the notion of post digital? That sounds easier! It implies we got digital, then moved on! Or rather, back to business as usual.
Sadly, there are more problems with this term. I give you Exhibit A – The Nabaztag.  So post-digital is all about digital being so normal right? Well The Nabaztag is a Wi-Fi enabled, Internet connected, talking, white plastic Rabbit. Say that aloud: A Wi-Fi enabled, Internet connected, talking, white plastic Rabbit. A Wi-Fi enabled, Internet connected, talking, white plastic Rabbit IS NOT NORMAL!
Exhibit B – Access to the Internet and technology outside of the developed world. I wont bore you with the stats, Google them. But if you don’t believe me, travel to a country where people have to charge their Nokia via bicycle power, then look at their blank faces as you show them your Nabaztag. I rest my case.

So where are we? Somewhere in the early to mid 90’s the basic technology foundations of the Internet we know today were laid, lets call it Web 1.0. In the mid naughties, everything got standardised and connected into a web of open data, Web 2.0. Today, we approach Web 3.0, an Internet of connected ‘applications’ underpinned by a web of semantic data. Exciting enough on it’s own, but now there’s a difference: Internet access devices and interfaces are finally beginning to meet expectation and deliver on the promises envisaged for them back at the beginning. Technology now works, and it works well. If we can work on equal access then we’ll hit ground zero, the beginning.

Post digital? Bullshit, we’re just barely getting started. Lets do some awesome stuff…

(Nathan Williams) @nathanawilliams  Nathan Williams is a Strategist in Wolff Olins London. He likes technology, and delicious cake. Photo courtesy of Lisamarie Babik via Flickr Creative Commons License.